It was Sept. 2, 1974. Gerald Ford was president and private pension fund assets totaled a mere $138 billion when he signed the Employee Retirement Income Security Act into law. ERISA is now 25 years old, and the assets of the nation's largest pension fund now exceed that 1974 total.
This glimpse into history, along with some other interesting tidbits -- the first pension check issued by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. was for $140.75 on Feb. 28, 1975 -- are part of the commemoration of the law's 25th anniversary on the agency's Web site at www.pbgc.gov.
The agency has paid out more than $8 billion in pension checks in the 25 years since it was created, and now administers the retirement benefits of nearly 500,000 participants in about 2,700 shuttered pension plans.