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Defined Contribution Access to Alternative Investment Products

The U.S. retirement system has undergone a sea change over the last 40 years. Workers today are empowered to make their own decisions through defined contribution (DC) plans, while defined benefit plans are largely a thing of the past. Traditional pension plans have allowed participants to more easily access long-term growth areas like real estate, infrastructure and small business, providing greater diversification and overall investment returns. Our distinguished experts discussed new opportunities and obstacles to including alternative asset, classes private equity, private real estate, public and private credit, and other real assets in defined contribution plans. We discussed the benefits of target date funds versus brokerage windows, the June 3, 2020 Department of Labor Information Letter for private equity and its implications for other alternative products, the recent Intel court decision and its impact on litigation risk, new data and research supporting the use of alternative investments in DC plans, and the SECURE Act of 2019.


Jun 17 2021


  • Angela Antonelli
    Angela Antonelli
    Research Professor and the Executive Director of the Center for Retirement Initiatives (CRI) at Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy

    Angela M. Antonelli is a Research Professor and the Executive Director of the Center for Retirement Initiatives (CRI) at Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy. She also is a Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration.

    As the Executive Director of the CRI, Angela works closely with policymakers, states and stakeholders to strengthen retirement security by expanding the availability and improving the effectiveness of retirement savings, investment and income solutions for private sector workers.

    Angela is relied upon for her insights and opinions on issues related to retirement security and savings, including options for plan design and related legal and regulatory considerations, appearing in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Pensions & Investments and many other major news outlets. She has served as an expert advisor to the World Economic Forum Retirement Investment Reform Project, is an invited regular contributor to and MarketWatch, and has served as a member or advisor to several state retirement task forces.

    Prior to assuming her position at Georgetown, Angela served in senior positions in the government, consulting and nonprofit sectors, including as the Assistant Secretary & CFO for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, with responsibilities for a $30 billion budget and implementing a range of economic policies and programs. She has a B.A., summa cum laude, from Cornell University and an MPA with honors from Princeton University.

  • Anne-Marie Vandenberg
    Anne-Marie Vandenberg
    President, COO & Portfolio Manager, RREEF Property Trust, Inc.

    Anne-Marie Vandenberg has served as our President, Chief Operating Officer and a member of our board of directors since October 2018. She has also served as a Director and Portfolio Manager for DWS’s Alternatives platform since September 2017 leading the RREEF Real Estate defined contribution strategy. From 2005, Ms. Vandenberg was part of Real Estate Capital Markets for DWS where she underwrote and negotiated asset and fund level financings across the Americas private real estate platform. She became a Director of DWS and Head of Real Estate Capital Markets in 2013, where she structured over 200 real estate and fund financing transactions totaling over $11.65 billion.

    Ms. Vandenberg joined DWS in July 2004 as part of the RREEF Real Estate closing team, working on the acquisition and disposition of commercial real estate investments. Ms. Vandenberg has also been involved in fund restructuring efforts, sits on RREEF America’s internal Investment Strategy Council and has participated in the strategic capitalization of several real estate products including our company, RREEF America REIT II, and RREEF Core Plus Industrial Fund. Ms. Vandenberg is an active member of the Urban Land Institute where she serves as Vice Chair of the Urban Mixed Use and Development Silver Council, as well as on the ULI-Chicago Women’s Leadership Initiative Advisory Board. Ms. Vandenberg is also the co-chair of the Pension Real Estate Association’s Defined Contribution Affinity Group and co-treasurer of the Defined Contribution Real Estate Council.

    Ms. Vandenberg holds a B.A. from Tulane University, a M.S. in Real Estate from DePaul University and a J.D. from The John Marshall Law School.

  • David Levine
    David Levine
    Principal Co-Chair Plan Sponsor Practice, Groom Law Group

    David N. Levine is a principal at Groom Law Group, Chartered. Mr. Levine advises plan sponsors, advisors, and other service providers on a wide range of employee benefits matters, from health and welfare to retirement and executive compensation matters.

    Mr. Levine was previously the Chair of the IRS Advisory Committee on Tax Exempt and Government Entities (2011-2013) and is currently a member of the Executive Committee of the Defined Contribution Institutional Investment Association. Mr. Levine regularly speaks on plan design, fiduciary governance, and legislative issues. He is recognized in the Chambers USA guide for Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation. Mr. Levine received his J.D., from the University of Pennsylvania Law School and his B.A., with general and departmental honors, from Johns Hopkins University.

  • David Olstein
    David Olstein
    Partner, Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP

    David C. Olstein is a partner in the Employee Benefits, Executive Compensation and ERISA Group at Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP. His practice focuses on the fiduciary responsibility provisions of ERISA and the prohibited transaction excise tax provisions of the Internal Revenue Code. He has an extensive background advising financial institutions, plan sponsors, and investment committees on ERISA matters, including compliance with ERISA’s fiduciary duty and prohibited transaction rules in connection with the investment of pension plan assets. He also advises high net worth individuals in connection with the investment of IRA assets.

    David regularly advises fund sponsors on the application of ERISA’s “plan asset” rules as they relate to the establishment and operation of private investment funds. From representing issuers and underwriters in connection with marketing securities to investors, to advising plan sponsors and independent fiduciaries in connection with the selection of annuity providers, David offers substantial experience at the intersection of ERISA and fiduciary responsibility.

    David is an active member of the American Bar Association’s Section of Taxation and the New York City Bar Association’s Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation Committee. He is also a contributing author to the BNA treatise ERISA Fiduciary Law, and has authored or co-authored articles that have been published in the Employee Relations Law Journal, Employee Benefit News and Thompson Reuters Practitioner Insights.

  • Kevin Walsh
    Kevin Walsh
    Principal, Groom Law Group

    Kevin L. Walsh advises clients on a wide range of fiduciary matters and other issues involving benefit plans. His practice encompasses helping asset managers and other entities that design investment products build innovative investment offerings designed to enable defined contribution plan participants access to asset classes, like private equity and digital assets, that have traditionally only been available to defined benefit plans.

    While Kevin counsels clients primarily on issues related to Title I of ERISA, he also works with clients on the intersection of ERISA and other federal statutes such as securities laws, sanctions laws, and other laws that impact retirement plan investments. Kevin is also a member of Groom’s Policy and Legislation Group, where he leverages his deep legislative experience on behalf of clients by providing technical legislative drafting services and strategic advice on interacting with the legislative and executive branches.

    Recently, he has been involved in drafting comment letters related to Securities Exchange Commission and Employee Benefit Security Administration efforts to regulate environmental, social, and governance (“ESG”) investing.