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WASHINGTON, DC, November 21, 2013 — Institutional Investor has named Covington & Burling partner Richard Shea as one of the 40 people with the greatest influence in shaping the future of the nation’s retirement system. Just one other lawyer in private practice was named to the list—David Boies for his defense of changes to Rhode Island’s state pension plan. Joining them were a mix of U.S. senators, Chicago Mayor and former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, the heads of the three federal agencies with jurisdiction over pensions, and leaders from the worlds of business, labor and finance, as well as prominent academics and actuaries.
Mr. Shea, chair of Covington’s employee benefits and executive compensation practice, was recognized for “working tirelessly to advance the evolution of defined benefit and hybrid pensions.” Institutional Investor highlighted his work in defense of a seminal class action lawsuit that stemmed a floodtide of litigation against cash balance and other hybrid pension plans, as alternatives to the traditional defined benefit plan. The magazine also cited his sustained work on critical federal legislation and regulations, beginning with his service as a Treasury Department official in the early 1990s, and continuing in private practice. In an interview with CNBC, Institutional Investor editor Michael Peltz underscored the importance of hybrid pension designs to the future of the nation’s public and private retirement systems. In its article, Institutional Investor praised Mr. Shea for organizing the 2012 conference Re-Imagining Pensions to explore these and other potential new plan designs as solutions to much of what ails the nation’s retirement system. The conference was hosted on Capitol Hill by the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, and with help from Mr. Shea’s Covington colleagues Robert Newman, Seth Safra and Holly Fechner, and the conference’s co-sponsors, the Pension Rights Center and the Urban Institute.
Mr. Shea is a member of the Pension Research Council Advisory Board of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, and has consistently been recognized as one of the leading employee benefits lawyers in the United States.
Institutional Investor is a leading international finance publication. Its Pension 40 list was created under the direction of the magazine’s editorial team.