S. Derrin Watson, JD, APM
Derrin is an independent ERISA attorney and educator in Santa Barbara, California with over 36 years of experience in dealing with retirement plans. In addition to his solo practice, Derrin is Of Counsel to the Ferenczy Benefits Law Center. Previously, he worked with FIS with their Relius line of educational programs and products. There he assisted in drafting qualified, 403(b), 457(b), 409A, and other plan documents and forms, and taught and wrote extensively about all aspects of retirement planning. Before that he was the tax partner of a law firm in Beverly Hills. He spends much of the year traveling to present seminars, and in 2016 delivered over 75 web seminars.
Derrin received his bachelor’s degree in accounting from BYU and in 1980 he graduated from UCLA Law School. He has been involved with qualified plans since 1977 and had his first case involving controlled groups shortly thereafter. He has maintained a strong interest in this area ever since and has become the leading authority on controlled group, affiliated service group, and leased employee issues. He authored the first edition of Who’s the Employer in 1998, and is currently writing the 7th edition. He lectures frequently for ASPPA, NIPA, and Western Pension Benefits Conference. In 2006, ASPPA awarded Derrin its Educator’s Award for his work in providing professional education to plan practitioners.
Derrin is a Senior Editor of the Journal of Pension Benefits and has authored the “Who’s the Employer” column on the BenefitsLink web site.
He has a wife, two sons, four of the finest grandchildren on the planet, and three cats. His varied experiences range from doing standup comedy (yes, even about ERISA) to serving as a Mormon missionary in Iran, to editing and writing books and newsletters on a variety of topics. He enjoys punctuating his ERISA presentations with original parodies.