With an aging workforce comes an increased concern on the part of employees for retirement income security. At the same time companies are placing a heightened corporate focus on the proper management and costs of their pension and benefit plans.
The pension and benefits lawyers at Bennett Jones are members of the firm's employment services group and provide strategic advice to employers and other benefit plan administrators, managers and trustees. We advise on all aspects of the design, establishment, administration and investment of registered and non-registered pension plans, deferred profit sharing plans, registered retirement savings plans and other types of deferred compensation plans. We are also experienced in the full range of group benefit plans and equity-based compensation plans. In addition, our lawyers conduct due diligence and advise on pension and benefits issues in the context of corporate mergers, acquisitions and divestitures, as well as restructurings and insolvencies.
Companies and their boards benefit from our experience in pension plan governance matters, from advice on fiduciary duties to the implementation of appropriate governance structures. We also provide ongoing advice to the pension committees established by such boards.
Our advice to employers involves issues of plan administration and interpretation and regulatory and investment compliance. We regularly draft and conduct reviews of plan documents and benefit plan communications, as well as negotiate funding, investment management and other service agreements. Our work for plan sponsors includes advising on the use of surplus funds or assets, the payment of expenses, the ability to amend or merge plans, and plan terminations and wind-ups. We also assist employers in ensuring that benefit plans comply with the requirements of taxation, human rights, privacy and employment standards legislation. In the labour relations arena, we advise employers on dealing with benefit plans in the unionized context.
Together with other members of Bennett Jones' employment services group, our pension and benefits lawyers deal with a wide range of issues in relation to dealing with benefit plans and entitlements in employment agreements, executive contracts, employment terminations, corporate downsizings, and employee outsourcings. In conjunction with lawyers in other practice areas of the firm, our team advises on structuring investments for registered pension plans and in pension-related litigation.