Christine M. Kong

Partner
christine.kong dbr.com
Phone: (212) 248-3152 (212) 248-3152
Fax: (212) 937-3181

About

Christine (Chris) M. Kong assists public and private companies and tax-exempt entities with broad-based retirement plans, deferred compensation plans, cash- and equity-based incentive plans, severance arrangements, and the employee benefit aspects of corporate transactions. She is vice-chair of the firm’s Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation Practice Group.

Chris was a law clerk to the Honorable J. Sydney Hoffman of the Pennsylvania Superior Court.

Experience

Chris regularly counsels publicly-traded and privately-held employers with broad-based retirement plans, including 401(k) plans, profit-sharing plans, money purchase plans, and defined benefit plans. In addition to assisting employers with plan document and operational compliance issues, Chris frequently represents employers before the Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Labor when their employee benefit plans are under audit or investigation.

Chris also works on the design, drafting and implementation of equity-based incentive plans, change of control arrangements, bonus and retention arrangements, severance policies, and deferred compensation arrangements for employers. Her work in this area includes designing and drafting nonqualified deferred compensation arrangements for highly compensated and management employees, analyzing issues under Section 409A of the Internal Revenue Code, reviewing golden parachute issues under Section 280G of the Internal Revenue Code, and drafting proxy disclosures and prospectuses for compensation arrangements.

Chris’s corporate transactions work includes representing employers with respect to employee benefit issues arising in stock and asset acquisitions and mergers. This work includes identifying employee benefit issues that may impact a corporate transaction and advising clients with respect to those issues (such as underfunded defined benefit pension plans and operational issues with a seller’s 401(k) plan); drafting the employee benefit provisions of purchase agreements and working with the seller’s or the buyer’s counsel on those provisions; and advising clients regarding the post-closing integration of the seller’s and the buyer’s benefit plans.

For her tax-exempt clients, Chris’s retirement plans experience includes advising employers on plan document and operational compliance issues for 403(b) plans, 401(a) defined contribution plans and defined benefit plans, 401(k) plans, and money purchase plans. She also regularly drafts “eligible” 457(b) plans and “ineligible” 457(f) plans for highly compensated and management employees and counsels clients on the operational compliance issues associated with those plans.

Chris’s corporate transactions experience with tax-exempt entities includes representing employers in asset acquisitions and asset sales, member substitutions, affiliations, and joint ventures. In addition to analyzing the employee benefit issues that may impact a transaction, this work includes identifying affiliated service groups that may impact an employer’s employee benefit plans.

Chris assists public and private companies and tax-exempt entities with a wide range of employee benefits services. Her representative matters include:

  • Represented an NYSE listed manufacturer of over-the-counter drugs with executive compensation, equity compensation, and employee benefit issues arising in connection with its acquisition of an Irish corporation in a corporate inversion cash and stock deal valued at approximately $8.6 billion.
  • Represented a tax-exempt health care system with executive compensation and employee benefit issues arising in its affiliation with a leading non-profit healthcare provider in a transaction valued at approximately $1 billion.
  • Represented a tax-exempt health care system with executive compensation and employee benefit issues arising in a member substitution and asset acquisition from an NYSE listed healthcare system in a transaction valued at approximately $425 million.
  • Represented a NASDAQ listed retailer with employee benefit matters arising in a sale valued at approximately $890 million.
  • Negotiated an ERISA Section 4062(e) settlement agreement with the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation on behalf of the sponsor of a defined benefit pension plan in a going-concern asset sale to a publicly-traded health care system.
  • Represented a plan sponsor before the Internal Revenue Service in the audit of its defined contribution and nonqualified plans, resulting in an 80% reduction of the Service’s proposed sanction of $2.5 million.
  • Represented clients with qualified plan matters that include the addition of cash balance provisions to a frozen defined benefit pension plan, the termination of plans (including defined benefit pension plans, money purchase pension plans and 401(k) plans), and the post-closing integration and design of defined contribution plans.

Credentials

Bar Admissions

  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Pennsylvania

Education

  • Villanova University School of Law, LL.M., Taxation, 1997
  • Villanova University School of Law, J.D., 1995, Villanova Law Review
  • Arizona State University, B.S., 1991