PBGC Reports $23B Deficit

November 15, 2010 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - In FY 2010, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) took in $2.3 billion in premiums and had $7.8 billion in investment income (total return on investments was 12%).

However, according to the agency’s annual report, total obligations (including benefit payments that will be paid out over decades) increased by $11.5 billion. The PBGC has $79.5 billion in combined assets to cover obligations that total $102.5 billion. The resulting combined deficit, $23 billion, is an increase from $22 billion in 2009.  

The report said the PBGC’s single-employer program posted a $21.6 billion deficit for 2010, compared with $21.1 billion in the year-earlier period. The deficit for the separate multiemployer pension program is $1.4 billion, from $869 million in 2009.  

In the past year, the agency took over failed pension plans covering nearly 109,000 workers and retirees, and helped prevent the termination of plans covering about 250,000 others.   

PBGC Director Josh Gotbaum said in part, this financial position is the result of inadequate plan funding and misfortunes that have befallen plan sponsors, and in part, it is a result of the fact that the premiums PBGC charges are insufficient to pay for all the benefits that PBGC insures, and other factors.  

“Since our obligations are paid out over decades, we have more than sufficient funds to pay benefits for the foreseeable future. Nonetheless, we cannot ignore PBGC’s future financial condition any more than we would that of the pension plans we insure,” Gotbaum said.  

The annual report is at http://pbgc.gov/about/ar2010.html.