NEW YORK, March 22, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- AllianceBernstein L.P. ("AB"), a leading global investment management firm, today announced Karen Scheffler has joined as Senior ERISA Legal Counsel. In this role, Karen will oversee AB's compliance with The Employee Retirement Income Security Act ("ERISA") and lead the firm's monitoring and client education activities on the increasingly complex fiduciary and regulatory requirements that are impacting numerous retirement plans and advisors.
"The retirement space is experiencing a seismic shift driven by unprecedented changes in the legislative and regulatory areas as well as litigation and industry reforms," said Larry Cranch, General Counsel at AB. "Karen's more than 20 years of experience in both the public and private sector navigating complex ERISA issues will play an invaluable role in keeping our clients ahead of the curve in understanding their fiduciary responsibilities and the investment solutions that can best meet those needs."
Prior to joining AB, Karen was a Partner at Olshan Frome Wolosky LLP where she advised clients regarding all aspects of ERISA affecting investment management. Previously, she held positions as Of Counsel at Troutman Sanders LLP and Counsel at Lowenstein Sandler PC. Karen began her career at the United States Department of Labor as an investigator focused on ERISA enforcement before consulting with plan sponsors on employee benefit matters with Deloitte Tax LLP. She holds a BA from the University of California at Los Angeles and a JD from Hofstra University School of Law. She is a member of the bar of New York, New Jersey and Florida.
"We strongly feel that the Department of Labor's suggestion in its 'Tips for ERISA Plan Fiduciaries' will lead to a dramatic alteration of how plan sponsors choose their default investments," said Richard Davies, Head of Defined Contribution at AB. "Plan sponsors are going to face increasing pressure to address inherent conflicts of interest in the traditional bundled service model and we believe Karen's decades of expertise with ERISA will help our clients navigate the inevitable changes on the horizon."
AB manages more than $46B in total defined contribution assets. The firm also ranks as the #1 manager of custom target-date solutions*, overseeing more than $35B in client assets. As a category leader, AB has brought several innovative solutions and enhancements to the DC marketplace over the past few years.
Last year, the firm launched an innovative multi-manager target-date series co-managed with Morningstar that provides an independent selection of funds from top investment managers in one portfolio. AB's multi-manager target-date series was one of the first to address issues that the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) identified in its "Tips for ERISA Plan Fiduciaries," noting that non-proprietary target-date funds could offer advantages to plan participants by diversifying their exposure to investment providers. AB also announced a multi-manager target-date series in a collective investment trust (CIT) format in 2015, for which Mercer provides the independent manager selection. The target-date portfolios combine both active and passive strategies and seek to offer plan sponsors access to the best investment managers.
In 2012, AB was the first to introduce a lifetime income solution backed by multiple insurers for United Technologies Corporation (UTC). More recently, AB launched a fiduciary service that assumes responsibility for annuity selection in connection with its Lifetime Income Strategy service. The service seeks to alleviate the burden and risk associated with a plan fiduciary's responsibility as it relates to the inclusion of guaranteed income options so that plan sponsors can feel more confident in offering lifetime income solutions to employees.
"Whether through our multi-manager, lifetime income or custom solutions, we are committed to offering our clients innovative choices that address the most difficult challenge before them: providing a reliable retirement solution while also meeting the evolving regulatory guidelines," noted Davies.
To learn more about the AB's defined contribution solutions, go to www.abdc.com.
*In Pensions & Investments 2015 survey, AB ranked as the largest custom target-date manager by assets under management.
AB is a leading global investment management firm that offers high-quality research and diversified investment services to institutional investors, individuals and private wealth clients in major world markets.
At December 31, 2015, AB Holding owned approximately 36.7% of the issued and outstanding AB Units and AXA, one of the largest global financial services organizations, owned an approximate 62.8% economic interest in AB.
Additional information about AB may be found on our website, www.abglobal.com.
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SOURCE AllianceBernstein L.P.