Ms. Constance Donovan is the Participant and Plan Sponsor Advocate and was selected in October of 2013 by the PBGC Board of Directors to serve in this newly created position under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA).
The role of the PBGC Advocate was created on July 6, 2012, when the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) was signed into law. MAP-21 amended section 4004 of ERISA to include the role of the PBGC Advocate, its duties and reporting requirements. Congress had been considering the role of the Advocate at PBGC for many years.
The Advocate serves as liaison among and between the PBGC, sponsors of defined benefit pension plans, and participants in defined benefit plans. The Advocate addresses areas in which participants and plan sponsors have persistent problems in dealing with the corporation, proposes changes in the administrative practices of the corporation to mitigate problems, recommends legislative changes, and files an annual report to Congress which generally summarizes activities of the Advocate and concerns of the participant and plan sponsor community. The Advocate also works directly with participants in defined benefit plans to ensure that they receive benefits they are entitled to under defined benefit plans insured by PBGC and also works with plan sponsors to help them resolve disputes with the corporation.
Not later than December 31 of each calendar year, the Advocate must report on the activities of the Office of the Advocate during the fiscal year ending during such calendar year to the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee of the Senate; the Committee on Finance of the Senate; the Committee on Education and the Workforce of the House of Representatives; and the Committee on Ways and Means of the House of Representatives.
The Advocate also submits a copy of each report to the Secretary of Labor, the Director of the corporation, and any other appropriate official at the same time such report is submitted to the Committees of Congress.
There is no charge for the services of the Advocate.