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News & Policy

PBGC Restructures for Better Customer Service

April 13, 2005

Changes Result in New Contacts for Pension Professionals

WASHINGTON-The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) has realigned its corporate structure to better reflect the agency's two principal lines of business: providing insurance coverage to pension plan sponsors and participants, and paying benefits to retirees in terminated plans that PBGC administers as trustee. The organizational changes are designed to improve the agency's responsiveness to its customers and to developments in its business environment.

"These changes will enable the PBGC to deal effectively with the unprecedented financial and legal challenges facing the pension insurance program," said Executive Director Bradley D. Belt. "In recognition of the interdisciplinary skills required to handle major risks, teams of actuaries, financial analysts, lawyers and accountants will be grouped under a newly created Insurance Program Department."

Certain organizational changes are of particular interest to customer groups such as pension plan sponsors and administrators who transact business with PBGC on a regular basis. The key changes:

  • The head of the new Insurance Program Department (IPD) will be Terrence Deneen, who previously served as PBGC's principal deputy general counsel.
  • On matters concerning ERISA and bankruptcy litigation related to ongoing and terminated pension plans, the principal point of contact shifts from the Office of the General Counsel to Chief Counsel Jeffrey B. Cohen, who heads the Office of Chief Counsel in IPD.
  • For all matters related to PBGC's Early Warning Program or pre-termination activities, the new point of contact is IPD's Division of Insurance Supervision and Compliance (DISC), headed by Acting Director John L. Spencer. These areas were formerly handled by the Corporate Finance and Negotiations Department and the Pre-Termination Processing Division, whose functions are now part of DISC. The principal responsibilities of DISC are to monitor the financial condition of pension plans and the companies that sponsor them, and to ensure that plan sponsors comply with the provisions of Title IV of ERISA.
  • Plan administrators filing for standard terminations will continue to contact the Standard Termination and Compliance Division, now a part of IPD. Also within IPD is the new Multi-employer Program Division, headed by Acting Manager John Foster, which monitors multi-employer pension plans and handles their requests for financial assistance.
  • On regulatory affairs, pension practitioners and others who previously contacted the office of the Assistant General Counsel for Regulations now will contact the new Legislative and Regulatory Department, headed by Acting Director James J. Armbruster.
  • Contacts remain the same for external customers whose business relates to PBGC's Office of the Chief Financial Officer, including financial operations and premium payments. The restructuring also does not alter current customer contacts in the Office of Information Technology or in the Procurement Department.

The PBGC is a federal corporation created under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). 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. The agency receives no funds from general tax revenues. Operations are financed largely by insurance premiums paid by companies that sponsor pension plans and by investment returns.

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PBGC No. 05-34