WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Labor today announced the appointment of seven members and leadership for the 2022 Advisory Council on Employee Welfare and Pension Benefit Plans, also known as the ERISA Advisory Council.

The 15-member council provides advice on policies and regulations affecting employee benefit plans governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974.

The council’s first meeting in 2022 will be held online on May 9, 2022, from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. EDT. Open to the public, the meeting will determine the topics for the council’s consideration in 2022 and receive an update from the Employee Benefits Security Administration.

By law, members for staggered 3-year terms representing nine fields. Three members represent employee organizations, three represent employers and three represent the general public. One member is selected from the accounting, actuarial counseling, corporate trust, insurance, investment counseling and investment management fields.

“The perspective of stakeholders in the employee benefits’ field greatly improves the Department of Labor’s work,” said Acting Assistant Secretary for Employee Benefits Security Ali Khawar. “The expertise possessed by the members of the ERISA Advisory Council is an invaluable resource. We are grateful that they are willing to share their time and talent.”

The appointees and their areas of expertise are as follows:

Actuarial Counseling: Tonya Manning is U.S. Wealth Practice Leader and Chief Actuary for Buck Global LLC. Manning has more than 30 years of retirement plan actuarial experience in the private and public sector, and is a lecturer in actuarial science at Columbia University.  

Employee Organizations: Marcelle J. Henry is a partner and the chairperson of the ERISA/Employee Benefits Group at Pitta LLP. Henry has more than 20 years of experience practicing employee benefits law, with expertise counseling multiemployer pension and welfare funds on all aspects of plan administration and compliance. 

Employee Organizations: Shaun C. O’Brien is policy director for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. With more than 25 years of experience in employee benefits, O’Brien now oversees AFSCME’s federal policy work on employee benefits issues. 

Employers: Holly Verdeyen is a partner at Mercer. Verdeyen leads Mercer’s defined contribution retirement plan and financial wellness business in the U.S., and has more than 20 years of experience in addressing the retirement plan investment needs of employers and their employee benefit plans. 

General Public: Jeffrey Lewis is a partner at Keller Rohrback LLP. Lewis has specialized in employee benefits law for more than 45 years, and has been a litigator on behalf of plan participants and retirees. Lewis has also served as a plan fiduciary, and counseled plans and service providers. In addition, Lewis has been a law school professor, mediator and senior editor of employee benefits publications. 

Insurance: Alice Palmer is vice president and chief counsel for Retirement Plan Service for Lincoln Financial Group. With more than 11 years of experience counseling insurance companies on employee benefits law, Palmer now sets strategic priorities for the company’s retirement plans’ legal and compliance teams.

Investment Counseling: Beth Halberstadt is senior partner and U.S. Defined Contribution Investment Solutions Leader for Aon Investments USA Inc. With more than 30 years of experience in retirement plan administration and investments, Halberstadt now has responsibility for delivering innovative investment and plan design solutions for defined contribution clients. 

Current ERISA Advisory Council member Peter Wiedenbeck will serve as the chair of the 2022 Council. Wiedenbeck is the Joseph H. Zumbalen Professor of the Law of Property at Washington University School of Law. With more than 30 years of experience teaching employee benefits law and taxation, Wiedenbeck has published extensively in those areas. 

Current member Megan Broderick will serve as vice chair. With more than 30 years of experience in compensation and benefits, Broderick is now senior director for Global Retirement and Financial Wellbeing at PepsiCo. and leads the strategy, design and governance team for more than 120 PepsiCo retirement programs.

More information about the ERISA Advisory Council, including information on how to attend the May meeting and the reports of the 2021 ERISA Advisory Council, can be found on the council web page.

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