Brian Kopp heads up Nixon Peabody’s Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation practice. He advises employers on the variety of legal issues that impact employee benefit plans and executive compensation programs.
What do you focus on?
My practice focuses on providing sophisticated, practical advice on issues affecting my clients’ retirement and welfare benefit plans and executive compensation programs. I have over 20 years of experience in helping publicly traded and privately held employers design, implement and deliver cost-effective benefits programs to their employees. This counseling includes advising clients on the federal and state laws that apply to benefit plans, such as the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (“ERISA”) and its fiduciary duty, prohibited transaction, reporting/disclosure and withdrawal liability rules.
I also have substantial experience with executive compensation issues. For example, I have drafted, implemented and provided advice on non-qualified deferred compensation plans, supplemental executive retirement plans, severance plans, change-in-control agreements and stock-based compensation plans, including plans that grant options, restricted stock, restricted stock units, stock appreciation rights, performance shares and other equity-based awards.
For nonprofit employers, I have extensive experience with 403(b) and 457(b) plans, as well as the unique deferred compensation rules that apply to tax-exempt employers.
What do you see on the horizon?
The regulatory environment for employee benefit plans and executive compensation programs will only get more complex. For example, Health Care Reform has added thousands of new regulations governing medical plans. Additionally, executive compensation practices will draw increased scrutiny from regulators and shareholder activist groups. In this challenging environment, employers need to find cost-efficient solutions to their benefits issues.