Structuring Private Funds to Avoid ERISA While Accommodating Benefit Plan Investors (Part One of Two)

Private fund managers need to understand what ERISA is, why ERISA matters and what exceptions are available to managers who do not want to be subject to ERISA as a manager of “plan assets.”  At a recent event, ERISA practitioners from Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP; Proskauer Rose LLP; Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP; and Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz discussed these issues and other ERISA-related developments applicable to organizing and operating private equity and hedge funds.  This article, the first in a two-part series, summarizes insights from panelists on identifying benefit plan investors and exemptions available to fund managers under ERISA.  The second installment will address drafting fund documents, ERISA-related liability and implications of the Sun Capital case.  See also “Happily Ever After? – Investment Funds that Live with ERISA, For Better and For Worse (Part Five of Five),” Hedge Fund Law Report, Vol. 7, No. 37 (Oct. 2, 2014); and “What Should Hedge Fund Managers Expect When ERISA Plans Conduct Due Diligence on and Negotiate for Investments in Their Funds?,” Hedge Fund Law Report, Vol. 6, No. 25 (Jun. 20, 2013).

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