Sarah N. Lowe
Sarah focuses her practice on employee benefits, with an emphasis in the areas of qualified plans, related ERISA fiduciary issues and pension plan investments. She regularly reviews and negotiates provisions of pension plan investments on behalf of large pension funds, including hedge funds and other alternative investments. She also routinely assists structuring private investment funds and their portfolio investments so that they avoid being subject to ERISA fiduciary rules. As part of her practice, she regularly advises clients on compliance with ERISA's rules regarding fiduciary duties and prohibited transactions.
Sarah also has significant experience in pension de-risking area, including both “lift out” and termination annuity transactions. Her experience includes representing plan sponsors, plan fiduciaries and independent fiduciaries in multiple complex annuity transactions.
Sarah has provided counsel to and negotiated on behalf of clients regarding employee benefit issues in connection with mergers, acquisitions, dispositions and other business transactions. She has also researched and advised public and private employer clients regarding issues related to design, preparation, communication, administration and operation of qualified plans and the related funding vehicles, including pension and profit sharing plans, 401(k) plans, rabbi trusts and cafeteria plans.
- Represented fiduciary committee of a Fortune 50 company in connection with the termination of a pension plan, in an unprecedented $25B pension risk transfer to the insurance company. This role involves retaining an independent fiduciary, including negotiation of terms of engagement and supervising the independent fiduciary’s work
- Represents the wholly-owned subsidiary of a major Fortune 100 company that acts as the in-house asset manager in connection with the pension trust's multibillion-dollar investments in alternative investments, including direct and fund of fund hedge funds, private equity and total return swaps and other sophisticated investments.
- Represented independent fiduciary in connection with “lift out” of in pay-status retirees and transfer of related pension plan liability to the insurer. This role entails negotiation of tri-party annuity purchase agreement with plan sponsor and insurer and the terms of the related group annuity contract on behalf of plan participants and beneficiaries.
- Represented a major Fortune 100 subsidiary to utilize its net operating losses in connection with certain investments to offset taxable income associated with other investments. Prior to our approaching the client on this topic, they had been accruing the losses and not using them to make more tax efficient investments.
- Represented a national beverage manufacturer and worked seamlessly with in-house counsel to support their development of new model investment management documents. Our forms and support made it possible for them to achieve cutting-edge investment documentation while minimizing cost and maximizing the development of internal expertise.
- Advised in-house counsel and its investment team of an agricultural company regarding the alternative investments and separate investment management accounts of its large pension plan, including issues related to securities lending.
- Assisted a nationwide community-based health organization with the review and updating of their broad-based qualified plans and executive benefit programs.
- Successfully closed on a multimillion-dollar contribution of qualifying real estate to a pension plan. The transaction involved hiring and monitoring an independent fiduciary to represent the plan's interest in the contribution.
- Assisted a large financial institution with all aspects of a transaction to enhance the anticipated long-term return of its pension plan by a private placement acquisition of company stock and in particular the critical securities and ERISA components.
Memberships & Affiliations
- American Bar Association
Civic & Charitable Organizations
- Marron House, Board Member
Ancient Art Archives, Board Member
- St. Andrew’s-Sewanee School, Board of Trustees
Non-FBT Publications and Events
De-risking and Corporate Pension Plans: How Corporations Manage Risks, Webinar, 2017
Navigating Pension Plan De-Risking: Implications to Employers and Retirement Policy, Webinar, 2016
401(k) and 403(b) Investments: What's New for 2014 and Beyond, Webinar, 2014
Pension Plan Investments: What You Need to Know in 2014, Webinar, 2014
Benefits at 20,000 Feet and How to Keep Them There, Speech, 2013, Silicon Valley Association of General Counsels, Palo Alto, CA. and All Hands Meeting, San Jose CA
Pension Plans: A 2012 Perspective, Webinar, 2012
Private Equity in 2009: Where Do We Go From Here? Panelist, Atlanta, GA, 2009
Pension and 401(k) Investments: Avoiding the Pitfalls, Presentation, NC and GA, 2008
2008 Hedge Fund Operational Risk Management Summit, New York, NY, 2008