“With combined knowledge and hands on experience that is the most comprehensive in the industry, Chuck and Leslie are the ideal team to provide ERISA expert assistance, including ESOP and fiduciary consulting.”

chuck wert

Charles E. Wert

Principal and Fiduciary Expert

With almost 50 years of experience, Chuck is widely recognized as one of the first and few current authorities for the standard of care for Trustees involved in corporate transactions. Chuck has recently retired from his position as Vice Chairman of Evercore Trust Company.  Under Chuck’s leadership, Evercore Trust Company and its predecessors provided services to 75% of the top 20 Corporate Plan Sponsors, 60% of companies comprising the Dow Jones average, and 25% of these companies in the Fortune 500. Among his specialties, Chuck is a leader in pioneering, innovative and creative solutions in the use of company stock and alternative investments to solve various corporate initiatives. Chuck frequently speaks at industry forums and is cited and referenced in industry periodicals.

Experience

Expertise is reviewing and negotiating stock purchases, sales, reorganizations, and proxy voting.

Real Estate valuation analysis, negotiating land purchases, land leases and subsequent sales.

Best practices for hiring, retaining, and supervising outside counsel and other experts.

Nationally recognized expert on role of Independent Fiduciary in complex employee benefit plan transactions.

Highlights

Chuck led a team that conducted one of the first ESOP financed buyouts for Raymond International. The standards of fiduciary care that were established during this transaction and those transactions that followed are still used today and is recognized as best practice in the trust industry.

Chuck served as the trustee for the establishment of the ESOP for Lockheed Corporation which held 26% of the company’s outstanding stock. This plan served as a key obstacle to thwart two attempted hostile takeover attempts and required the trustee to vote this block of shares in the long-term interest of the plan’s employee participants.

Chuck and his team managed a landmark transaction where General Motors contributed its holdings of GM Class E (EDS) stock to its defined benefit plan. This transaction required special exemptions from the DOL, IRS, and an Act of Congress to facilitate the transaction (which solved a severe under funding problem).  

Chuck has served as the primary Trustee for other major U.S. Corporations such as Boeing, Northrop, and United Technologies.

*Detailed resume available upon request.

leslie perlman

Leslie Canfield Perlman

Principal and Consultant

With decades of experience in leading ERISA litigation teams on complicated district court litigation on behalf of the Secretary of Labor, Leslie has been intimately involved in formulating major policy and innovative legal positions for the government on financial, fiduciary and health care issues. Leslie has over 30 years of ERISA experience not only as a hands-on trial and appellate attorney, but also as team leader, supervisor, and instructor.

Recently retired as Counsel for General Litigation in the US DOL, Plan Benefits Security Division, Leslie led Department of Labor attorney teams responsible for enforcing Title I of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). Leslie managed and oversaw all cases filed against the Secretary.   Leslie and teams also advised and supported the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) on complicated enforcement issues, and coordinated agency efforts with the Department of Justice, Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, Internal Revenue Service, United States Trustees, Regional Department of Labor attorneys, Securities and Exchange Commission, Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, and Securities Investor Protection Corporation.

Groundbreaking Work

Led team for Enron ESOP litigation both in Bankruptcy Court and District Court. Negotiated for appointment of independent fiduciary for Enron ESOP.  

Lead trial attorney for DOL legal team in lawsuit on imprudence and overpayment for employer stock by an ESOP. Won case on summary judgment (Valley National Bank); obtained favorable rulings on privilege and discovery issues.

Obtained favorable rulings on privilege and discovery; summary judgment motions yielded important ruling on availability of rescission as an equitable remedy and fiduciary standards (Bruister).

Developed law in area of fiduciary exception to attorney client privilege, duty of board of director member to monitor fiduciaries, ESOP financed leveraged buy-outs, ESOP refinancing, investment in derivatives, purchase of annuities.

Career Highlights

Obtained ground breaking rulings on employee stock ownership plans, duties of board of directors toward company retirement plans, duties of trustees in managing plan assets, purchasing stock and valuation principles, knowing participation in a fiduciary breach, fiduciary discharge in bankruptcy, misclassified workers, duties of independent fiduciaries, interpretation of the claims regulation and attorney client privilege.

Assisted in formulation and implementation of DOL litigating position on the measure of losses available under ERISA for fiduciary breaches, illegal stock purchases, appropriate administrative fees, adequate consideration and rescissionary remedies. Successfully coordinated DOL litigating positions with SEC, Department of Justice, and United States Attorneys nationwide on ERISA issues.

Supervised and designed: “best practices” papers for independent fiduciaries and valuation firms to be used by EBSA; appropriate practices for disability insurers and medical insurers. Advised EBSA Valuation Working Group.

Assisted in formulation and implementation of DOL litigating position on the measure of losses available under ERISA for fiduciary breaches, illegal stock purchases, adequate consideration, valuation of loan forgiveness and remedies. Supervised 502(c)(2) penalty administrative program.

Solely responsible for Defensive litigation: defended challenges to Employee Benefits Security Administration’s denial of exemption, Pension Protection Act, Affordable Care Act and COBRA requirements.

Leslie holds a Juris Doctorate from Vanderbilt University, and a Bachelor of Science from Cornell University.

*Detailed resume available upon request.