Bruce L. Ashton

Senior Counsel


Bruce Ashton puts more than 35 years of legal experience to work for public and private sector clients dealing with the full range of employee benefits matters.

Bruce assists plan service providers, including registered investment advisors (RIAs), independent record-keepers, third-party administrators, broker-dealers and insurance companies, in fulfilling their obligations under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). Bruce also advises and defends fiduciaries on their obligations and liabilities, helps public and private sector plans and their sponsors negotiate the resolution of plan qualification issues under Internal Revenue Service (IRS) remedial correction programs, and structures qualified plans and nonqualified deferred compensation arrangements.

Combining his employee benefits and transactional experience, Bruce is active in the installation and funding of employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs).

Published Works

Bruce contributes to the firm’s Broker-Dealer Law blog, which provides practical insights on litigation, regulatory, compliance and fiduciary issues impacting broker-dealers. He is a frequent contributor to various tax and pension publications. Additionally, Bruce speaks frequently on employee benefits issues ranging from fiduciary responsibility to ESOPs, including at conferences sponsored by the American Society of Pension Professionals and Actuaries (ASPPA) and other organizations.


Bar Admissions



Rice University

Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law
J.D. Order of the Coif

Insights & Events

Other Perspectives
  • “The $2.5T Retirement Readiness Problem No One Is Talking About: Until Now”
    Speaker, ISCEBS, New Orleans, September 10, 2019
  • “ESOP Nuts And Bolts: What You Need To Know About Employee Stock Ownership Plans”
    Speaker, National Center for Employee Ownership (NCEO), Burbank, California, July 2, 2018
  • “The DOL Fiduciary Rule”
    Speaker, 109th Life And Health Compliance Association, Garden Grove, California, October 26, 2017
  • “Presidential Politics: What The Election May Mean For Employee Retirement Plans And Benefits”
    Speaker, PlanAdviser National Conference, Orlando, Florida, September 14, 2016
  • “The Growing Fiduciary Risk Of Loans To Terminated Employees – And An Actionable Solution”
    Speaker, PlanSponsor National Conference, Chicago, June, 3, 2015
  • Plan Correction Answer Book
    Co-author, Aspen Publishers, 2001
  • Cumulative Supplement, Participant Directed Investment Answer Book
    Co-author, Aspen Publishers, 2002
  • Participant Directed Investment Answer Book, 3rd Edition
    Co-author, Aspen Publishers, 2003
  • Actuarial Audits: A Legal and Tactical Analysis
    Co-author, American Society of Pension Actuaries, 1990

Leadership & Community

Pro Bono

Bruce has provided pro bono services related to employee benefits for Save the Children.

Professional Associations

  • American Society of Pension Professionals and Actuaries (ASPPA) — President, 2003-04; Government Affairs Committee (Co-Chair, 1998-2002); Board of Directors, 1997-2007
  • American Academy of Actuaries — Board of Directors, 2003-04
  • Western Pension & Benefits Conference, Los Angeles Chapter — President, 2008-09
  • National Tax Sheltered Accounts Association (NTSAA) — Leadership Counsel

Civic Activities

  • Boys & Girls Club of Santa Monica — Board Member, 2015-18


  • Chambers USA — California: Los Angeles & Surrounds, Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation, 2021; California, Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation, “Recognised Practitioner,” 2017-19
  • Best Lawyers®— Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law, 2020-22
  • 401kWire — Most Influential People in the 401(k) Industry
  • Who’s Who Legal — California Edition
  • American Society of Pension Professionals and Actuaries — Harry T. Eidson Founders Award, 2011

Awards Methodology
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