Retirement Plan Design & Administration

Working with all types of employers, Morgan Lewis designs, implements, and maintains qualified defined contribution and defined benefit retirement plans. Our clients include small and middle-market companies, Fortune 500 and multinational corporations, financial institutions, start-ups, and tax-exempt organizations and educational institutions, as well as US state and local governments. We regularly counsel multinational companies about benefits for their US employees, and advise on issues that can arise with cross-border mergers and acquisitions among companies with US and non-US employees.

Morgan Lewis guides clients through every step of plan design and administration. We draft and review plan documents, amendments, notices, summary plan descriptions (SPDs), and summaries of material modifications (SMMs). We submit plans to the Internal Revenue Service for favorable determination letters on their tax-qualified status. If an error occurs in the administration of plans, we assist with correcting the problem.

Our services cover the entire spectrum of retirement plans, programs, and arrangements, including traditional defined benefit plans; cash balance, hybrid, and pension equity plans; and defined contribution plans (401(k), profit sharing, money purchase, and employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs), as well as 403(b) and 457(b) plans).

We advise on every variation of plan design. Innovative defined benefit plan designs include lump-sum and early retirement windows. Defined contribution plan designs may involve Roth contributions/in-plan Roth conversions and safe harbor contributions, along with plan investments in employer stock, custom target date fund offerings, and open brokerage windows.

We advise on compliance with governing laws and regulations; counsel on investment of plan assets; assist with funding strategies; prepare plan documents and participant communications; assist with the management and operations of the plans (including internal audits); and negotiate third-party vendor agreements.

Our work with international plan administration for US- and non-US-owned companies gives us a global perspective. We help clients with transfers to and from parent companies around the world, addressing taxation and withholding on distributions to participants abroad.

We also assist companies with Title I issues, advising plan administration and investment committees on issues of fiduciary responsibility.

In outsourcing transactions, we monitor and incorporate developments that can affect administration by a client’s outsourcing providers. Our lawyers help clients draft contracting terms and requirements, and evaluate the compliance abilities of outsourcing providers.