“Successful companies want to take care of their employees by offering them competitive compensation, short-term and long-term incentive awards, a retirement savings plan, and medical coverage. I help realize these goals while always looking to protect my clients.”
Areas of Focus
Mark Bokert, co-chair of the Benefits + Compensation Practice Group, is a leading attorney for all aspects of executive compensation and employee benefits. He advises on wide-ranging matters from incentivizing key employees to plan compliance and administration to multimillion-dollar IRA and pension investments. His clients include large public companies, private mid-size companies, C-suite executives and tax-exempt organizations, many of which he has represented for decades.
Mark derives immense satisfaction from guiding companies and executives through the very complex maze of compensation and benefits laws. Deeply immersed in the world of employee benefits, he knows the market standards, what government audits prioritize and where litigation landmines are buried. Even when the stakes are highest, Mark takes a calm, measured approach, presenting options to help clients achieve goals and minimize risk.
Fluent in “Codespeak,” the language of the Internal Revenue Code, and clear on the interplay of the many laws governing employee benefits, Mark breaks down complex legal concepts into clear terms and deftly steers clients through audits and inquiries. He structures state-of-the-art deferred-compensation arrangements, stock awards, and phantom stock plans, as well as complex employment and separation agreements. Mark also meets with plan committees many times a year, counseling them on their ERISA fiduciary duties and covering such hot topics as cybersecurity and socially responsible investing.
During the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020, Mark sprang into action, participating in webinars and writing articles to update clients on evolving compensation/benefits issues. He was in daily communication with employers regarding the treatment of laid-off and furloughed employees, deferred-salary payments, and CARES Act distributions. Later, he advised companies on how to retain, motivate and reward returning employees.
Created the primary non-qualified deferred compensation vehicle through which holding company executives across all operating companies and businesses can defer base salary and bonuses and through which the company can provide deferred incentives. Handling compliance with Section 409A across all operating companies and businesses.
Counseling a global media, marketing and corporate communications holding company’s benefit committee overseeing 401(k) and pension plans having assets of approximately $4 billion. Ensuring compliance with ERISA fiduciary duties, including selecting and monitoring plan investments and service providers, plan fees and DOL audits.
Handling all aspects of employee benefits, including compliance with ERISA fiduciary duties, retirement plan compliance, and health and welfare issues for a private equity firm with $53 billion of assets under management.
Handled multiemployer plan withdrawal liability issues and procurement of bonds in connection with a real estate private equity firm's acquisition and sale of hotels and office buildings.
Acting as special executive compensation counsellor for board of trustees who approve bonuses and pay increases for executive officers. Advising on compliance with IRC Sections 4958 and 4960 and drafted CEO employment contract and executive bonus plan in collaboration with labor counsel.
Handling all aspects of employee benefits for a tax-exempt organization, including compliance with 403(b) and 457. Converted traditional pension and cash balance plan to a variable annuity plan. Regularly advising on health and welfare issues.
Insights + Events
- Event Strafford Publications | New IRS Correction Rules for Retirement Plans: Plan Administration, Remediation of Noncompliance
October 13, 2021
- Alert IRS Updates Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System
September 16, 2021
- Publication Employee Relations Law Journal | To Arbitrate or Litigate Under ERISA – That Is the Question
July 7, 2021
- Publication Employee Relations Law Journal | Bostock, Section 1557, and Transgender Benefits in Self-Funded Health Plans
June 1, 2021
- Alert IRS Provides Much Needed Guidance on COBRA Premium Subsidy
May 27, 2021
- Event Strafford Publications Webinar | 401(k) and 403(b) Plan Litigation: Recent Cases, Investment Offerings, Issues for Plan Sponsors and Fiduciaries”
April 21, 2021
- Press Mention National Association of Plan Advisors | ‘False’ Pretenses
April 20, 2021
- Publication Employee Relations Law Journal | ESG Investing by ERISA Plan Fiduciaries: The DOL Final Regulations
April 1, 2021
- Alert COBRA Changes Under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021
March 17, 2021
- Alert Regulators Clarify COVID-19 Relief Deadline Extension
March 8, 2021
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- St. Louis University (J.D., 1989)
- Washington University (A.B., 1986)
- New York
- District of Columbia
Member, Davis+Gilbert Retirement Plans Committee
Member, American Bar Association
― Member, Tax Section
Member, New York State Bar Association
― Member, Qualified Plans Subcommittee
Member, Advisory Board, Employee Relations Law Journal