Bradley Belt to Head Pension Consulting Firm

May 25, 2007 (PLANSPONSOR.COM) - The former director of the nation's private-sector pension insurer is apparently going into the pension advice business.

Bradley D. Belt, executive director of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) from 2004 to 2006 (See Head of PBGC Resigns ), has been tapped as chairman of the Palisades Capital Advisors. Palisades is being launched by the private-equity firm Reservoir Capital Group of New York, according to an Associated Press report.

Executives with the firm said Palisades will provide pension risk management and restructuring advisory services, as well as long-term investment strategies, such as hedging pension investments.

“We are pleased to partner with someone of Brad’s expertise, character and reputation,” said Reservoir President Craig Huff. “He has a track record of accomplishment in both the public and private sectors, and is a recognized thought leader on retirement finance and policy issues.”

During his stint at the PBGC, Belt waded through some of the largest commercial pension restructurings in U.S. history, including the settlement of a $10 billion claim with United Airlines. The company decided to terminate its four major pension plans in 2005.

As the largest single shareholder in the airline’s bankruptcy case, the PBGC elected to terminate and take over United’s plans, which covered some 121,500 participants (See Bankruptcy Judge Upholds Termination of United Pilots’ Pension Plan ).

Belt stepped down from his position at the PBGC in May 2006, just as the government began discussions to resolve the agency’s $23 billion deficit (See Annual Report: PBGC Deficit Eases to $23.1B in 2005 ) — the result of growing numbers of companies defaulting on their pension plans. At the time, the PBGC had estimated $108 billion in possible pension failures.