Ruel Pile

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Mr. Pile has more than 27 years of legal experience in Title I and II of ERISA (in both pension and welfare benefits) and executive compensation. He has worked as in-house ERISA/benefits counsel for Fortune 500 companies (including a multibillion-dollar prescription benefit manager and a multinational food manufacturer), and for the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), specifically within the national office of the EBSA, Office of Regulations and Interpretations, Division of Fiduciary Interpretations. While at the DOL, he has served as an expert witness on ERISA, testifying on behalf of the U.S. government against organized crime, and assisted in drafting a variety of DOL regulations, advisory opinions, and internal guidance for the Office of Enforcement. He concentrates his practice primarily in Title I and II of ERISA, executive compensation, federal tax, and corporate governance. He advises compensation, administration, and investment committees; ERISA fiduciaries; in-house counsel; outside corporate counsel; and finance and human resources executives. His practice involves all types of benefit plans, including qualified and nonqualified retirement plans, executive and incentive compensation programs, top hat plans, bonus programs (exempt from ERISA), insured and self- funded group health plans, and equity-based compensation arrangements.

He provides advice on a wide range of operational and regulatory compliance matters: designing, drafting, and administering tax-qualified retirement/welfare benefit plans and nonqualified deferred compensation arrangements; fiduciary duties and prohibited transactions; employee benefits/executive compensation issues in M&A transactions; benefit claims and appeals decisions; best practices in plan administration/compliance; MEWAs; QDROs; IRC Sections 409A, 280G, 162(m), and 83; the Affordable Care Act (ACA); HIPAA; COBRA; DOL/IRS reporting requirements; IRC 4975 issues related to IRA investments; and the look-through provisions of the plan asset regulation. He drafts amendments to pension and welfare benefit plans; SPDs; participant communications; tax opinions; severance, bonus and other compensation related plans; and reasonable cause letters supporting IRS abatement of penalties related to ACA reporting failures. He also assists clients with evaluating government agency inquiries, including DOL and IRS audits; correcting plan failures under EPCRS; designing, implementing, and administering various ERISA retirement, wellness, and health and welfare plans; conducting fiduciary and tax compliance reviews for benefit plans; control group and partial plan termination analysis; and filing Forms 1094-C and 1095-C.

Representative Speeches and Publications

“Recent Private Letter Ruling Provides Valuable IRS Perspective.” Pile, Ruel. Journal of Pension Benefits, vol. 28, no. 2, Winter 2021

“IRS Allows Employer to Give Employees a Choice between HRA and Profit Sharing Plan Benefits without Creating a Cash or Deferred Arrangement or Causing Taxable Health Reimbursements.” Boutwell, Sherrie and  Pile, Ruel. Journal of Pension Benefits, vol. 28, no. 2, 2021

“2021 Joint TE/GE Council Employee Plans Annual Meeting.” Pile, Ruel. Tax Exempt and Government Entities, 25 & 25 Feb. 2021

“Partial Plan Terminations After COVID-19 –What Employers Need to Do By March 31, 2021.” Pile, Ruel. Western Pension & Benefits Council, 16 Feb. 2021

“Missing Participants: What’s Your Obligation Under ERISA?” Pile, Ruel. and Rollover, Apr. 2019.


2020, California; 1994, District of Columbia; 1993, Florida


Suffolk University, J.D., 1991

Georgetown University, LL.M. in Taxation, 1993 (with distinction)

Western New England University, B.A., 1988