PBGC Expands Cooperation with the UK's Pensions Regulator and the Pension Protection Fund
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 04, 2009
WASHINGTON-The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. (PBGC) today announced an agreement with the United Kingdom's The Pensions Regulator and the Pension Protection Fund that provides a framework for information sharing that will help the agencies protect retirement benefits earned by workers and retirees on both sides of the Atlantic.
"In today's global business world, pension regulators often face common issues that cut across national boundaries," said Vince Snowbarger, acting director of the PBGC. "This agreement gives the PBGC and our UK counterparts a framework for appropriate sharing of information and cooperation in carrying out our missions."
Under a Memorandum of Understanding, signed today, the three agencies will share any unrestricted information that advances the security of defined benefit plans sponsored by private sector companies. Confidential financial information from those companies will not be shared.
David Norgrove, chair of The Pensions Regulator, said "We have worked with the PBGC since the Pensions Regulator began in 2005. This MoU formalises the position and, through exchange of thinking and best practice, will help us in our efforts to protect members' benefits."
The agreement is a reflection of the mutual interests of the three agencies and the global reach of corporate entities that sponsor pension plans.
"This agreement sends a clear signal that there is a high level of co-operation between the various national institutions charged with protecting retirement incomes in an era when many sponsoring employers have a global presence," added Lawrence Churchill, chair of the Pension Protection Fund.
While the agreement facilitates broad access to data, intelligence, and other records, it is not legally binding. Additionally, the agencies are not compelled to lend assistance to each other, especially if legal proceedings are underway, and such assistance would be contrary to the interests of either country. The agreement can be canceled at any time by any party.
The Pensions Regulator oversees private sector defined benefit plans in the UK and is charged with protecting the retirement benefits of plan members. The Regulator is also charged with reducing the risk of claims for compensation from the Pension Protection Fund (PPF).
The PPF was created to pay compensation to members of eligible defined benefit pension plans when the plan's sponsor was unable to pay benefits.
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 29,000 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. 10-04