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Pilot Mediation Program Now Permanent for the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation

Tuesday, February, 19, 2019

The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) has decided to permanently implement its Pilot Mediation Program based on the program’s success so far.  

According to PBGC, the program has helped resolve cases related to pension termination liability collection and the Early Warning Program.  Fiduciary breach cases were also added to the menu of resolvable cases.  


The program gives pension plan administrators a chance to resolve the disputes with the assistance and oversight of a “neutral, professional, independent mediator” and do so in an efficient and cost-effective way.


The pilot program was launched in October 2017.  The goal was to help those involved in disputes to resolve their issues with the support of a neutral mediator who has experience overseeing such cases.  It was part of PBGC’s ongoing efforts to create an easier path to allow sponsors to maintain their pensions.


Originally, termination liability collections and Early Warning Program cases were chosen for the pilot program and seen as the disputes that would benefit most from mediation.  Since the pilot’s launch, officials saw that additional opportunities were there and mediation could also benefit those involved in fiduciary breach cases, which is why those cases were added.


PBGC posted the changes to the program to its website and also listed additional recent changes, including adjusting its maximum penalty amounts for “failure to provide required information and notices. ” The organization must adjust these amounts to account for inflation and various other issues.  It has stated its goal is to encourage compliance without penalizing plans that forget to file their information.