General Motors Co. and Verizon Communications made pension history last year when they transferred a collective $36 billion of liabilities to Prudential Financial. Caitlin Long, New Yorkbased head of corporate strategies and pension solutions at Morgan Stanleys investment bank, advised both companies. Although smaller corporations had moved liabilities off their balance sheets before, the sheer size of the deals made the transfers much more difficult and changed the requirements. Long helped GM and Verizon understand the liabilities within their capital structures and determine the best pension funding strategies. This is a logical evolution of the history of corporate pension plans: that companies would pursue exits from their frozen funds in particular, says Long, who got involved well before consultants and independent fiduciaries did. It was just the GM pension team and a whiteboard, she recalls. Wyoming-raised Long, 44, who has a JD and a masters of public policy from Harvard University, started out in life insurance equity research at Credit Suisse Group, where she restructured pension subsidiary Winterthur Group for then-CEO John Mack in 2002. From 2003 to 2007 she worked with life insurers on risk management. In 2007, having become chief executive of Morgan Stanley, Mack saw that changes were coming to pensions and offered Long a position at the firm to focus on that business.
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