W. Mark Smith

Washington, DC

Since 1981, Mark, a partner of Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP, has advised on tax, ERISA and other issues related to retirement, executive compensation, and other employee benefit plans, as well as insurance and investment products. He is engaged on behalf of plan sponsors, banks, broker-dealers, insurance companies, investment advisers and managers, mutual funds, trade associations and others for a range of consulting, transactional, regulatory and litigation matters. He advises a variety of plan sponsors, including Fortune 50 companies, on their employee benefits and insurance matters.

He has assisted in the design and operation of several hundred insurance, investment and stable value products; investment advisory, management and broker-dealer arrangements; and plan record keeping and other plan service arrangements.

For benefits plans and sponsors, he has negotiated the acquisition of more than 50 sophisticated investment and insurance products.

Mark has represented Sutherland's clients in regulatory or enforcement matters before the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the U.S. Department of Treasury, the Employee Benefit Security Administration (EBSA) of the Department of Labor (DOL), the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC), the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), the Office of Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), and state regulatory agencies.

Mark has managing more than 50 tax and ERISA cases in federal court. He served as counsel for the Nationwide Insurance Companies in a series of cases culminating in Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. v. Darden (Supreme Court 1992) and for the amici in Albertson's, Inc. v. Commissioner (9th Cir. 1993, 1994).

Mark is also proficient in the taxation of nonqualified and corporate insurance products, including corporate- and bank-owned life insurance (COLI/BOLI) policies.

Before joining Sutherland, Mark clerked for then Chief Judge Clement Haynsworth of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. He served as the 1991-1992 Chair of the Employee Benefits Committee of the ABA Tort, Trial and Insurance Practice Section, and for several years as a delegate to the ABA Joint Committee on Employee Benefits. Mark was president of the board of directors of the D.C. Bar Foundation (2009-2011), and has served on the advisory boards of several programs and publications including the Georgetown Corporate Counsel Institute. He has made more than 125 presentations to a variety of audiences and contributed to more than 25 books and articles. Mark is recognized in The Best Lawyers in America in Employee Benefits Law (since 2001) and Legal 500 USA (since 2012) and is a Fellow of the American College of Employee Benefits Counsel. From 1999 to 2007, Mark served as partner-in-charge of Sutherland's Washington, D.C., office and firmwide Executive Partner.


DC Plans

DB Plans

Fiduciary/Other Title I Issues