The PBGC singled out but refused to identify the consulting firm named by the SEC as having conflicts of interests and having provided consulting services to a pension plan that was terminated and placed under PBGC control, according to a PBGC response to an inquiry by Reps. Edward Markey and George Miller released this week.
"PBGC is aware of one such firm but is unable to provide further information because of confidentiality requirements imposed as a condition of its access to this nonpublic information," Bradley D. Belt wrote in a letter to the two congressmen in May while he was PBGC executive director. He left the agency on May 31.
"There is not necessarily a connection between the failure to disclose conflicts of interest as found by the SEC and resulting harm to a pension plan," Mr. Belt noted in the letter.
Messrs. Markey and Miller asked the agency in May to provide information on Wilshire Associates' consulting work for the PBGC and any terminated pension plans now under PBGC control. The request was made after Wilshire was subpoenaed by the Labor Department as part of its investigation into possible pension consultant conflicts of interest,
"Wilshire has never served as a pension consultant to any pension plan that has terminated," Kim M. Shepherd, Wilshire managing director, said in a statement. "All Wilshire consulting clients receive a ‘conflicts check report' on at least an annual basis.
"Wilshire consultants act objectively and in the best interests of all clients at all times. It is the policy of Wilshire Associates that all recommendations concerning portfolio managers made to investment consulting clients are based solely on the best interests of the client."
Jeffrey Speicher, PBGC spokesman, said PBGC officials won't comment beyond confirming the letter.