Robert Sichel is a partner in the firm’s New York office, where he is a member of the Investment Management practice group and oversees the firm’s ERISA Fiduciary practice. Robert helps financial institutions navigate the complexities of ERISA when manufacturing products for, and providing services to, retirement plans and ERISA “plan asset” funds.
Robert also advises financial services businesses, with a focus on wealth management and asset management, regarding mergers and acquisitions.
On a day-to-day basis, Robert advises leading consultants and OCIO firms on all aspects of their businesses, including investment manager selection and oversight, client onboarding, responding to RFPs and RFIs, client contract drafting and negotiation, operational matters, developing and maintaining pooled investment platforms, compliance and best practices.
Robert advises investment managers structuring and operating pooled investment funds to avoid ERISA “plan asset” status, such as venture capital operating companies and real estate operating companies. He also advises investment managers and other fiduciaries in navigating ERISA’s fiduciary responsibility and prohibited transaction rules. Support includes drafting and implementing policies and procedures; providing training and compliance advice with respect to prohibited transaction exemptions; and drafting and negotiating investment management agreements, fund documents, side letters and trading-related agreements (e.g., ISDAs, clearing agreements, futures agreements, securities lending agreements and prime brokerage agreements).
Robert also counsels sponsors of defined benefit and defined contribution plans on investment matters, governance, de-risking, and service provider (e.g., consultants, investment managers, trustees, recordkeepers) due diligence and oversight. Investment committees at some of the world’s largest plan sponsors rely on Robert for training and best practices advice.
Prior to joining K&L Gates, Robert was General Counsel of a $20 billion registered investment adviser that provided OCIO consulting and investment management services to large institutional investors, where he led a team of legal, compliance and risk professionals. He has also served as internal ERISA counsel for JPMorgan and Bear Stearns where he advised a variety of businesses, including retail, institutional asset management, derivatives, prime brokerage, and structured products.
- Presenter, K&L Gates ETF Think Tank, “How ESG ETFs Can Access the $11 Trillion ERISA Space,” Virtual, September 30, 2020.
- Presenter, Financial Research Associates, “Aging Investor Protection Summit,” June 14, 2017.
- Presenter, “Best Practices & Regulatory Developments Affecting Private Fund Sponsors,” June 7, 2017.
- Speaker, K&L Gates, AAU Human Resource Institute and Mayor Brown Live Event, “403(b) Plan Litigation - Best Practices for Now and Preparations for the Future,” May 18, 2017.
- Presenter, NRS and the Investment Advisers Association webinar, “Mandates Beyond the Advisers Act: Anti-Money Laundering, ERISA Compliance and ’34 Act Section 19 Reporting for Advisers,” April 18, 2017.
- Presenter, Mutual Fund Directors Forum Webinar, “The Department of Labor's New Fiduciary Regulation: Considerations for Mutual Fund Directors,” September 20, 2016.
- Presenter, The Marketing & Advertising Compliance Forum for Investment Advisors, “Updating Marketing & Advertising Materials to Reflect Fiduciary Rule Changes,” New York, NY, August 22, 2016.
- Panelist, 2016 K&L Gates Investment Management Conference, London, July 6, 2016.
- Presenter, The New York State Bar Association Live Event, “Securities Regulation Committee and Private Investment Funds Subcommittee Joint Meeting,” New York, NY, June 23, 2016.
- Presenter, The New York Society of Security Analysts Live Event, “Conflict of Interest Rule (Fiduciary Rule) Unwrapped,” New York, NY, May 31, 2016.
- Presenter, The Investment Adviser Association Webinar, “What SEC-Registered Investment Advisers Need to Know About the New ERISA Fiduciary Rules,” May 17, 2016.
- Presenter, K&L Gates Live Event, “Part II: The Department of Labor's new ‘conflict of interest rule’," Boston, MA, May 12, 2016.
- Presenter, K&L Gates Webinar, “Non-U.S. Webinar: The U.S. Department of Labor's new ‘conflict of interest rule’,” May 5, 2016.
- Presenter, K&L Gates Live Event, “Part I: The Department of Labor's new ‘conflict of interest rule’," New York, NY, May 4, 2016.
- Instructor, NRS Education Desktop Seminar, “Mandates Beyond the Advisers Act: Anti-Money Laundering, ERISA Compliance and ’34 Act Section 13 Reporting for Investment Advisers,” April 26, 2016.
- Panelist, “New Manager Forum,” New York, NY, April 2016.
Robert is the co-author of a 2014 guidebook OTC Derivatives Clearing, The Guide for Corporate DB Pension Plans aimed at helping corporate pension plans navigate the complexities of trading derivatives post the Dodd-Frank Act.
Additional publications include:
- "Private Equity in 401(k) Plans - A Trillion Dollar Opportunity?," Journal of Investment Compliance, December 2020
- “The Department of Labor's New Conflict-of-Interest Regulations,” The Review of Securities & Commodities Regulation, Vol. 49, No. 13, 20 July 2016
- The Expanding Reach of U.S. Federal Retirement Regulations, Thomson Reuters Accelus Article, by Robert L. Sichel and Kristina M. Zanotti, June 16, 2016.