It is fitting that the International Pension and Employee Benefits Lawyers’ Association (IPEBLA) conference brought us to Lisbon, the home of the early explorers. The Age of Discovery begun, in part, by the Portuguese in the European “old world” touched several continents, many of which were uncertain territories and “new frontiers” at the time. Inevitably, the explorers encountered rough waters and had to re-calibrate routes along the way. Frequently, what they found was not what they expected, but by engaging in what had previously been unknown to them, the world got smaller.

Similarly, as we convened another IPEBLA conference, we continued to explore the challenges of providing retirement and welfare benefits to different types of workers, in different economies, in nations large and small. Occasionally, what was “old” is re-thought and re-tooled and becomes “new” again. Plan sponsors and plan participants ride out the economic rough waters and hope for smoother seas ahead. New ideas and new technology help to expand the population to which pensions and benefits are offered. Engagement with those around the world provides insights and valuable best practices that can be applied across borders.

Importantly, as the Portuguese sailors navigated the world, they charted their progress, providing future generations with valuable thoughts about where they had been, the challenges they faced and maps displaying the literal paths forward. It is our hope that the 17th international conference provided some of the very same outcomes for attendees.

As for the program itself we had some new features for the conference that we hope interested you:

·         On Day 1, there was a morning workshop labelled “IPEBLA BASICS.” The aim of that workshop was to set a framework for first time attendees or those wishing for a “refresh.” The session reviewed the “basic” principles of retirement, benefits and executive compensation in a few jurisdictions with some comparative analysis.

·         On Day 1, Day 2 and Day 3, a track of workshops, labelled “IPEBLA EC”, a new Executive Compensation workshop track for attendees who practice largely or exclusively in the executive compensation area, or who find those topics interesting.

·         On Day 2, the morning plenary session was presented in a “Point/Counterpoint” style. That style was repeated in the workshops labelled “IPEBLA 2.0” at points throughout the remainder of Day 2 and Day 3. These sessions were highly interactive. Delegate participation in the conversation was highly encouraged.

·         Finally, if there was a session that you missed, or feel you would like repeating, please let us know – should there be enough interest, encore presentations can be done by webinar!

       
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