The challenge of hiring and retaining talented executives is not unique to the financial services industry. A compelling executive compensation plan — such as a deferred compensation plan, defined contribution and defined benefit plan, and/or supplemental executive retirement plan (SERP) — is an integral part of human resources strategy. There are a number of ways to establish and fund these plans, each of which require careful attention to contract, tax, regulatory and finance issues.
Funding, in particular, carries compliance, concentration and strategic risk concerns for financial institutions. Our attorneys thoroughly understand the differences in funding between traditional investments (and otherwise impermissible investments), COLI (corporate owned life insurance), split-dollar plans, and other mechanisms. Each funding option presents its own compliance issues, as well as concentration and strategic risk concerns. The SW&M team helps firms pay careful attention to the funding mechanism and plan, ensuring that deferred compensation arrangements can serve as a true benefit — rather than an albatross.
Regulatory issues regarding the basis for compensation also closely affect plans. For example, credit unions are prohibited from compensating executives based on loan activities and other bases. Any variable compensation is under scrutiny for perverse incentives and excessive compensation under Dodd Frank.
SW&M is deeply familiar and experienced with credit union compensation plans and can provide wise counsel clients can rely on.