[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 120 (Friday, June 21, 2013)]
[Pages 37598-37599]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [http://www.gpo.gov/]
[FR Doc No: 2013-14834]



Missing Participants in Individual Account Plans

AGENCY: Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation.

ACTION: Request for information.


SUMMARY: PBGC is soliciting information from the public to assist it in 
making decisions about implementing a new program to deal with benefits 
of missing participants in terminating individual account plans. PBGC 
is interested in stakeholders' views on topics such as the extent of 
the demand for such a program, the demand for a database of missing 
participants, the availability of private-sector missing participant 
services, potential program costs and fees, electronic filing, and the 
contours of diligent search requirements.

DATES: Comments must be received on or before August 20, 2013.

ADDRESSES: Comments may be submitted by any of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov/. Follow 
the Web site instructions for submitting comments.
     Email: reg.comments@pbgc.gov.
     Fax: 202-326-4220.
     Mail or Hand Delivery: Office of the General Counsel, 
Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, 1200 K Street NW., Washington, DC 

Comments received, including personal information provided, will be 
posted to http://www.pbgc.gov/. Copies 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 202-326-4040.)

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Catherine B. Klion, Assistant General 
Counsel, Office of the General Counsel, Pension Benefit Guaranty 
Corporation, Suite 12300, 1200 K Street NW., Washington, DC 20005-4026, 
klion.catherine@pbgc.gov or 202-326-4024. (For TTY-TTD users, call the 
Federal relay service toll-free at 1-800-877-8339 and ask to be 
connected to 202-326-4024.)

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Before the Pension Protection Act of 2006, 
section 4050 of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) 
required the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) to operate 
(and pension plans to use) a missing participants program limited to 
single-employer plans covered by title IV of ERISA. The Pension 
Protection Act of 2006 amended section 4050 to provide for a similar 
mandatory program for covered multiemployer plans and an optional 
program for non-covered plans, both individual account plans (defined 
contribution plans) \1\ and defined benefit plans not covered by title 
IV. It also authorized PBGC to require non-covered plans to submit 
information to PBGC about missing participants' benefits.

    \1\ ERISA section 3(34) defines both ``individual account plan'' 
and ``defined contribution plan'' as ``a pension plan which provides 
for an individual account for each participant and for benefits 
based solely upon the amount contributed to the participant's 
account, and any income, expenses, gains and losses, and any 
forfeitures of accounts of other participants which may be allocated 
to such participant's account.''

    Before making decisions about implementing a missing participants 
program for terminating individual account plans (which represent the 
vast majority of non-covered plans), PBGC requires an understanding of 
the demand for such a program and how that demand might be affected by 
fees, minimum benefit requirements, and information requirements, 
measured against private providers of similar services.
    PBGC has made some efforts to conduct research in this area by 
contacting financial institutions, plan recordkeeping service 

[[Page 37599]]

companies that provide benefit processing services, and sponsors of 
terminated individual account plans, but found it difficult to draw 
useful conclusions from these contacts. In addition, PBGC wants input 
reflecting participant interests. Accordingly PBGC is issuing this 
request for information.\2\

    \2\ PBGC is developing amendments to its current missing 
participants regulation (29 CFR part 4050) to implement the 
mandatory multiemployer program and to improve the existing single-
employer program, regardless of what decisions are made about the 
optional programs for non-covered plans.

Request for Information

    PBGC is soliciting information from the public on issues related to 
missing participants in terminating individual account plans. PBGC 
seeks comments on any and all relevant issues, including the following:
     For pension consultants: Among individual account plans 
that you are familiar with, what proportion has participants they 
cannot find? Among such plans, what is the average number of 
participants the plan cannot find? In your experience, what is the 
average account balance, and what is the range of account balances, for 
participants that cannot be found?
     What if any services for missing participants in 
individual account plans are unavailable in the competitive private 
marketplace (for example, handling very small benefits or QJSA 
benefits)? Why are they unavailable (for example, because it is not 
cost-effective to provide them)?
     If PBGC provided services for missing participants' 
accounts in terminating individual account plans that were comparable 
to the services provided by the private sector and charged comparable 
fees, would you be likely to choose the PBGC program or the private 
sector program and why? Would it make a difference if PBGC provided a 
narrower range of services than typical private-sector providers?
     How would individual account plans' choice to use a PBGC 
missing participants program for such plans--rather than a private-
sector service--be affected by (1) The level of fees PBGC might charge, 
(2) the minimum benefit size PBGC might accept, (3) optional or 
mandatory electronic filing, and (4) other possible program features?
     What impact would a PBGC missing participants program for 
individual account plans have on private-sector benefit processing 
     How would you view the value (such as convenience and 
reliability) of a single database of missing participants' benefits in 
terminated individual account plans, maintained by PBGC, compared to 
the burden on plans to provide the data and the burden on PBGC to 
maintain the database? How would the comparison change if plan 
reporting of data were voluntary rather than mandatory, making the 
database less comprehensive? What information should be in the 
     ERISA section 4050(b)(2) defines a missing participant as 
``a participant or beneficiary under a terminating plan whom the plan 
administrator cannot locate after a diligent search.'' What ``diligent 
search'' requirements should apply for individual account plans? Should 
PBGC offer diligent search services for a fee or post on its Web site 
the names of private sector companies that provide diligent search 
     What special concerns do small plans or their sponsors or 
participants have regarding the treatment of missing participants in 
individual account plans?

In addressing these issues, to the extent possible, commenters are 
requested to provide quantitative as well as qualitative support or 
analysis where applicable.

    Issued in Washington, DC, this 17th day of June 2013.
Joshua Gotbaum,
Director, Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation.
[FR Doc. 2013-14834 Filed 6-20-13; 8:45 am]