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Do PBGC premiums incent plan sponsors to borrow to fund their pension plans?


In a 2012 Russell Practice Note "To fund now, or to fund later? That is the question" we discussed the carrot and stick approach to pension funding provided in MAP-21. MAP-21 allowed a certain amount of flexibility to pension plan sponsors when determining a contribution schedule, but at the same time, the law also increased PBGC premiums for maintaining an underfunded pension plan. Since that time, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 ("BBA") further increased the premium payable to the PBGC for maintaining an underfunded pension plan.

This Russell Practice Note revisits the question: Should and under what circumstances would it be advantageous for a pension plan to issue debt in order to fund the pension plan?


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To fund now, or to fund later? That is the question

Authored by

James Gannon
James Gannon, FSA, CFA, EA
Director, Asset Allocation and Risk Management


Please remember that all investments carry some level of risk, including the potential loss of principal invested. They do not typically grow at an even rate of return and may experience negative growth. As with any type of portfolio structuring, attempting to reduce risk and increase return could, at certain times, unintentionally reduce returns.

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