According to a press release , the advisory opinion clarifies that the use of pooled offshore vehicles to hold the assets of the U.S. pension plans and non-U.S. pension plans of multinational corporations administered by Northern Trust in the manner described in the advisory opinion would not violate certain requirements of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) that relate to the holding of currencies or securities offshore.
These cross-border pooling vehicles are set up by multinational corporations in order to gain efficiencies and improved corporate governance over global pension funds, according to the firm.
“Northern Trust’s cross-border pooling solution was designed to comply with ERISA regulations, and we are pleased to have this confirmed by the federal authorities,” said Tim Theriault, President of Corporate & Institutional Services at Northern Trust. “Ever since we pioneered cross-border pooling seven years ago, clients have expressed an interest in pooling assets from subsidiary pension plans across the globe, including the United States. With this Department of Labor advisory opinion, we expect more multinational companies to capitalize on the benefits of bringing cross-border assets together for investment management purposes.”
Northern Trust supports tax-transparent and non-tax-transparent pooling vehicles for more than $26 billion in assets on behalf of multinational companies and investment managers around the globe. Using a proprietary system to support custody and fund accounting, Northern Trust says it launched the first vehicle for cross-border pension pooling in 2001, and then worked with a multinational client-led consortium in 2005 to create two tax-transparent, cross border pension pooling vehicles (see Northern Trust Offers US DB Asset Cross-Border Pooling ).
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The Advisory Opinion is online at http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/regs/aos/ao2008-04a.html