Information on How to Buy ERISA Bond
Purchasing an ERISA Fidelity Bond is essentially the same as purchasing a fidelity bond for an investment advisory firm and this article is meant to serve as guide as to cost and timing to secure one of these bonds.
Generally a manager will need to make sure that the bond is for 10% of the amount of the ERISA assets (subject to a minimum bond requirement of $1,000). This means that if the ERISA assets in the fund are $1MM, the manager will need to have a bond for at least $100,000.
However, the maximum bond amount with regard to any one plan is $500,000. This means that if the manager has ERISA assets in the fund (from one plan) of $6MM, the manager will only need to have a bond in the amount of $500,000 with respect to that plan.
Generally, if the manager had two plans in his fund – one with $6MM in assets and one with $2MM in assets, the manager would need to have $700,000 worth of coverage ($500,000 and $200,000 respectively). The best way to accomplish this is to have separate bonds for the separate ERISA plans invested in the fund.
Cost of ERISA Bond
A bond consultant or insurance broker will generally be able to provide a quote for the ERISA coverage needs. The costs are fairly reasonable – generally around $200 to $400 for every $100,000 of coverage per year. For newly formed management companies, the amount of the bond may be based on the personal credit score of an officer of such management company.
Application Process and Timing
ERISA bonds are fairly easy to purchase and can be delivered quickly. The application process is generally pretty basic – applications will require basic information about the management company, the fund and/or the officer(s) of the management company. Different bond companies will require different information or have different application processes or procedures.
In my experience, managers have been able to secure a bond within about a week of submitting an application. If you are a manager that is likely to receive an allocation from an ERISA plan, the best practice is to have the bond in place prior to the time that the ERISA assets are wired to the fund account. Accordingly, the manager should take care to make sure the bonding company has all necessary information in order to place the bond by the necessary time.
As with other sensitive areas of hedge fund law (like taxation) managers should take extra care when dealing with ERISA investors and ERISA requirements. I always recommend discussing any ERISA issues with an ERISA specialist.
Please also see our disclaimer with regard to the information presented on this website.
Bart Mallon, Esq. of Cole-Frieman & Mallon LLP runs Hedge Fund Law Blog. Mr. Mallon’s legal practice is devoted to helping emerging and start up hedge fund managers successfully launch a hedge fund. If you are a hedge fund manager who is looking to start a hedge fund or if you are a current hedge fund manager with questions about ERISA, please contact us or call Mr. Mallon directly at 415-868-5345. Other related hedge fund law articles include:
- ERISA Bonding FAQ – DOL Answers
- Hedge Funds and ERISA
- ERISA Hedge Fund Issues Overview
- Pension Security Act of 2009
- Hedge Fund Soft Dollars
- Hedge Fund Report by GAO
- Hedge Fund Side Letters
- Hedge Fund IRA Investments
- DOL Sues Investment Advisor
- Hedge Fund Laws Overview
- ERISA, Hedge Funds, and Valuation
- Institutional Investor Due Diligence
- Hedge Fund Due Diligence 2.0
- Hedge Fund FAQ