U.S. Department of Labor
Julie A. Su, Acting Secretary of Labor, and Chair, PBGC Board of Directors
Lisa M. Gomez, Assistant Secretary, Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA)
Ali Khawar, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, EBSA
John Warner, Special Assistant, EBSA
Nicole Swift, Division Chief, EBSA
Ashley Piatt, Employee Benefits Law Specialist, EBSA
Janelle Leung-Tat, Employee Benefits Law Specialist, EBSA
U.S. Department of the Treasury
Janet L. Yellen, Secretary of the Treasury
Eric Van Nostrand, Acting Assistant Secretary for Economic Policy
W. Moses Kim, Director, Office of Financial Institutions Policy
Jong Ho Hwang, Senior Policy Advisor, Office of Financial Institutions Policy
U.S. Department of Commerce
Gina Raimondo, Secretary of Commerce
Sam Marullo, Senior Policy Advisor to the Secretary
Julia Beckhusen, Senior Economist, U.S. Census Bureau
Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation
Gordon Hartogensis, Director, Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation
Karen L. Morris, General Counsel and Secretary to the Board
Kristin Chapman, Chief of Staff
Ann Orr, Chief Policy Officer
John Hanley, Chief of Negotiations and Restructuring
Robert Scherer, Chief Information Officer
David Foley, Chief of Benefits Administration
Alice Maroni, Chief Management Officer
John Greenberg, Chief Investment Officer
Michael Rae, Deputy Chief Policy Officer
Ted Goldman, Director, Policy, Research, and Analysis Department
Evan Inglis, Chief Policy Actuary, Policy, Research, and Analysis Department
PBGC Office of Inspector General
Nick Novak, Inspector General
Brooke Holmes, Deputy Inspector General
PBGC Office of the Participant and Plan Sponsor Advocate
Constance Donovan, Participant and Plan Sponsor Advocate
Camille Castro, Senior Associate Participant and Plan Sponsor Advocate
PBGC Advisory Committee Consultant
The Chair called the virtual meeting to order and welcomed the attendees. The Chair recognized PBGC Director Gordon Hartogensis.
Director Hartogensis thanked the Board and staff and thanked the PBGC Advisory Committee. The Director provided an update on the financial performance of PBGC’s programs during the third quarter of Fiscal Year 2023. The Director next gave an update on the Special Financial Assistance (SFA) program, noting the agency’s approval of over $53 billion in SFA payments to 65 multiemployer plans and closed his remarks by noting the completion by J.C. Penney of its standard termination, which is no longer a liability to PBGC.
The Chair thanked the Director and asked about the agency’s ability to complete its review of all expected SFA applications by the statutory deadline. The Director reported that PBGC remains on track to complete its review of all initial SFA applications by the 12/31/2025 deadline and review of all revised applications will be completed by the end of 2026. Secretary Yellen and Secretary Raimondo thanked the Director for his update.
The Director introduced the agency’s work with the PBGC Advisory Committee to evaluate the funded status of PBGC’s Single-Employer Insurance Program, described the statutory framework, and introduced Guy Pinkman, PBGC Advisory Committee consultant. Mr. Pinkman noted that the focus has been on quantifying the risks faced by the program. Ted Goldman, the Director of PBGC’s Policy, Research, and Analysis Department and Chief Policy Actuary Evan Inglis, provided more details about their benchmarking analysis. Mr. Inglis described the goal of identifying relevant parameters to improve assessment of PBGC’s financial status. The Chair asked how the parameters would account for less predictable contingencies. Mr. Inglis stated that the agency’s modeling includes a wide range of possible economic outcomes and default risks. Secretary Yellen and Secretary Raimondo thanked PBGC and the Advisory Committee for the analysis and modeling work.
The Chair moved to approve the next steps for PBGC to take in its analysis:
- PBGC, the Advisory Committee, and the Board Representatives will continue the analysis of parameters to assess funding of the Single-Employer Insurance Program; and
- PBGC will set up internal reporting for further discussion on these issues.
Secretary Yellen and Secretary Raimondo agreed.
Next, Participant and Plan Sponsor Advocate Constance Donovan summarized her written report, highlighting her office’s pension tracing and retirement security projects. She described the cases in which her office becomes involved, to resolve issues between plan sponsors or participants and PBGC. She noted that PBGC engages in thousands of transactions without any problems but focused on the Single-Employer Insurance Program distress termination process, and negotiations to resolve termination liabilities as areas of concern. Ms. Donovan recommended that PBGC strengthen the agency’s work with the plan sponsor community. Secretary Raimondo thanked Ms. Donovan for her report, highlighting the importance of talking about the people impacted by plan terminations. The Chair thanked Ms. Donovan and noted the importance of PBGC continuing to work with the Advocate’s office.
Ms. Donovan discussed PBGC’s work with pension plan participants and thanked PBGC’s Office of Benefits Administration for its substantial improvement in responding to benefit inquiries. She expressed concerns about PBGC’s administrative review of participant benefit determinations in certain cases, where such review includes consideration of legal issues and recommended more transparency in reviewing benefit determinations.
Ms. Donovan introduced Camille Castro, the Senior Associate Participant and Plan Sponsor Advocate, who discussed a pension plan tracing project and her work with PBGC to develop an internal research dashboard that displays information about plan mergers and plans that end in standard terminations. Ms. Castro then described the retirement security initiative launched by the PBGC Advocate’s office, to preserve defined benefit plans.
The Chair thanked Ms. Donovan and Ms. Castro for their important work to enhance trust and credibility in government. Secretary Yellen expressed thanks for the PBGC Advocate’s work and for focusing on how people are impacted. Secretary Raimondo thanked Ms. Donovan and Ms. Castro.
As there were no further questions, the Chair and the Board Members thanked Director Hartogensis and all who participated and adjourned the meeting.
MEETING OF THE BOARD REPRESENTATIVES
OF THE PENSION BENEFIT GUARANTY CORPORATION (PBGC)
Thursday, September 28, 2023
10:00 - 11:00 a.m.
- Introduction by Acting Secretary Su
- Director’s Report
- Reserve Concepts Briefing
- Presentation by the Participant and Plan Sponsor Advocate