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Pension Plan Investments 2015: Current Perspectives

Author(s): Howard Pianko, Arthur H. Kohn
Practice Area: Corporate & Securities, Employee Benefits
Published: Apr 2015
PLI Item #: 59314
CHB Spine #: D436

Arthur Kohn’s practice focuses on compensation and benefits matters, including executive compensation, pension compliance and investment, employment law and related matters.

He repeatedly has been recognized for his work on behalf of clients by the business and legal press, including Best Lawyers, which named him its 2014 New York Employee Benefits (ERISA) Lawyer of the Year.

Arthur joined the firm in 1986 and became a partner in 1995.


  • Abbott Laboratories, American Express, Ann Inc., Barclays, Citigroup, Credit Suisse, General Dynamics, Google, Hartford Financial, Hexcel, Honeywell, McDonald's, Nationstar Mortgage Holdings, Sony Corporation, Tech Data Corporation, The Washington Post Company and Whirlpool, among many others, as well as selected corporate executives, with regard to corporate governance and executive compensation matters.
  • Bank Itaú, Credit Suisse, Hellman & Friedman and State Street Bank in connection with pension investment matters.
  • Citi Venture Capital International, Fortress Capital, Hellman & Friedman, Highstar Capital, SilverLake Partners, TPG Capital and Warburg Pincus in connection with various portfolio company investments.
  • ABB in connection with its acquisition of Power One.
  • Asahi Kasei in its acquisition of Polypore International.
  • Jeff Bezos in connection with the acquisition of The Washington Post newspaper.
  • The parent company of Biomet, and a consortium of its private equity owners comprising The Blackstone Group, Goldman Sachs Asset Management, KKR and TPG Capital, in its $13.35 billion merger with Zimmer Holdings.
  • Crédit Agricole in connection with an innovative leveraged stock offer program.
  • Medtronic in the $49.9 billion acquisition of Covidien.
  • Overseas Shipholding Group in its Chapter 11 restructuring.
  • Reed Krakoff in connection with the acquisition of his branded business from Coach.
  • The underwriters in the $3.46 billion SEC-registered IPO of Citizens Financial Group.
  • The Union Carbide Corporation Pension Plan in connection with a claim under ERISA.
  • United Auto Workers in connection with the Chapter 11 of The Budd Company.


  • Adjunct Professor, New York University School of Law
  • Guest Lecturer, Columbia Law School 
  • Member, Task Forces on Supplemental Pay Disclosure and Shareholder Engagement, The Conference Board
  • Co-Chair, Columbia College Alumni Association Committee on Intellectual Experience
  • Member, Columbia College Board of Visitors 
  • Member, Columbia College Alumni Association Board of Directors
  • Former Co-Chair, Columbia University Undergraduate Campaign Council


  • January 13, 2014 - Selected Issues for Boards of Directors in 2014  
  • November 2013 - The Executive Remuneration Review (2nd Edition)
  • November 2013 - The Separation of Ownership from Ownership
  • December 21, 2010 - ClearyCast: Valuation of Executive Equity Awards
  • November 30, 2009 - Say-on-Pay: Less May Be More


  • The Best Lawyers in America - New York Employee Benefits (ERISA) Lawyer of the Year
  • The Best Lawyers in America -Employee Benefits (ERISA)
  • The Legal 500 U.S. - Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation
  • Chambers USA - Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation
  • 2011 NACD Directorship 100 - Most Influential People in Corporate Governance
  • Super Lawyers of New York - Employee Benefits/ERISA


  • Columbia Law School J.D.
    Harlan Fisk Stone Scholar; Phi Beta Kappa
  • Columbia University B.A.


  • New York
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan


  • Corporate Governance
  • Executive Compensation and ERISA
  • Private Equity  
  • United States

Practice Areas:

Employee Benefits

Fiduciary Advisory Services

Executive Compensation

International Benefits


HOWARD PIANKO is the head of Seyfarth Shaw’s New York office benefits practice and the national chair of its Fiduciary Advisory Services practice group.  During his more than thirty-five years of experience in employee benefits law and executive compensation, he has counseled both domestic and international clients on matters running the full benefits gamut.  He originated, and chaired, the PLI pension investment program in the 1980’s; then began co-chairing this program annually in 1991 (21 years ago).  He also co-chairs the PLI Basic Fiduciary Investment Program.

He is a Charter Fellow in the American College of Employee Benefits Counsel and a founding member of the International Pension and Employee Benefits Lawyers Association.  He has been recognized for his professional expertise by, among others, Best Lawyers in America, Chambers, Legal 500 and Super Lawyers.  His current practice focuses extensively on ERISA fiduciary and plan governance matters, executive compensation including cross-border incentive, equity and compensatory schemes and the benefit and employment law aspect of mergers and acquisitions.