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Mark E. Bokert is co-chair of the Benefits & Compensation Practice Group of Davis & Gilbert. His practice encompasses nearly all aspects of executive compensation and employee benefits, including matters related to equity plans, deferred compensation plans, phantom equity plans, qualified retirement plans and welfare plans. For nearly two decades, Mr. Bokert has regularly advised clients on the design, establishment, administration and termination of their plans. He represents a wide variety of clients, from large publicly-held companies to individual executives, within a broad range of industries, including investment banking, advertising, media and insurance.

In the area of executive compensation, Mr. Bokert has structured and drafted many stock option, restricted stock and other equity-based incentive plans, as well as complex employment and separation agreements. He has extensive experience in Section 409A and deferred compensation arrangements, and has created countless SERPs, long-term incentive plans, and other deferral arrangements. He regularly counsels clients on the tax, ERISA, and securities law implications of executive compensation arrangements, as well as the accounting rules that apply to such arrangements.

Mr. Bokert also has significant knowledge in the area of qualified plans, including 401(k), profit sharing, ESOPS, and defined benefit plans. In particular, Mr. Bokert has extensive experience in counseling plan committees on their fiduciary responsibilities under ERISA. He also regularly advises clients on a wide variety of issues, including plan qualification, nondiscrimination testing, reporting, disclosure, the correction of qualification errors, and design features, such as automatic enrollment, Roth 401(k) and qualified default investments.

Mr. Bokert also has extensive experience handling all of the executive compensation and employee benefit matters that arise in connection with mergers, acquisitions, spin-offs, divestitures and financings.

REPRESENTATIVE ENGAGEMENTS

  • Represented several large public companies to conduct a comprehensive review of all their deferred compensation arrangements to ensure compliance with Section 409A of the Internal Revenue Code.
  • Established stock option plans for a French investment bank and many high tech start-ups.
  • Established incentive plans for many small private companies, including those in the marketing and public relations industries.
  • Represented executives in connection with their termination from an investment bank and advised them on compliance with restrictive covenants.
  • Counsels the fiduciary committees of many 401(k) plans, including several plans holding employer stock and at least one plan having assets in excess of $1 billion.
  • Converted a traditional defined benefit plan to a cash balance plan for a large public company in the computer industry.
  • Handled the termination of the defined benefit plan of a large private company in the HR services industry.
  • Drafted a 401(k)/profit-sharing plan for a large public company in the advertising industry.
  • Drafted a self-insured medical plan document and cafeteria plan document for a large public company in the advertising industry.

SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS

"Pressing Employer Issues in the Workplace," Davis & Gilbert Labor & Employment Seminar, July 2017

"Hot Topics in Labor & Employment Law: The Trump Administration, Upcoming NY State and City Law Changes, Benefits Regulations and More," Davis & Gilbert Labor & Employment Seminar, March 2017

"Employee Discrimination and Harassment Complaints: Best Practices for Conducting Effective Internal Investigations," Davis & Gilbert Labor & Employment Seminar, December 2016

"How to Prepare for 2016: Proposed New Federal Overtime Regulations, New Employee-Friendly Laws in NYS and NYC, and Joint Employer Issues," Davis & Gilbert Labor & Employment Seminar, March 2016

"Medical Leave and Accommodation: Current Issues Under the FMLA and ADA," Davis & Gilbert Labor & Employment Seminar, July 2015

"ERISA Fiduciary Responsibility: Hot Topics, Latest Trends and Confronting The Difficult Issues," Clear Law Institute Webinar, April 30, 2015

"Consultants, Temporary Workers, and Shared Employees: The Changing Legal Landscape," Davis & Gilbert Labor & Employment Seminar, March 2015

"Retirement Plan Investment Changes: Meeting Strict ERISA Requirements Amid Increasing DOL Audits and Lawsuits," Strafford’s Webinar, February 19, 2015

"Countdown to ACA Compliance: Navigating the Alternatives/Avoiding the Latest Pitfalls," Davis & Gilbert Benefits & Compensation Webinar, June 17, 2014

"Employer Mandate Under the ACA: Navigating the Final Regulations," Davis & Gilbert Benefits & Compensation Seminar, April 2014

"Managing Health-Related Requests for Accommodation and Leaves of Absence," Davis & Gilbert Labor & Employment Seminar, February 2014

"Examining Recent Supreme Court Decisions and Their Effect on Your Daily HR Practice," Davis & Gilbert Labor & Employment Seminar, September 2013

"Hostile Work Environment, Health Care Reform, and New Legal Developments Impacting Your Daily HR Practice," Davis & Gilbert Labor & Employment Seminar, May 2013

PUBLICATIONS

Co-Author, "Excessive Fee Litigation Is Getting Excessive," Employee Relations Law Journal, Autumn 2017

Co-Author, "New IRS Proposed 457(f) Regulations Provide Nonqualified Deferred Compensation Opportunities for Executives of Tax Exempt Entities," Employee Relations Law Journal, Summer 2017

Co-Author, "Revenue Sharing: Risks, Rewards, and Reality for Plan Fiduciaries," Employee Relations Law Journal, Spring 2017

Co-Author, "New ACA Section 1557 Nondiscrimination Requirements: Lessons for All Plan Sponsors, Despite Seemingly Narrow Scope," Employee Relations Law Journal, Winter 2016

Co-Author, "The New Definition of "Fiduciary" Under ERISA: Plan Sponsors Need to Evaluate Their Service Provider Relationships," Employee Relations Law Journal, Autumn 2016

Co-Author, "ACA Considerations in M&A Transactions," Employee Relations Law Journal, Summer 2016

Author, "The Trouble Caused by Tibble: Supreme Court Case Requires Enhanced Monitoring of Plan Investments," Employee Relations Law Journal, Spring 2016

Co-Author, "Five Years Later: The SEC's Proposed Rule for Clawbacks of Incentive-Based Compensation," Employee Relations Law Journal, Winter 2015

Co-Author, "The Benefits of Using Contract Equity to Attract, Reward, and Retain Key Employees of Closely-Held Companies," Employee Relations Law Journal, Autumn 2015

Co-Author, "Davidson v. Henkel: The Effect on FICA Withholding Under Nonqualified Plans and its Broader Impact," Employee Relations Law Journal, Summer 2015

Co-Author, "Section 409A Issues in Employment Contracts," Employee Relations Law Journal, Spring 2015

Co-Author, "The Perils of PERA: Putting 401 (k) PERAs and ERISA Budget Accounts under the Fiduciary Microscope," Employee Relations Law Journal, December 2014

Co-Author, "Countdown to ACA Compliance: Key Issues Under the Employer Mandate," Employee Relations Law Journal, Autumn 2014

Co-Author, "Final Employer Mandate and Reporting Requirement Regulations Published: It’s Time to Pay or Play," D&G Benefits & Compensation Alert, March 2014

PRESS

Quoted, Forbes.com, "Execs Face Dec. 31 Deadline On Deferred Pay," by Ashlea Ebeling, December, 15, 2009

Quoted, The National Law Journal, "Executive Pay Deadline Looms," by Peter Page, September 1, 2008

Quoted, BNA Pension & Benefits Daily, “Deferred Compensation: Final Section 409A Rules to Include Expanded Guidance On Stock Rights,” by Mary Hughes, June 9, 2006

Quoted, SHRMFORUM Compensation & Benefits, “Proposed Deferred Compensation Regs Call For Increased Severance Plan Scrutiny,” by Stephen Miller, October 2005

PROFESSIONAL MEMBERSHIPS/AFFILIATIONS

American Bar Association, Tax Section
New York State Bar Association, Qualified Plans Subcommittee
Employee Relations Law Journal, Advisory Board

BAR ADMISSIONS

Missouri
District of Columbia
New York

EDUCATION

St. Louis University, J.D., 1989
Washington University, A.B., 1986


REPRESENTATIVE ENGAGEMENTS

  • Represented several large public companies to conduct a comprehensive review of all their deferred compensation arrangements to ensure compliance with Section 409A of the Internal Revenue Code.
  • Established stock option plans for a French investment bank and many high tech start-ups.
  • Established incentive plans for many small private companies, including those in the marketing and public relations industries.
  • Represented executives in connection with their termination from an investment bank and advised them on compliance with restrictive covenants.
  • Counsels the fiduciary committees of many 401(k) plans, including several plans holding employer stock and at least one plan having assets in excess of $1 billion.
  • Converted a traditional defined benefit plan to a cash balance plan for a large public company in the computer industry.
  • Handled the termination of the defined benefit plan of a large private company in the HR services industry.
  • Drafted a 401(k)/profit-sharing plan for a large public company in the advertising industry.
  • Drafted a self-insured medical plan document and cafeteria plan document for a large public company in the advertising industry.

SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS

"Pressing Employer Issues in the Workplace," Davis & Gilbert Labor & Employment Seminar, July 2017

"Hot Topics in Labor & Employment Law: The Trump Administration, Upcoming NY State and City Law Changes, Benefits Regulations and More," Davis & Gilbert Labor & Employment Seminar, March 2017

"Employee Discrimination and Harassment Complaints: Best Practices for Conducting Effective Internal Investigations," Davis & Gilbert Labor & Employment Seminar, December 2016

"How to Prepare for 2016: Proposed New Federal Overtime Regulations, New Employee-Friendly Laws in NYS and NYC, and Joint Employer Issues," Davis & Gilbert Labor & Employment Seminar, March 2016

"Medical Leave and Accommodation: Current Issues Under the FMLA and ADA," Davis & Gilbert Labor & Employment Seminar, July 2015

"ERISA Fiduciary Responsibility: Hot Topics, Latest Trends and Confronting The Difficult Issues," Clear Law Institute Webinar, April 30, 2015

"Consultants, Temporary Workers, and Shared Employees: The Changing Legal Landscape," Davis & Gilbert Labor & Employment Seminar, March 2015

"Retirement Plan Investment Changes: Meeting Strict ERISA Requirements Amid Increasing DOL Audits and Lawsuits," Strafford’s Webinar, February 19, 2015

"Countdown to ACA Compliance: Navigating the Alternatives/Avoiding the Latest Pitfalls," Davis & Gilbert Benefits & Compensation Webinar, June 17, 2014

"Employer Mandate Under the ACA: Navigating the Final Regulations," Davis & Gilbert Benefits & Compensation Seminar, April 2014

"Managing Health-Related Requests for Accommodation and Leaves of Absence," Davis & Gilbert Labor & Employment Seminar, February 2014

"Examining Recent Supreme Court Decisions and Their Effect on Your Daily HR Practice," Davis & Gilbert Labor & Employment Seminar, September 2013

"Hostile Work Environment, Health Care Reform, and New Legal Developments Impacting Your Daily HR Practice," Davis & Gilbert Labor & Employment Seminar, May 2013

PUBLICATIONS

Co-Author, "Excessive Fee Litigation Is Getting Excessive," Employee Relations Law Journal, Autumn 2017

Co-Author, "New IRS Proposed 457(f) Regulations Provide Nonqualified Deferred Compensation Opportunities for Executives of Tax Exempt Entities," Employee Relations Law Journal, Summer 2017

Co-Author, "Revenue Sharing: Risks, Rewards, and Reality for Plan Fiduciaries," Employee Relations Law Journal, Spring 2017

Co-Author, "New ACA Section 1557 Nondiscrimination Requirements: Lessons for All Plan Sponsors, Despite Seemingly Narrow Scope," Employee Relations Law Journal, Winter 2016

Co-Author, "The New Definition of "Fiduciary" Under ERISA: Plan Sponsors Need to Evaluate Their Service Provider Relationships," Employee Relations Law Journal, Autumn 2016

Co-Author, "ACA Considerations in M&A Transactions," Employee Relations Law Journal, Summer 2016

Author, "The Trouble Caused by Tibble: Supreme Court Case Requires Enhanced Monitoring of Plan Investments," Employee Relations Law Journal, Spring 2016

Co-Author, "Five Years Later: The SEC's Proposed Rule for Clawbacks of Incentive-Based Compensation," Employee Relations Law Journal, Winter 2015

Co-Author, "The Benefits of Using Contract Equity to Attract, Reward, and Retain Key Employees of Closely-Held Companies," Employee Relations Law Journal, Autumn 2015

Co-Author, "Davidson v. Henkel: The Effect on FICA Withholding Under Nonqualified Plans and its Broader Impact," Employee Relations Law Journal, Summer 2015

Co-Author, "Section 409A Issues in Employment Contracts," Employee Relations Law Journal, Spring 2015

Co-Author, "The Perils of PERA: Putting 401 (k) PERAs and ERISA Budget Accounts under the Fiduciary Microscope," Employee Relations Law Journal, December 2014

Co-Author, "Countdown to ACA Compliance: Key Issues Under the Employer Mandate," Employee Relations Law Journal, Autumn 2014

Co-Author, "Final Employer Mandate and Reporting Requirement Regulations Published: It’s Time to Pay or Play," D&G Benefits & Compensation Alert, March 2014

PRESS

Quoted, Forbes.com, "Execs Face Dec. 31 Deadline On Deferred Pay," by Ashlea Ebeling, December, 15, 2009

Quoted, The National Law Journal, "Executive Pay Deadline Looms," by Peter Page, September 1, 2008

Quoted, BNA Pension & Benefits Daily, “Deferred Compensation: Final Section 409A Rules to Include Expanded Guidance On Stock Rights,” by Mary Hughes, June 9, 2006

Quoted, SHRMFORUM Compensation & Benefits, “Proposed Deferred Compensation Regs Call For Increased Severance Plan Scrutiny,” by Stephen Miller, October 2005

PROFESSIONAL MEMBERSHIPS/AFFILIATIONS

American Bar Association, Tax Section
New York State Bar Association, Qualified Plans Subcommittee
Employee Relations Law Journal, Advisory Board

BAR ADMISSIONS

Missouri
District of Columbia
New York

EDUCATION

St. Louis University, J.D., 1989
Washington University, A.B., 1986