Dealing with PBGC Reportable Events: A Practical Guide for Employers and Their Advisors

Recording of a 90-minute CLE webinar with Q&A

Conducted on Tuesday, January 24, 2017
Recorded event now available

This CLE webinar will provide practical guidance on meeting the challenges posed by the reportable events rules, with a focus on how those rules interact with the PBGC’s Early Warning Program.


The PBGC made major modifications, effective in 2016, to its reportable events rules. Complying with these complex rules can be challenging for employers, particularly since reporting is triggered by events that arise on a sporadic basis and that may involve only some distant member of the contributing sponsor’s “controlled group.” Corporate finance and HR staff, as well as their advisors, need to have a solid understanding of these rules so that they can properly identify and plan for events that are reportable and timely report them to PBGC.

Occurrence of a reportable event can have serious consequences under corporate loan and other agreements, and may lead to PBGC threatening to initiate an involuntary termination of a pension plan and thus potentially triggering an enormous liability. In addition, failure to comply with the rules in a timely manner not only can have serious consequences under corporate loan and other agreements but can also result in a penalty of up to $2,063 per day for so long as the delinquency continues, with the full penalty assessed separately against each contributing sponsor and each plan administrator required to report the event.

The new regulations significantly change the definitions of many of the reportable events, in some cases dramatically expanding the scope of the reportable event. For example, while the “loan default” reportable event rules were previously structured to ensure that “technical” defaults would not have to be reported, the new rules not only clearly capture “technical” defaults, but also for the first time require reporting even of non-defaults where the lender waives or agrees to an amendment of a covenant the effect of which is to cure or avoid a breach that would trigger a default.

The new regulations also eliminate most of the reporting extensions, and significantly revise the reporting waiver rules. For example, there is now a more stringent test for waivers based on the level of pension plan funding and a new focus, for waiver purposes, on the financial risk profile of the employer responsible for funding the pension plan.

Listen as our experienced panel provides practical guidance to meet the challenges of dealing with the PBGC’s Early Warning Program and its reportable events rules, one year after implementation of those rules. The Participant and Plan Sponsor Advocate at the PBGC will be sharing her perspective on the concerns of the plan sponsor community on these and related issues.


  1. PBGC Involvement in Corporate and Plan Events, Transactions, and Trends
  2. Types of Corporate and Plan Events, Transactions, and Trends of Concern
  3. PBGC’s Information Needs and Desires
  4. Understanding the New PBGC Reportable Events Requirements
  5. Dealing with PBGC Reporting: Strategies and Pitfalls
  6. Settling Disputes with PBGC: Strategies and Pitfalls


The panel will discuss these and other important topics:

  • How can employers ensure that potential reportable events are properly identified based on coordination among multiple controlled group entities and their advisors?
  • What are the key reporting requirements that are most likely to be overlooked by employers and their advisors, and what options are available to deal with penalty assessments?
  • How can employers deal effectively with reportable event issues in the context of loan and other corporate agreements?
  • What steps is PBGC likely to take in response to a reportable event filing, and how can employers deal effectively with PBGC demands for additional funding of pension plans?


Harold J. Ashner, Partner
Keightley & Ashner, Washington, D.C.

Mr. Ashner's nationally-recognized boutique law firm in Washington, DC, practices in a broad range of areas relating to employee benefits and employment law. He previously served as Assistant General Counsel for Legislation and Regulations at PBGC, where he drafted or supervised virtually all regulations and policies issued by PBGC from 1988 until he left the agency in early 2005, along with PBGC’s General Counsel and Deputy General Counsel, to form Keightley & Ashner LLP. He is the author of several publications on PBGC-related matters and a frequent speaker on such matters at professional conferences, serves in various leadership roles with the American Bar Association, and is routinely retained by major law firms, actuarial consulting firms, investment banking firms, and employers to deal with PBGC-related issues.

Constance A. Donovan, Participant and Plan Sponsor Advocate
Pension Benefit Guaranty, Washington, D.C.

Ms. Donovan is the Participant and Plan Sponsor Advocate at the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC). She was selected by the PBGC Board of Directors to serve in this newly created position under ERISA. The Advocate helps participants with the full attainment of their rights in plans trusteed by the corporation and assists plan sponsors in resolving disputes with the corporation. Ms. Donovan’s prior government service includes the U.S. Department of Treasury, and the Department of Labor. She was the Chief Executive Officer of the New Hampshire Retirement System, and the former General Counsel and Executive Director of the District of Columbia Retirement Board. Ms. Donovan spent most of her career in business with NCR Corporation.  

Deborah A. Tully, FSA
Pine Cliff Consulting, Framingham, Mass.

Ms. Tully's firm specializes in actuarial consulting that focuses on retirement plan financial management, strategy, and compliance. She has extensive experience with complex retirement and benefits issues including communications to senior leaders, board members, investors, legislators and regulators.She has testified on pension issues before Congress and is a current member of the ERISA Advisory Council to the Department of Labor. Prior to joining her firm, she was the Senior Director of Compensation & Benefits Finance for Raytheon Company. Before joining Raytheon, she was a consulting actuary with Mercer, Aon and Buck Consultants.


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