WASHINGTON — U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez today announced the appointments of five new members to the 2014 Advisory Council on Employee Welfare and Pension Benefit Plans, known as the ERISA Advisory Council. He also announced the 2014 chair and vice chair of the council, which are Neal S. Schelberg and Paul M. Secunda respectively.
"The dedicated experts who volunteer to serve on the ERISA Advisory Council are a wonderful resource," said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. "I have no doubt the 2014 council will build upon the impressive body of benefits research and analysis begun by their predecessors."
The 15-member council provides advice on policies and regulations affecting employee benefit plans governed by ERISA. By law, members of the council serve for staggered three-year terms. Three members are representatives of employee organizations. Three members are representatives of employers. Three members are representatives of the general public. There is one representative each from the fields of insurance, corporate trust, actuarial counseling, investment counseling, investment management and accounting.
Schelberg is a senior partner at Proskauer Rose LLP in New York. He is legal counsel to the boards of trustees of over 50 multiemployer and single employer pension and welfare benefit plans. He has more than 30 years of experience in the employee benefits field as an attorney, author and professor.
Secunda is a professor at Marquette University Law School in Milwaukee, and he has authored books and articles on employee benefits law. He previously practiced labor law in Philadelphia, and Secunda is a past chair of the section on employee benefits and executive compensation of the Association of American Law Schools.
The newly appointed members and the expertise they represent are:
Employers: Kevin T. Hanney, CFA, is director, Pension Investments, United Technologies Corporation in Farmington, Conn. He oversees the investment of $20 billion in defined contribution plan assets. Mr. Hanney advises boards of U.S. and non-U.S. plans on: investment; funding and regulatory issues, including asset allocation, due diligence and manager selection; investment strategy; and portfolio construction and analytics.
Employee organizations: Christine S. Hwang is a partner at Leonard Carder LLP in San Francisco, representing unions, workers and benefit plans. She formulates and drafts plan documents, amendments, procedures, and participant communications, and reviews service provider and vendor agreements. Ms. Hwang has served on the Asian American Bar Association's Civil Rights Committee.
General public: Dennis F. Mahoney, CEBS®, CFP®, is director of the Certified Employee Benefit Specialist Program in Malvern, Pa. He oversees curriculum content for the CEBS® program, which is co-sponsored by The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He previously was the manager of benefits for the university, responsible for creating communications materials for employees and plan design.
Insurance: Mark E. Schmidtke is a shareholder with the law firm Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart PC in Valparaiso, Ind. He represents insurers in litigation of life, health and disability insurance matters and advises employee benefit plans on issues related to ERISA. Mr. Schmidtke has spoken and written widely on ERISA litigation and is a Fellow in the American College of Employee Benefits Counsel.
Accounting: Deborah L. Smith is a partner in Grant Thornton LLP's Chicago office. She is in the National Professional Standards Group, specializing in employee benefit plan assurance. Ms. Smith has over 25 years of experience in auditing benefit plans, and she is the firm's designated audit partner and national expert on employee benefit plan audit matters. She is the recent past chair of the AICPA Employee Benefit Plans Expert Panel.
For more information about the ERISA Advisory Council, visit www.dol.gov/ERISAadvisoryCouncil/.