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PBGC Looks at Future of Defined Benefit Plans at National Press Club Forum; Honors Robert E. Nagle for Contribution to Retirement Security

December 07, 2009

WASHINGTON-The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) today celebrates 35 years as the federal pension insurer by sponsoring a policy forum on the future of defined benefit pension plans. At the event, held at Washington D.C.'s National Press Club, retirement security experts and advocates will discuss the outlook for defined benefit plans in the current economic climate, and offer specific proposals to modernize traditional pension plans for twenty-first century workers and employers.

"Commemorating this PBGC milestone is a good time to examine the challenges facing the defined benefit system and the plans we insure," said PBGC Acting Director Vince Snowbarger. "We hope our forum will help generate new ideas for strengthening the retirement security of American workers."

In addition to Snowbarger, featured speakers will be Assistant Secretary of Labor for the Employee Benefits Security Administration Phyllis Borzi, and PBGC Advisory Committee Chairman David Strauss, who served as PBGC executive director from 1997 until 2001. Participating as panelists are Beth Almeida of the National Institute on Retirement Security, Karen Ferguson of the Pension Rights Center and Mark Ugoretz of the ERISA Industry Committee.

At a reception following the forum, the agency will present the Jacob Javits Award for Outstanding Contribution to Retirement Security to Robert E. Nagle of McLean, Va. As counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on Labor and Public Works, Nagle was instrumental in drafting legislation that was enacted as the Employee Retirement Security Income Act of 1974. He was appointed executive director of the PBGC by President Carter in 1979 and continued in the position under President Reagan until 1982. At the agency he guided reform of the insurance program for multiemployer pension plans, following enactment of the Multiemployer Pension Plan Amendments Act of 1980.

The award, established in honor of the late Sen. Jacob K. Javits who introduced legislation in 1967 leading to the creation of PBGC pension insurance, recognizes individual efforts that contribute significantly to furthering the private defined benefit pension system.

The PBGC is a federal corporation created under 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. 10-08