Bio

Gray’s practice focuses on employee benefits and executive and equity compensation (including related tax and fiduciary issues). He has extensive experience with benefit plans of all types, including retirement plans, welfare benefit plans, flexible benefit plans, and executive and equity compensation plans.

Significant areas of Gray’s practice include:

  • Benefits issues associated with mergers and acquisitions (including golden parachute and severance issues);
  • Executive compensation (including application of Code Section 409A to non-qualified deferred compensation plans, employment and severance plans and equity plans);
  • Equity compensation (including stock options, restricted stock, and restricted stock units);
  • 401(k) plans, 403(b) plans, ESOPs and defined benefit plans;
  • Non-qualified 457(b) and 457(f) retirement plans for non-profit and governmental entities;
  • Welfare benefit plans, including the Affordable Care Act’s employer and insurance mandates, COBRA continuation rights, and HIPAA privacy rules;
  • ERISA fiduciary standards applicable to plan fiduciaries and investment advisors;
  • Government audits and examination of qualified retirement plans and health and welfare plans; and
  • Correction of ERISA violations under the Department of Labor’s Voluntary Fiduciary Correction Program and correction of plan errors under the Internal Revenue Service’s Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System.

Gray received his B.S. in Business Administration and J.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Prior to joining the firm in 2012, Gray served as General Counsel for Hutchison and Associates, an actuarial and employee benefits consulting firm, and later President of that firm. More recently, he was a Senior Vice President and the Triangle Office Leader for Aon Hewitt, a global human resources consulting and outsourcing firm, which acquired Hutchison and Associates in 1995.

  • American Bar Association, Tax Section
  • North Carolina Bar Association
  • North Carolina State Bar 
  • Wake County Bar Association
  • Pharmacy Foundation of North Carolina- Board of Directors, Executive Committee member
  • 200 Club of Wake County- Board of Directors, Scholarship Committee Chair
  • Triangle Benefits Forum-past President 
  • North Carolina Bar Association- Investment Committee member, Health Insurance Benefit Committee- past Chair, NCBA Health Benefit Trust-past Chair
  • Step-Up Ministry- past Chair, Executive Committee 
  • Greater Raleigh Chamber of Committee – past member of Board of Directors and of the Education Committee
  • Wake County School System- past member of Citizens Advisory Audit Committee
  • Advised a manufacturing company in the termination of its defined benefit pension plan
  • Represented a large retail company in the successful abatement of a proposed multi-million dollar assessment under the Affordable Care Act
  • Advised a soft drink bottling company in significantly reducing its financial accounting liability by converting its retiree medical plan into a defined contribution plan
  • Assisted a financial services company in applying to the IRS for approval of correction of several documentary and operational errors in its 401(k) plan
  • Assists the firm’s corporate attorneys with due diligence of employee benefit programs on both the buy and sell sides of M&A transactions
  • Assisted a non-profit entity executive in negotiating enhancements to his 457(f) nonqualified deferred compensation plan
  • Client Alert: New Department of Labor Regulations Require Immediate Action by Companies that Sponsor 401(k) and Other Retirement Plans, July 2012
  • Client Alert: IRS Issues Guidance on New $2,500 Health FSAs Limit, July 2012
  • Client Alert: Retirement Plan Fee Disclosure, October 2012
  • Client Alert: Dollar Limitations for Employee Benefit Plans and Social Security, October 2012
  • Client Alert: Year-End Employee 401(k) Plan Notice Deadlines, November 2012
  • “How is Health Care Reform Affecting My Bottom Line (and what I can do about it)”- Panelist, January 2013 seminar
  • Client Alert: Health Care Reform Questions and Answers on “Play or Pay” Penalties, February 2013
  • Client Alert: Health Care Reform Update, July 2013
  • Affordable Care Act Update: Play or Pay Provision Delayed Until 2015, July 2013
  • Affordable Care Act Delay in Employer Mandate, February 2014
  • “The Affordable Care Act: how it impacts you as an individual and as an employer”, WSHA “Give Me Liberty and Give Me Law” radio talk show, February 2014
  • “401(k) Plan Fundamentals”, guest speaker at N.C. State College of Management, February 2014
  • “Benefits from a HR Perspective”, Moderator for panel discussion presented to the Triangle Benefit Forum, April 2014
  • “More of the Affordable Care Act Coming in 2015: Can you afford not to be ready?”, Wake Forest Retirement and Executive Benefits Conference, May 2014
  • “Taking Care of Your Employees in a Changing Health Care World”, Cover Your Bases- a seminar for non-profit entities sponsored by First Citizens Bank, September 2014
  • Client Alert: New IRS Guidance on Premium Reimbursement Plans, February 2015
  • Employment Law Newsletter: Same-Sex Couples and Employee Benefits, Summer 2015
  • Ask a Benefits Lawyer: Putting Out an RFP for 401(k) Plans, July 2015
  • Client Alert: Year-End Employee Benefits Update, January 2016
  • “Identifying, Classifying, and Valuing Benefits for Highly Compensated Employees”, Family Law Intensive Seminar, North Carolina Bar Association, October 2015 and February 2016
  • Client Alert: HRA Relief on its Way for Small Employers, December 2016
  • Client Alert: Deadline for Notices to Employees Who Purchased Stock in 2016 through ISOs or ESPPs, January 2017