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Issues at a Glance Archive

Issues at a Glance Archive

2016 - Participant and Plan Sponsor Issues at a Glance

The Advocate identified the following themes in the challenges participants and plan sponsors encounter with PBGC in the 2016 Annual Report.

  • Interactions with PBGC are adversarial and defensive, rather than collaborative and businesslike, in working toward a mutually agreeable resolution
  • There is a lack of transparency in working with PBGC to understand the corporation’s assumptions, resulting in costly and time-consuming interactions with the agency which can go on for months and even years
  • PBGC is unwilling to exercise judgment and discretion with participant claims and sponsor penalties, relying almost exclusively on automatic and mechanical-like approaches
  • PBGC demands documentation, costly analysis, and historical records that businesses, governmental entities, or participants rarely, if ever, retain

The Advocate also noted positive improvements including PBGC’s release of its proposed Missing Participants Regulation as well as a collaborative effort between PBGC and the Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration Chicago Regional Office to reunite participants with their missing participants. The Advocate also highlighted PBGC’s updates to its premium penalty rule which provide extraordinary relief for premium payers by reducing penalty rates for all plans and waiving most of the penalty for plans that meet a standard for good compliance.

For more information, including the Advocate’s comments and recommendations, visit the 2016 Annual Report

2015 - Plan Sponsor Issues at a Glance

The Advocate identified the following issues in the 2015 Annual Report. For more information, including the Advocate's comments and recommendations on these issues, visit the Report.

  • PBGC Must Improve Relations with Plan Sponsor
  • Premiums and Premium Penalties Need a Fresh Look
  • PBGC's Early Warning Program
  • Reportable Events Regulations

2015 - Plan Participant Issues at a Glance

The Advocate identified the following issues in the 2015 Annual Report. For more information, including the Advocate's comments and recommendations on these issues, visit the Report.

  • Complex Benefit Entitlement and Omitted Participant Cases
  • Multiemployer Pension Reform Act of 2014 (MPRA)
  • Consultation with the Participant Advocacy Groups and PBGC
  • Interagency Coordination and Participant Benefit Entitlements

2014 - Plan Sponsor Issues at a Glance

The Advocate identified the following issues in the 2014 Annual Report. For more information, including the Advocate's comments and recommendations on these issues, visit the Report.

  • Improvement of PBGC's working relationships with sponsors: There is a need for PBGC to shift to a less adversarial and more collegial partnership approach in working with the Plan Sponsor community.
  • ERISA section 4062(e): There are unresolved issues related to PBGC enforcement of ERISA section 4062(e).
  • Communicating PBGC's numbers: There is a need for a more substantive response from PBGC regarding certain financial information, such as how PBGC calculates its liabilities and how PBGC manages and invests its assets.
  • Premium penalties: There is a need for more exploration on the issues surrounding premium penalties.

2014 - Plan Participant Issues at a Glance

The Advocate identified the following issues in the 2014 Annual Report. For more information, including the Advocate's comments and recommendations on these issues, visit the Report.

  • Non-routine individual requests to PBGC for assistance: Although PBGC has defined processes for responding to participant calls about trusteed plan benefits, participant requests involving complicated or uncommon issues, including "woodwork" or "omitted" participants, may fall outside PBGC's customer service goals and present special challenges.
  • Frequent and continuing consultation with Participant organizations: Plan sponsor-based organizations meet regularly with PBGC senior officials and offer PBGC the opportunity to attend professional events and provide updates that address relevant issues. Although Participant organizations have contacts with PBGC and are able to arrange occasional meetings, there is a lack of a regularized, continued practice of communication among PBGC and the participant organizations.
  • Improved communication with Participant and Retiree organizations about PBGC's finances and operations: Participant and Retiree organizations are as engaged as sponsor organizations in discussions about PBGC's current financial strength, outlook for the future, premium needs, and more, and would prefer more information-sharing, more of an understanding of current data and trends, and less rapid movement to summary and conclusion.
  • Additional items for exploration: There are outstanding issues raised by participant and retiree organizations such as lump sum distributions from plans trusteed by PBGC, church plans, and guidance addressing issues generated by de-risking transactions.  
Last updated December 19, 2017