New PGIM podcast explores origins, evolution and future of U.S. retirement system

NEWARK, N.J.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Feb 24, 2021–
How did employers become responsible for the retirement security of American workers, and is this system working? A new podcast from PGIM, the $1.5 trillion global asset management business of Prudential Financial, Inc. ( NYSE: PRU ) explores the history, evolution and future of employer-based retirement plans, including the 401(k), through the eyes of their creators—providing unparalleled insight into an imperfect system that works for many, but not all.
This press release features multimedia. View the full release here:
Josh Cohen, Head of Institutional Defined Contribution, PGIM (Photo: Business Wire)
In The Accidental Plan Sponsor TM, Josh Cohen, PGIM’s head of institutional defined contribution, brings together experts from around the globe to share their personal stories about the events that led to employers assuming their role as plan sponsors, and evaluate how the current system is working. Despite the many benefits of today’s system, a tension still exists between a public policy interest of having a population that is financially secure in retirement and employers trying to solve a business and workplace management issue.
"The 401(k) went from being this nascent idea, trying to find its place among pension and various workplace savings plans, to the bedrock of the employer-based retirement system,” said Cohen. “In my 25 years’ experience working with plan sponsors, it’s clear that while there are many good aspects of the current system, many employers find themselves struggling at times to solve for the retirement needs of their workers. My goal in launching this podcast is to explore whether there is a better way forward, by building on our current system or evolving toward a new one.”
Throughout the series, Cohen brings the events leading up to ERISA and the 401(k) to life through interviews with experts including:

  • Frank Cummings, lawyer, professor and former chief of staff to U.S. senator Jacob K. Javits during the development of ERISA
  • Ted Benna, the unofficial “father of the 401(k)”
  • Lori Lucas, president and CEO of the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI)
  • Lew Minsky, president and CEO of the Defined Contribution Institutional Investment Association (DCIIA)

Cohen added, “Throughout the years, I’ve read about Otto von Bismarck and the Studebaker collapse, but what amazes me is that when you peel back the layers and hear the stories firsthand from people who were influential in shaping our retirement system today, you really start to understand how deeply the system is interwoven with American history.”
Future episodes in the series, released biweekly, will dive deeper into the key players and motivators within the retirement industry; how other countries structure their retirement systems and the role of the employer outside of the U.S.; proposals to restructuring the system; and ways employers can implement effective solutions today.
Subscribe and listen to The Accidental Plan Sponsor on your preferred streaming service: Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts.
PGIM, the global asset management business of Prudential Financial, Inc. ( NYSE: PRU ), ranks among the top 10 largest asset managers in the world 1 with $1.5 trillion in assets under management as of Dec. 31, 2020. With offices in 16 countries, PGIM’s businesses offer a range of investment solutions for retail and institutional investors around the world across a broad range of asset classes, including public fixed income, private fixed income, fundamental equity, quantitative equity, real estate and alternatives. For more information about PGIM, visit
Prudential Financial, Inc. (PFI) of the United States is not affiliated in any manner with Prudential plc, incorporated in the United Kingdom or with Prudential Assurance Company, a subsidiary of M&G plc, incorporated in the United Kingdom. For more information please visit

1 Prudential Financial, Inc. (PFI) is the 10th largest investment manager (out of 527 firms surveyed) in terms of global assets under management based on Pensions & Investments’ Top Money Managers list published on June 1, 2020. This ranking represents global assets under management by PFI as of March 31, 2020.
PGIM does not establish or operate pension plans.

View source version on
CONTACT: Kylie Scott
+1 973-902-2503
Copyright Business Wire 2021.
PUB: 02/24/2021 08:15 AM/DISC: 02/24/2021 08:15 AM