Senator Murphy raises concern about growing role of Apollo and private equity in pension risk transfer market

EBSA nominee Lisa Gomez commits to work on the issue in the interests of workers and their families

On October 7, 2021, a confirmation hearing was held by the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions on the nomination of Lisa Gomez to head the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA), the agency of the U.S. Department of Labor responsible for enforcing ERISA.

Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut asked nominee Lisa Gomez about the growing role of private equity, led by Apollo Global Management, in the pension risk transfer market.

Watch the video below:


In his question, Senator Murphy said, “…Private equity firms, led by Apollo Global Management, essentially buy up the pension liabilities and transfer them into annuities. But these entities are seeking to profit off the spread of the investment returns and the benefits that are paid and they often end up moving the assets away from traditional, secure investments into much riskier investments.” He also raised the issue of the loss of uniform, federal protections for retirees after annuity buyouts, saying, “I have heard a lot of concern about this growing practice, about the risk that it puts many pension benefits in, especially since you lose ERISA and PBGC protection when they get moved into these annuities.” Murphy asked Gomez if she was familiar with the issue and if she would commit to working with members of the committee on it.

In response, nominee Lisa Gomez said, “I am familiar with the issue. I do think that as with everything, on every issue, I commit to support workers and their families and making sure that we are acting in their interests. I would look forward to working with you and other members of Congress as well as with the Department to look into this issue and see what needs to be done to make sure that we are working in the interests of these workers and their families.” 

JCPenney and Lockheed Martin retirees have sent hundreds of emails to members of Congress and state insurance commissioners after their pension plans announced annuity buyout transactions with Athene, an insurance company affiliated with Apollo.

If you are a participant in a JCPenney or Lockheed Martin pension plan, click the links below to find out more and get involved:

If you are a member of a different plan and would like to get involved, please send us a message: