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Employee Benefits Plan Governance, Plan Investments and Plan Assets

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Our Clients

Our clients in this practice area are internal and external fiduciaries of public and private sector plans as well as asset managers. We also counsel banks, investment advisory firms, and managers of hedge funds and real estate, private equity, and venture capital funds.

Our Services

In addition to counseling on the design, implementation and administration of tax-qualified retirement, 401(k), money purchase, profit-sharing plans and ESOPs, Katten advises plan sponsors and administrators on all legal aspects of the administration of their plans. We negotiate and draft contracts with trustees, investment managers, third-party administrators and other service providers, prepare documentation of the plan's governance and administration structure, advise plan fiduciaries who manage benefits claims and appeals, and prepare employee benefit plan disclosures in proxies, public offerings and private placement documents.

We counsel plan fiduciaries on their fiduciary duties in investing plan assets, including investments in stable value products, asset-backed securities and alternative investments such as hedge funds, real estate, private equity and venture capital, as well as on strategies including securities lending, swaps, repurchase agreements and other derivatives. Clients often call upon us to address fiduciary issues relating to participant-directed investments and plan investments in company stock. In connection with the plans' investment of their assets, we prepare and negotiate trust agreements, investment management agreements and other vendor contracts.

Katten attorneys routinely advise clients in the investment management industry on the structure and management of funds and accounts that hold plan assets. This advice embraces issues of fiduciary status, fiduciary duty, prohibited transactions, and reporting and disclosure to investor plans. Our work in this industry allows us to bring current market knowledge of the products available for investment of employee benefit plan assets and an informed perspective on counseling plan fiduciaries in the investment of plan assets. On several occasions we have obtained prohibited transaction exemptions and advisory opinions under ERISA for clients.

  • Representation of the internal entity managing one of the largest US private sector pension trusts in all legal issues involving its investment program. Advise the named fiduciary in connection with the negotiation of the pension trust's investments in hedge funds, private equity and real estate funds, futures and derivatives, and swaps investments involving financial, tax and ERISA issues.


Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law (Chicago), 2011–2017
Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law (National), 2012–2017
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Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law (Chicago), 2011–2017
Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law (National), 2012–2017


"Katten is an excellent firm and we enjoy working with them. They understand us and our responsibilities."

U.S. News – Best Lawyers® "Best Law Firms" 2013
(Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law)

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