Practice Areas & Industries: Greenberg Traurig, LLP


Global Benefits & Compensation Return to Practice Areas & Industries

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Practice/Industry Group Overview

Greenberg Traurig’s Global Benefits & Compensation (GBC) Practice services clients ranging from closely held businesses to large multinational corporations around the world. Our attorneys are involved in the design and drafting of virtually all types of qualified and non-qualified retirement plans and the different types of trusts used to fund those benefits. We also provide advice and services with respect to executive employment agreements, and equity or other forms of executive compensation, as well as life insurance, health insurance, severance pay and other forms of welfare plans for all employees. To help clients with quality control and efficiency, we have developed an extensive set of models for the various executive compensation and employee benefit programs that can be customized to each client’s needs.


Services Available

Employee Benefits

Qualified Retirement Plans

  • Includes defined benefit and money purchase pension plans, 401(k) and 403(b) plans, profit sharing plans and ESOPs 
  • Multi-employer plans and multiple employer plans 
  • Planning with regard to program structure and design 
  • Drafting of documents and amendments, trust agreements and summary plan descriptions 
  • Review of agreements with record keepers, investment advisors and other service providers 
  • IRS submissions of plans and amendments 
  • Drafting of loan procedures and supporting documentation, QDRO procedures, investment policies, election and beneficiary designation forms, distribution election forms and tax notices, other administrative forms and other plan policies and procedures 
  • Drafting of procedures to minimize fiduciary liability for self-directed individual account plans to comply with Section 404(c) of ERISA 
  • Advice on other fiduciary and ERISA compliance matters 
  • Plan terminations and mergers 
  • Correction of administrative and document errors pursuant to IRS procedures 
  • Tax planning with regard to participant distributions 
  • Advice and counsel to public employee retirement plans on design, compliance, administrative and operational issues
  • Fiduciary Audit® Operational Review — a proprietary governance control system and audit process that provides plan fiduciaries the opportunity to be eligible for enhanced insurance protection (coverage for IRS monetary sanctions and the cost of IRS-mandated benefit corrections)

Non-Qualified Deferred Compensation Plans

  • Design, draft and implement non-qualified deferred compensation plans, including supplemental executive retirement plans and supplemental defined contribution plans (such as those that wrap-around and supplement qualified 401(k) plans)
  • Provide advice in connection with compliance with Internal Revenue Code 409A

Fiduciary Audit® Operational Review

  • Unique to our firm, the Fiduciary Audit® Operational Review consists of a four-part approach:
    • Completion of the Fiduciary Audit® Investigative Questionnaire 
    • Review of the plan, related documents and questionnaire 
    • Testing of internal control procedures by “sampling” participant information 
    • Issuance of the Fiduciary Audit® Annual Report, containing the findings and recommendations for correction  

Governance, Accountability and Protection

  • Assist clients in identifying and correcting problems with respect to their plans’ corporate governance structures 
  • Ensure prudent documentation with respect to all plan-related processes and procedures 
  • Identify and correct prohibited transactions and other ERISA violations before an audit by the IRS, DOL or PBGC 
  • Assist our clients in disclosing retirement plan expenses to plan participants by conducting a rigorous “revenue recapture” audit

Split-Dollar Life Insurance Programs

  • Draft plans and supporting agreements
  • Plan compliance with split dollar regulations

Cafeteria Plans

  • Advise on structuring and implementation of cafeteria plans
  • Draft plan documentation and enrollment materials
  • Counsel clients regarding compliance with non-discrimination rules and other laws
  • Prepare, revise and/or negotiate third-party administration agreements

Welfare Benefits

  • Prepare welfare benefit plan documents and SPDs
  • Create comprehensive document(s) encompassing ERISA requirements (together with amendments such as HIPAA for privacy of health information), as well as notices required by laws such as COBRA, the Family and Medical Leave Act, USERRA and notices required for Qualified Medical Child Support Orders
  • Coordinate documents with open enrollment materials
  • Draft or review administrative service agreements and agreements with other third-party providers

Multiemployer Plans

  • Advise clients in connection with plant closings, decertifications, sales of businesses and other events that may trigger partial or complete withdrawal liability
  • Respond to demands for payments of withdrawal liabilities; represent clients in related arbitration proceedings
  • Advise clients in connection with mergers and acquisitions, including due diligence reviews
  • Serve as ERISA Counsel to multiemployer pension funds
  • Counsel trustees on their ERISA fiduciary responsibilities
  • Provide complex legal opinions on the use of pension fund assets to engage in potential prohibited transactions with regard to “social investments,” and on the use of overfunded pension plan assets to support the continued funding of underfunded welfare benefit funds
  • Supply specific services for employer trustees
  • Provide day-to-day compliance advice

Executive Compensation

  • Negotiation and drafting of executive employment agreements 
  • Drafting of bonus programs 
  • Design, drafting and employee communication of equity compensation plans for emerging and publicly-traded companies, including: 
    • Incentive and non-qualified stock options 
    • Restricted and deferred stock 
    • Stock appreciation rights 
    • Phantom stock 
    • Stock purchase arrangements 
    • Employee stock purchase plans 
  • Drafting of golden parachute agreements and planning to minimize excess parachute payments 
  • Employee retention agreements 
  • Consulting and other independent contractor agreements

Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs)

  • Structure corporate transactions involving ESOPs, and the special tax planning associated with ESOPs, and provide guidance on fiduciary issues that arise in these transactions 
  • Connect our clients with the key strategic partners in the ESOP community for lending, ESOP consulting, valuations and investment of sale proceeds 
  • Integrate ESOPs with management buy-outs
  • Position ESOP companies for a secondary sale or an eventual IPO


  • In counseling clients, we draw on the experience of our team – which includes an attorney who was a principal designer and one of the drafters of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA)
  • Serve as ERISA Special Counsel to multiemployer pension funds
  • Counsel multiemployer plan trustees on their ERISA fiduciary responsibilities
  • Create comprehensive document(s) encompassing all ERISA requirements for welfare benefit plans
  • Advise plan fiduciaries on their duties and responsibilities under ERISA
  • Analyze the application of ERISA’s fiduciary rules to specific plan investments
  • Draft procedures to help companies to minimize fiduciary liability for self-directed individual account plans to comply with Section 404 (c) of ERISA
  • Advise on other fiduciary and ERISA compliance matters
  • Work closely with the firm’s litigators on ERISA litigation matters

Mergers and Acquisitions

  • Drafting or reviewing of representations, warranties and covenants pertaining to benefit plans 
  • Due diligence review of acquired company’s plans 
  • Planning for and implementing the consolidation of benefit plans of the acquired and acquiring companies post-acquisition 
  • COBRA considerations 
  • The Fiduciary Audit® Operational Review, which enables plan sponsors to comply with the required representation and warranty on employee plan compliance and effectuate the closing of merger and acquisition transactions by insuring document/operational failures that are identified but not corrected

Group Presentations
  Western Benefits Conference, July 21, 2013
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