People: Howard Pianko, Partner

Photo of Howard Pianko, Partner

Howard Pianko

Partner

New York
Direct: (212) 218-5518
0

Howard Pianko is a partner in the Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation Department of Seyfarth Shaw LLP. Over his career, he has advised a wide range of clients on the full gamut of matters relating to employee benefits: (i) equity and incentive compensation programs; (ii) pension and welfare benefit plan compliance, drafting and administration; (iii) benefit aspects of corporate transactions - mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures;(iv) plan investments; (v) plan governance and fiduciary responsibilities; and (vi) benefit related litigation. He also has written extensively, with a focus on topics involving executive compensation, fiduciary and plan governance and cross-border transactions.  Mr. Pianko is a frequent lecturer on these topics within the U.S. and he also has spoken on cross-border topics, such as global equity compensation programs and global plan governance policies, in Africa, Asia, Canada, Europe and South America.

Mr. Pianko is a recognized leader in his field. He is consistently top-ranked by Chambers USA and was named a “Client Service All-Star” in Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation in the 2016 edition of BTI Consulting Group’s annual report surveying the nation’s top lawyers in the area of client service.

Howard Pianko is a partner in the Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation Department of Seyfarth Shaw LLP. Over his career, he has advised a wide range of clients on the full gamut of matters relating to employee benefits: (i) equity and incentive compensation programs; (ii) pension and welfare benefit plan compliance, drafting and administration; (iii) benefit aspects of corporate transactions - mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures;(iv) plan investments; (v) plan governance and fiduciary responsibilities; and (vi) benefit related litigation. He also has written extensively, with a focus on topics involving executive compensation, fiduciary and plan governance and cross-border transactions.  Mr. Pianko is a frequent lecturer on these topics within the U.S. and he also has spoken on cross-border topics, such as global equity compensation programs and global plan governance policies, in Africa, Asia, Canada, Europe and South America.

Mr. Pianko is a recognized leader in his field. He is consistently top-ranked by Chambers USA and was named a “Client Service All-Star” in Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation in the 2016 edition of BTI Consulting Group’s annual report surveying the nation’s top lawyers in the area of client service.

Education

  • LL.M., J.D., New York University School of Law (1969)
    Taxation
  • B.A., City College of New York
    with Honors
  • Bronx High School of Science

Admissions

  • New York

Peer Recognition

  • BTI Consulting Group (“Client Service All-Star - Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation, 2016)
  • Chambers USA (Band 1 - NY Employee Benefit Lawyers)
  • Who’s Who Legal Pensions & Benefits (Most Highly Regarded Individual, 2015)
  • American College of Employee Benefits Counsel (Charter Fellow)
  • Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review rating of “AV Preeminent”
  • Best Lawyers in America (1995 to 2016)
  • Legal 500
  • New York Super Lawyers and PLC "Which Lawyer?" (Formerly Global Counsel 3000)
  • America’s Leading Lawyers for Business

Affiliations

  • American Bar Association (Committee on Employee Benefits; Section on Taxation)
  • International Pension & Employee Benefits Lawyers Association (IPEBLA) (1987-present)
  • Practicing Law Institute - Employee Benefits Law Committee; Advisory Council
  • Member, Bloomberg BNA Tax Advisory Board
  • Practical Law Company - Advisory Council,
  • National Defined Contribution Council (Government Relations Committee, 1994-1997)
  • U.S. Chamber of Commerce (Employee Benefits Subcommittee, 1993-1996)
     

Presentations

  • "The DOL Fiduciary Definition Regulations are Here . . . Really They are Finally Here," Roundtable, presented by Seyfarth Shaw LLP, New York, NY (May 3, 2016)
  • "The DOL Fiduciary Definition Regulations are Here . . . Really They are Finally Here," Webinar, presented by Seyfarth Shaw LLP (April 27, 2016)
  • Panelist, “The Evolving ERISA Practice Since Enactment in 1974,” New York City Bar Association (November 12, 2014)
  • Co-Chair, Practicing Law Institute’s Annual Program on Pension Plan Investments (1991 to present) (originally initiated 1981-1983 and 1985)
  • Co-Chair, Practicing Law Institute’s Annual Program on ERISA Investment Basics (2012 to date)
 

Publications

Books

  • Multinational Employers Managing Increasingly Global Employment Risks, AIG White Paper, (November 2003)
  • The ERISA Fiduciary’s Guide, Fidelity Capital Markets (2000)
  • Nonprofit Compensation, Benefits, and Employment Law, John Wiley & Sons, Inc. (1998)

Articles

  • Co-Author, "The DOL Fiduciary Definition Regulations are Here . . . Really They are Finally Here," Management Alert, Seyfarth Shaw LLP (April 18, 2016)
  • Co-Author, "DOL: Proposed Expanded Definition of 'Fiduciary'" Management Alert, Seyfarth Shaw LLP (May 4, 2015)
  • "The 401(k) Plan Recordkeeper and 'Revenue Credit Accounts' - DOL Advisory Opinion 2013-03A,” Management Alert, Seyfarth Shaw LLP (July 19, 2013)
  • Investment Committee Charter for Defined Contribution Plan, Practical Law The Journal (April 2012)
  • Expert Q&A on Say on Pay Litigation, Issue of Practical Law The Journal (December 2011)
  • Investment Committee Charter for Defined Contribution Plan, PLC Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation Magazine (December 2011)
  • Investment Committee Charter for Defined Contribution Plan, portions appeared in the (December 2011) Issue of PLC Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation Magazine and the Issue of Practical Law The Journal (April 2012)
  • “401(k) Fee Lawsuits Raise New Issues For Plan Sponsors, Providers,” The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel (April 2007)
  • “401(k) Fees Raise Issues For Fiduciaries, Providers,” New York Law Journal (March 2007)
  • “Perplexed by the Complex? Consider the Non-U.S. Multinational who Encounters the New U.S. Tax Law, (Section 409A) Regulating Deferred Compensation,” Journal of the International Pension and Employee Benefits Lawyers Association (March 2006)
  • “The Devil Lurks in the Details,” Inside the Minds: Winning Legal Strategies for Structuring Executive Compensation Plans, Aspatore Books (2005)
  • “The Extra-territorial Reach of US Employment and Employee Benefits Laws,” Labour and Employee Benefits, Practical Law Company (2005/2006)
  • “ERISA Goes Back to The Boardroom: Developing Best Practice Plan Governance Standards To Manage ERISA Related Risks,” Pension Plan Investments 2005: Confronting Today’s Issues, 145, Practising Law Institute (2005)
  • “Managing Global Employment Liability Risks,” Global Counsel (February 2004) (Co-authored with Milani)
  • “A Call for a Measured Approach to Analysing US Defined Benefit Plan Restructurings,” Labour and Employee Benefits, Practical Law Company (2004/2005) (Co-authored with Sher)
  • “The ERISA Fiduciary Self-Audit: The First Step to Limiting ERISA Liability Exposure and Developing Best Practice Standards,” Pension Plan Investments 2004: Confronting Today’s Issues, 459, Practising Law Institute (2004)
  • “Sarbanes-Oxley and Employee Issues: the Extra-Territorial Impact,” Labour and Employee Benefits, Practical Law Company (2003/2004)
  • “Elements of ERISA Litigation-Ps, Bs and Other Players,” Pension Plan Investments 2002: Confronting Today’s Issues, 197, Practising Law Institute (2002)
  • “Microsoft and Its Legacy – Employers Confront “Contingent” Worker Benefit Issues,” Proceedings of New York University 52 nd Annual Conference on Labor, Kluwer Law International (2000)
  • “Structuring Benefits in International Joint Ventures,” European Counsel, (V) (1), 55 (February 2000)
  • “Your HIPAA Helper,” 5 ERISA and Benefits Law Journal 2 (1997) (Co-authored with Combe and Schwartz)
  • “To Limit ERISA Liability Exposure Adopt A “PAPA” (“Process and Procedure Approach”),” 1 National Union ERISA Panel Counsel 1 (1996)
  • “Supreme Court Upholds Participant Lawsuits in Case Involving ERISA Fiduciary Duty,” 4 Managing Employee Health Benefits 59 (1996)
  • “ERISA Plan Assets and the Tiered VCOC or REOC Investment,” 3 ERISA and Benefits Law Journal 293 (1995) (Co-authored with Ryan)
  • “Some Current Employee Benefits Issues Confronting the Multinational Company,” 16 International Pension Lawyer 15 (August 1994)
  • “Internationalizing the U.S. ESOP,” 1 ERISA and Benefits Law Journal 12 (May 1992) (Co-authored with Hernandez)
  • “Obstacles to a Sponsor Bailout of First Executive,” Pensions and Investments 14 (May 13, 1991)
  • “Pension Parachutes: Taking Precautions Against Rip-Cord Malfunctions,” Compensation & Benefits Management 65 (Autumn 1987) (Co-authored with Nusbacher)
  • “ERISA Fiduciary Issues in ESOP-Leveraged Buyouts,” 12 J of Pension Planning and Compliance 73 (Spring 1986) (Co-authored with Mayo)
  • “Voting and Tender of Qualifying Employer Securities in ESOPS and Other Individual Account Plans,” 11 J. of Pension Planning and Compliance 241 (Fall 1985)
  • “Investment by Employee Benefit Plans in Real Estate,” 41 New York University on Federal Taxation 22-1 (1983)
  • “From QSOs to ISOs – Stock Oriented Compensation Plans and Their Many Acronyms,” 40 New York University Institute on Federal Taxation, 27-1 (1982)
  • “Pension Fund Investment in Oil & Gas,” 8 J. of Pension Planning and Compliance 103 (March 1982)
  • “Trading by Employee Benefit Plans in Financial Futures and Other Commodity Futures Contracts,” 7 J. of Pension Planning and Compliance 429 (November 1981) (Co-authored with Selig)
  • “Investment by Employee Benefits Plans in Commingled Real Estate Funds,” 6 J. of Pension Planning and Compliance 365 (September 1981) (Co-authored with Schrotenboer)
  • “Investment in Money Market and Other Funds By Qualified Individual Account Plans,” 5 J. of Pension Planning and Compliance 403 (September 1980)
  • “Investment of Pension Fund Assets in Financial Instrument Futures,” TMM 80-1, page 2 (January 14, 1980)
  • “Simplified Employee Pensions: Has the Employer Sponsored Individual Retirement Account Been Given Added Appeal? (Parts I and II),” Compensation Planning Journal (BNA) (August and September 1979) (Co-authored with Billman)