Jenner & Block

Jenner & Block Attorneys Discuss Pension Protection Act with John Marshall Law School Students

Jenner & Block attorneys recently explained the ins and outs of the Pension Protection Act of 2006 (PPA) to a group of practitioners and students at the John Marshall Law Review's Fifth Annual Employee Benefits Symposium.

Partner Matthew J. Renaud and Associate Joshua Rafsky presented the key points of “An Overview of Sweeping Changes in the Law Governing Retirement Plans,” an article co-written by Jenner & Block Partner Craig C. Martin, Chair of the Firm’s ERISA Litigation Practice, and Mr. Rafsky.

Mr. Rafsky, a member of the Firm’s Litigation Department, provided background on the impetus for new pension laws and how traditional retirement plans have changed as employees from the “baby boomer” generation approach retirement. The large number of retirees from this generation, he said, may put a strain on government retirement resources, such as social security. Mr. Rafsky described this as a “serious issue” because of the importance of a properly functioning retirement system in order for businesses to be successful as well as to provide proper care for the aging population.

Mr. Renaud, a member of the Firm’s Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Practice and ERISA Litigation Practice, began by noting that the PPA and other forces were driving employers away from traditional defined benefit plans and toward defined contribution plans.  He then guided the attendees through the different provisions of the PPA, focusing on the new funding rules and how the PPA and new accounting rules were creating more volatility in year-to-year financial accounting effects and required cash contributions.  He explained how the PPA reflects the “nation’s trend toward hybrid and defined contribution plans” in light of the growing number of retirees. Mr. Renaud also reviewed key features of the PPA's defined contribution plan changes and how those might affect benefits provided by employers in the future.

John Marshall Law School’s Annual Employee Benefits Symposium, now in its fifth year, brings together industry experts to discuss current trends in employee benefits and highlights articles to appear in the John Marshall Law Review.