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Highlights

The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) is a self-financing government corporation that insures the pensions of 44 million workers in more than 27,000 private sector defined benefit pension plans. Yet, PBGC faces financial instability that could pose a future threat to this source of protection for Americans' retirement income. As fewer sponsors pay premiums for fewer participants in defined benefit plans, and as the underfunding of large defined benefit plans increases, the risks to PBGC's financial future also increase. As of September 2010, PBGC's net accumulated financial deficit was $23 billion. GAO has designated PBGC and the pension insurance programs it administers as "high risk" areas in need of urgent attention and transformation to address economy, efficiency, or effectiveness changes. In this testimony, GAO discusses its recent work regarding PBGC. Specifically, this statement focuses on needed improvements to PBGC's governance structure and strategic management based on GAO's prior work in these areas. GAO is making no new recommendations in this statement, but continues to believe that Congress should consider expanding PBGC's board of directors and that PBGC should implement recommendations from prior reports that have not yet been implemented, such as those concerning strategic workforce management and benefit determination process performance measures for large, complex plans.

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