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Structuring Deferred Compensation: Plan Options and Key Considerations for Employee Benefits Counsel


Mar. 3, 2021
1:00 - 2:30 p.m. ET

This CLE webinar will provide employee benefits counsel and advisers with a detailed review of the ERISA, IRS, and DOL regulations that must be considered in structuring deferred compensation plans. The panel will outline the existing regulations, key considerations for 2021, compliance strategies, and key challenges for employers and executives.


A deferred compensation plan allows an employer to supplement an executive's salary to reward results and to retain those executives by structuring a payout over time. However, failure to effectively structure deferred compensation plans may lead to a wide range of legal issues and adverse tax treatment.

Structuring deferred compensation can: (1) provide benefits beyond salary and bonus structure, and (2) provide incentives for key employees to continue to provide services to the employer for years to come. Careful consideration must be given to planned vesting schedules and timing for cash payouts, payment triggers, tax implications, and other key issues in structuring deferred compensation plans.

Employee benefits and ERISA counsel must recognize key issues for noncompete covenants, risk of forfeiture, benefit exchanges and deferral of base salary, implications of Sections 409A, and other items that may require modification of any current compensation plan.

Listen as our panel discusses current regulations, key considerations for 2021, compliance strategies, and key challenges for employers and executives.


  1. Key considerations for employers in structuring deferred compensation
  2. Plan options
  3. Issuance and vesting
  4. Tax treatment; Section 409A and other key tax provisions
  5. Administrative challenges
  6. Evaluating existing plan documents to determine conformity with new tax law and necessary modifications
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