Corporate Counsel, Employee Benefits and Payroll - Brighthouse Financial

  • Company: MetLife
  • Location: Charlotte, North Carolina
  • Posted: November 09, 2016
  • Reference ID: 30083
At MetLife, we're leading the global transformation of an industry we've long defined.  United in purpose, diverse in perspective, we're dedicated to making a difference in the lives of our customers.
In January 2016, MetLife announced a plan to pursue the separation of a substantial portion of its U.S. Retail segment. Once separated, the new business will be called Brighthouse Financial.
Brighthouse Financial will serve customers the way they want, need and deserve. It will focus on eliminating the complexity, confusion and cost that can get in the way of many Americans who are seeking financial security. We will bring products to the market that add value to our customers' lives, and will be guided by a common set of values that focus on the customer and drive accountability.
Brighthouse Financial is seeking high-performing team members who are passionate about the company's mission.  We are laser-focused on adding value to our customers and minimizing complexity in every decision and action. We are building high performing teams who set the bar high and hold each other accountable.
Job Location
United States : North Carolina : Charlotte
Alternate Job Location
United States : New York : New York
Summary of Responsibilities
The Employee Benefits and Payroll attorney will serve as tax and ERISA counsel and technical advisor on all company remuneration programs.  This professional is responsible for working with senior benefits counsel to ensure ERISA, and related regulatory requirements are met for all compensation and benefit programs. This professional will establish tax, ERISA and regulatory policies and compliance protocols and oversee technical analysis for benefit plans and employee remuneration. This professional will provide technical advice to Human Resources Benefits team and Payroll regarding administration of benefit plans and payroll.  This professional will manage any claims and appeals against the plans, will manage fiduciary committees, serve as secretary to these committees and generally be the primary attorney responsible for governance on the benefit plans.  This individual will also be responsible for identifying legislation/regulations that can impact the benefit plans and alert senior attorneys and HR on the impact and draft any and all amendments to plan documents to account for legislative changes.  This professional will also represent the company with various government agencies, including the Treasury, IRS, and Department of Labor as needed, to state regulators and coordinate with the company's government affairs office and trade groups on remuneration programs.  This position will report to the Head of Employee Benefits, Payroll & Product Tax.
Principal Responsibilities 
  • Serve as a lead advisor and technical reviewer on tax and ERISA compliance on internal employee benefits and remuneration programs. 
  • Develop tax, ERISA and related regulatory positions, which include: 
  • Income tax and deductions associated with remuneration programs, including compliance with Internal Revenue Code (IRC) section 404 deduction timing rules, section 162(m) deduction limitations on executives of publicly held companies (including the application of various transition rules in effect post transaction and advice to the compensation committee with respect to performance-based compensation exceptions); section 83 deduction timing rules for equity compensation; and related tax timing issues that arise from methods of accounting for employee benefit and executive compensation arrangements;
  • Tax reporting and compliance associated with remuneration programs, including income and employment tax withholding to employees and executives; employment tax withholding under Code section 3121(v); advice on structuring executive compensation programs and equity compensation to comply with or be exempt from the 409A deferred compensation rules including any state-law counterparts;
  • Advice on 280G golden parachute rules; development of positions and compliance testing under section 125 with respect to cafeteria plans; and under section 105 and 106 with respect to insurance programs; and analysis of any potential Affordable Care Act tax liabilities under section 4980H or 49890D; nondiscrimination testing and coverage rules under section 410(b) and 401(a)(4) for all tax-qualified plans. 
  • Manage and review compliance and regulatory filings on employee benefit plans, including initial IRS determination letter requests; collection of data and filings for all Forms 5500; coordination with actuaries with respect to actuarial determinations and certifications for defined benefit plans; and oversee the Affordable Care Act information returns for employee health plans.
  • Manage and review the drafting of plan documents and amendments for employee benefit and remuneration programs and annual amendments thereto  (e.g. tax-qualified plans, supplemental savings and retirement plans, severance,  medical, cafeteria plans, wellness programs and deferred compensation), including summary plan descriptions and any required employee disclosures and notices related to employee benefit programs.
  • Review in connection with Human Resources the operations of all employee benefit and remuneration plans to ensure compliance, including the administration of such plans by outside vendors.
  • Review agreements with Human Resources vendors and third-party administrations related to the operation of employee benefit plans, including requests for proposals and service level agreements.  Initiate requests for proposals or benchmark plan vendor fees as reasonable on a regular basis.
  • Manage correction programs, such as the IRS Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System and any Department of Labor audits, including corrections of filing occasioned by third-party administrator actions.
  • Responsible for governance surrounding benefit plans including care and maintenance of fiduciary committees, organize appointment of members, run semi-annual meetings, collect and collate data for fiduciary meetings, draft fiduciary report to appointing fiduciary and FYI report to board of directors
  • Review all employee claims and appeals processes for compliance with ERISA and, where applicable, Affordable Care Act requirements.  Assist HR in drafting claim and appeal responses.
  • Review proxy materials related to executive compensation disclosure (CD&A) for compliance with tax reporting rules; review related processes for development of performance-based compensation programs under 162(m), review, where applicable, change in control and section 280G termination scenario tables and footnotes.
  • Provide advice on payroll tax compliance matters, including any amended returns, and determine the taxation of all compensation, fringe benefit, and payroll items.
  • Serve as advisor on federal (IRS), state and local tax examinations and/or controversy matters related to remuneration, employee benefits or payroll matters.
  • Monitor legislation affecting employee benefits taxation and outline same for HR and senior benefits attorneys
  • Provide ERISA advice, as required, on investments in qualified plans
  • Act as legal counsel to the plan investment committee and advise on ERISA and fiduciary standards for investment decisions; draft  reports and minutes related to approvals for service providers to ERISA plans, plan investments, and ERISA section 408(b)(2) compliance
Required Qualifications 
  • Minimum 8+ years of ERISA, employee benefits, and payroll tax experience in the life insurance industry or in a major law firm working with life insurance company clients
  • Technical expertise and experience in federal and state tax issues with significant focus on employee benefits and payroll tax matters
  • Technical expertise and experience with ERISA health and welfare benefit plan requirements
  • Experience drafting and advising on large employer welfare benefit, pension and deferred compensation plans
  • Experience on large employer tax controversy matters, governmental rulings or other IRS or Department of Labor programs on employee benefits
Preferred Qualifications
  • Technical expertise in employee benefits taxation
  • Effective management and development of professional staff 
  • Superior writing and oral communication skills in order to engage with management effectively and clearly communicate complex financial and process-related information to management
  • Ability to resolve technical questions and uncertainties in a manner that meets business goals and maintains a high compliance culture
  • Ability to listen and appreciate stakeholder concerns and understand business issues that are affected by tax technical matters
  • Exhibits initiative and the ability to manage multiple complex tasks towards completion in a large firm environment
  • LLM in Taxation or corresponding experience in taxation and employee benefits strongly preferred
Required Education
  • JD from a US law school
  • Member in good standing of the NC or NY Bar
Business Category
Brighthouse Financial
Legal, Communication and Compliance
Job Category
Number of Openings

Share this Job