Bruce Ashton joined Alta Trust as General Counsel in May of 2022 after a lengthy career in private practice. Most recently, Bruce was a senior counsel in the Benefits & Executive Compensation Practice Group of the international law firm of Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP.
During his more than 35 years of private law practice, Bruce gained wide experience representing businesses in sophisticated business transactions and employee benefits matters. Bruce’s practice focused on all aspects of employee benefits issues, including representing public and private sector plans and their sponsors, negotiating the resolution of plan qualification issues under IRS remedial correction programs, advising and defending fiduciaries on their obligations and liabilities, structuring collective investment trusts, qualified plans, non-qualified deferred compensation arrangements and health care arrangements, and representing plan service providers (including trustees, RIAs, independent record-keepers, third party administrators, broker-dealers and insurance companies) in fulfilling their obligations under ERISA. Combining his employee benefits and transactional expertise, Bruce was also active in the installation and funding of employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs).
Bruce served as president of the American Society of Pension Professionals and Actuaries (ASPPA) for the 2003-2004 term. From 1998 through 2002, he served as the co-chair of ASPPA’s Government Affairs Committee and was a member of its board of directors from 1997 to 2007. He was a member of the Board of Directors of the American Academy of Actuaries during 2003-2004 and was the president of the Western Pension & Benefits Conference Los Angeles Chapter from 2008-2009.
Bruce has been recognized as one of “The Best Lawyers in America” and as a “Super Lawyer” in Southern California. Bruce is listed in the California edition of Who’s Who Legal and has been recognized by 401kWire as one of the Most Influential People in the 401(k) Industry.
Bruce has co-authored four books on employee benefits issues and a quarterly column in the Journal of Pension Benefits on IRS remedial programs. He has been a frequent contributor to various tax and pension publications, including Journal of Taxation, CCH Pension Plan Guide, Journal of Pension Benefits and The ASPPA Journal. He has also been a frequent speaker on employee benefits issues ranging from fiduciary responsibility to ESOPs, and has been a regularly featured speaker at conferences of ASPPA, the Western Pension & Benefits Conference and various other organizations.
Bruce earned his J.D. from Southern Methodist University, where he was a member of the Order of the Coif, Phi Alpha Delta and a Roy R. Ray Scholar. He was a recipient of the Johnson, Bromberg, Leeds & Riggs Award, and the Arthur Stedley Hansen Consulting Actuaries of Dallas Award. He was a member (1968-1970), note and comment editor (1969-1970), and acting index editor (1970) of the Journal of Air Law & Commerce. He received his B.A. from Rice University.