ERISA Plans Added to Cross-border Pooling Platform

June 29, 2009 ( - Northern Trust has announced the addition of the first pension funds governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) to its cross-border pooling platform.

A press release said the pension plans invest in a U.S. limited partnership, along with Canadian employee pension and welfare plans, with approximately $4 billion in North American and European equity investments.

Northern Trust said it has a U.S. patent pending for solutions in fund administration and custody which allow multinational corporations and asset managers to pool pension assets from multiple country plans while utilizing the tax treaty rates available for retirement plan investors.  In addition to U.S. limited partnerships, “tax-transparent” fund structures on Northern Trust’s pooling platform are domiciled in Ireland, Luxembourg or The Netherlands.

The U.S. Department of Labor issued an advisory opinion to Northern Trust in 2008 clarifying that ERISA plans can use pooled offshore vehicles administered in the manner described by Northern Trust without violating certain indicia of ownership requirements of ERISA (see Northern Trust Gets Cross-Border Pooling OK from DoL ).

The firm said it followed up on the DoL advisory opinion with enhancements to its pooling platform:

  • Form 5500 (Annual Return/Report of Employee Benefit Plan) supplemental reports are available for funds with ERISA investors;
  •  A special tax service has been confirmed for an ERISA plan investing in Swiss equities via a U.S. limited partnership; and
  • Partnership tax information is available for clients’ U.S. tax preparers.

More information is at .