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News & Policy

Federal Pension Insurer Will Pay Benefits at Top-Flite Golf Co.

April 07, 2004

"The PBGC is stepping in because Top-Flite is liquidating in bankruptcy and the asset purchaser is not assuming the underfunded pension plans," said Acting Executive Director Vince Snowbarger. "The PBGC will take over payment of retirees' monthly benefit checks without interruption, up to guaranteed federal limits, and will ensure other employees receive benefits when they are eligible to retire."

A subsidiary of Spalding Holdings Corp., Top-Flite filed for bankruptcy protection on June 30, 2003, and later sold its operating assets to Callaway Golf Co. The two defined benefit pension plans sponsored by Top-Flite are underfunded by more than $30 million, with $26 million in assets to cover more than $56 million in benefit promises. In addition, Top-Flite has failed to make more than $2 million in required contributions to the pension plans. The pension plans ended as of the October 1, 2003, sale date, and the PBGC became trustee of the plans on March 18, 2004.

Under federal pension law, the maximum guaranteed pension at age 65 for participants in plans that terminate in 2003 is $43,954 per year. The maximum guaranteed amount is lower for those who retire earlier or elect survivor benefits. In addition, certain early retirement subsidies and benefit increases made within the past five years may not be fully guaranteed.

Within several weeks, the PBGC will send notification letters to all participants in the Top-Flite pension plans. The agency will review individual records and calculate each person's benefit according to plan provisions, asset allocation rules, and federal guarantee limits. Workers and retirees with questions may contact PBGC toll-free at 1-800-400-7242. For TTY/TDD users, call the federal relay service toll-free at 1-800-877-8339 and ask for 800-400-7242. General information about PBGC's pension insurance program is available at

The PBGC is a federal corporation created under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974. It currently guarantees payment of basic pension benefits earned by 44 million American workers and retirees participating in over 31,000 private-sector defined benefit pension plans.

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PBGC No. 04-34