[Federal Register: April 1, 2011 (Volume 76, Number 63)]
[Proposed Rules]               
[Page 18134-18136]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



29 CFR Chapter XL

Reducing Regulatory Burden; Review Under E.O. 13563

AGENCY: Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation.

ACTION: Request for comments.


SUMMARY: The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) is reviewing 
its regulations in response to the President's Executive Order 13563 on 
Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review. The purpose of this review 
is to make PBGC's regulatory program both more effective and less 
burdensome. We are starting by identifying regulations for possible 
modification, streamlining, or repeal, which will be incorporated into 
a preliminary regulatory review plan. For now, we are asking the public 
for ideas and information--to suggest candidate regulations for review, 
alternative approaches, etc.--to help prepare the preliminary plan. 
There will be additional opportunities for public comment after the 
preliminary plan is developed and approved.

DATES: PBGC requests that written comments and information on 
developing the preliminary plan be submitted by April 20, 2011. PBGC 
will take into consideration comments received after that date to the 
extent feasible.

(klion.catherine@pbgc.gov), or Daniel S. Liebman, Attorney, 
(liebman.daniel@pbgc.gov), Regulatory and Policy Division, Legislative 
and Regulatory Department, Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, 1200 K 
Street, NW., Washington, DC 20005, 202-326-4024. (TTY/TDD users may 
call the Federal relay service toll-free at 1-800-877-8339 and ask to 
be connected to 202-326-4024.)

ADDRESSES: Comments, identified by ``Regulatory Review'', may be 
submitted by any of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. 
Follow the web site instructions for submitting comments.
     E-mail: reg.comments@pbgc.gov.
     Fax: 202-326-4224.
     Mail or Hand Delivery: Legislative and Regulatory 
Department, Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, 1200 K Street, NW., 
Washington, DC 20005-4026.
    Comments received, including personal information provided, will be 
posted to http://www.pbgc.gov. Copies

[[Page 18135]]

of comments may also be obtained by writing to Disclosure Division, 
Office of the General Counsel, Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, 
1200 K Street, NW., Washington DC 20005-4026, or calling 202-326-4040 
during normal business hours. (TTY and TDD users may call the Federal 
relay service toll-free at 1-800-877-8339 and ask to be connected to 

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: PBGC protects the pensions of about 44 
million people in about 29,000 private defined benefit plans. PBGC 
receives no funds from general tax revenues. Operations are financed by 
insurance premiums, investment income, assets from pension plans 
trusteed by PBGC, and recoveries from the companies formerly 
responsible for the trusteed plans.
    To carry out these functions, PBGC issues regulations interpreting 
such matters as the termination process for defined benefit plans, 
establishment of procedures for premium payments, reporting and 
disclosure, and assessment and collection of employer liability. 
Regulatory objectives and priorities are developed in the context of 
PBGC's statutory purposes:
     To encourage voluntary private pension plans;
     To provide for the timely and uninterrupted payment of 
pension benefits; and
     To keep premiums at the lowest possible levels.
    PBGC's intent is to issue regulations that implement the law in 
ways that do not impede the maintenance of existing defined benefit 
plans or the establishment of new plans. PBGC attempts to minimize 
administrative burdens on plans and participants, improve transparency, 
simplify filing, provide relief for small businesses, and assist plans 
to comply with applicable requirements. PBGC is committed to issuing 
simple, understandable, and timely regulations to help affected 
    On January 18, 2011, the President issued Executive Order 13563, 
``Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review,'' to ensure that Federal 
regulations seek more affordable, less intrusive means to achieve 
policy goals, and that agencies give careful consideration to the 
benefits and costs of those regulations. Among other things, the 
Executive Order directed agencies to develop and submit a preliminary 
plan within 120 days that will explain how they will periodically 
review existing significant regulations to identify any regulations 
that can be made more effective or less burdensome in achieving 
regulatory objectives. In the spirit of the Executive Order, PBGC is 
applying the retrospective review to all of PBGC's existing regulations 
(not only significant regulations).
    PBGC is taking several immediate steps to launch this review of 
existing regulatory requirements. Consistent with its commitment to 
public participation, PBGC is soliciting views from the public on how 
best to conduct its analysis of existing PBGC regulations and how best 
to identify those regulations that might be modified, streamlined, 
expanded or repealed. PBGC promulgates regulations in accordance with 
applicable laws and based on best available information, analyses of 
different alternatives for agency action, and public participation and 
input. However, important information as to the consequences of a 
regulation, including its costs and benefits, comes from practical, 
real-world experience (both on the part of the public and on the part 
of the agency) after the regulation has been implemented. Regulated 
entities and members of the public affected by or interested in PBGC's 
regulations are likely to have useful information and perspectives on 
the benefits and burdens of existing regulatory requirements in light 
of experience since the regulations were issued. Interested parties may 
also be well-positioned to identify those rules that are most in need 
of review. PBGC would find such input helpful as it considers how to 
prioritize and properly tailor its retrospective review process for 
PBGC's regulations. In short, engaging the public in an open, 
transparent process is a crucial step in PBGC's review of its existing 
    Although PBGC expects to eliminate regulations that are no longer 
warranted, PBGC will also consider strengthening, complementing, or 
modernizing regulations where necessary or appropriate--including, as 
relevant, undertaking new rulemakings. PBGC reminds the public that 
this review is for existing regulations and not proposed regulations 
and asks the public not to use this process to submit comments on 
proposed rules.
    PBGC intends for its preliminary plan to include an initial list of 
candidate regulations for retrospective review.

Questions for the Public

    Below is a list of preliminary questions, the answers to which will 
assist PBGC in its efforts to develop a preliminary plan for the 
retrospective review of its existing regulations and to identify those 
regulations that may benefit from a retrospective review. In addressing 
these questions, commenters should identify, with specificity, the 
regulation at issue, providing the Code of Federal Regulation (CFR) 
cite where available. PBGC also requests that commenters provide, in as 
much detail as possible, an explanation why they believe a regulation 
should be modified, streamlined, expanded, or repealed, as well as 
specific suggestions of ways PBGC can better achieve its regulatory 
objectives. Particularly where comments relate to a rule's costs or 
benefits, comments will be most useful if there are data and experience 
under the rule available to ascertain the rule's actual impact. 
Commenters might also address how PBGC can best obtain and consider 
accurate, objective information and data about the costs, burdens, and 
benefits of existing regulations and whether there are existing sources 
of data that PBGC can use to evaluate the effects of its regulations 
over time.
    PBGC encourages the public to emphasize those rules that have been 
in effect for a sufficient amount of time to warrant a fair evaluation.
    In providing comments, please keep these key considerations in 
     Retrospective review does not allow PBGC to contravene 
requirements of its various statutory mandates. In addition, where 
PBGC's discretion has been limited by law, PBGC's ability to modify, 
streamline, expand, or repeal regulations is similarly constrained.
     PBGC's plan will be tailored to reflect PBGC's resources, 
rulemaking history, and the volume of regulations at issue.
    These questions are not intended to be exhaustive. Commenters may 
raise other issues or make suggestions unrelated to these questions 
that they believe would help PBGC develop better regulations.
    (1) How can PBGC identify those rules that can and should be 
changed, streamlined, consolidated, or removed? What factors should 
PBGC consider in selecting and prioritizing rules for review? PBGC 
encourages those submitting comments to include a proposed process 
under which such a review could be regularly undertaken.
    (2) Does PBGC have rules or guidance that are duplicative or that 
have conflicting requirements with other agencies? Does PBGC currently 
collect information that it does not need or use effectively to achieve 
regulatory objectives?
    (3) Are there regulations that have become unnecessary and can be 
withdrawn without impairing PBGC's regulatory programs?

[[Page 18136]]

    (4) Are there rules that are ineffective and if so, how can they be 
made effective?
    (5) Are there rules that are not tailored to impose the least 
burden on the public? What are some suggestions that PBGC can use to 
reduce the burden on such rules as well as suggestions that generally 
assure that PBGC's regulations promote and achieve its mission in ways 
that are efficient and less burdensome?
    (6) Are there rules that have become outdated and, if so, how can 
they be modernized to better accomplish their regulatory objectives?
    (7) Are there rules that are still necessary, but which have not 
operated as well as expected such that a modified, stronger, or 
slightly different approach is justified?
    (8) Are there regulations, or regulatory processes that are 
unnecessarily complicated or could be streamlined to achieve regulatory 
objectives more efficiently?
    (9) Are there any technological developments that can be leveraged 
to modify, streamline, or repeal any existing regulatory requirements?
    (10) How can PBGC best obtain and consider accurate, objective 
information and data about the costs, burdens, and benefits of existing 
regulations? Are there existing sources of data PBGC can use to 
evaluate the effects of regulations over time?
    (11) Are there regulations that are working well that can be 
expanded or used as a model to fill gaps in other PBGC regulatory 
    PBGC notes that this Request for Comment is issued solely for 
information and program-planning purposes. The agency will give careful 
consideration to the responses, and may use them as appropriate during 
the retrospective review, but does not anticipate providing a response 
to each comment submitted. However, all submissions will be made 
publically available on http://www.regulations.gov. Responses to this 
Request for Comment do not bind PBGC to any further actions related to 
the response.

    Issued in Washington, DC, on this 29th day of March 2011.
Joshua Gotbaum,
Director, Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation.
[FR Doc. 2011-7805 Filed 3-31-11; 8:45 am]