Pension Agency Scraps 2009 Proposal, Cuts Reporting Requirements

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce praised last week's move.

The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation on Aug. 3 announced a new proposal that scraps its 2009 proposal and will reduce reporting requirements for more than 90 percent of companies and pension plans. The move will exempt all small plans and the more than 70 percent of pension plans whose sponsors are financially sound from many requirements, and some reporting requirements such as bankruptcy filings will be eliminated because PBGC can get the information from other sources.

"One way we encourage companies to keep their pensions is by cutting unnecessary red tape," said PBGC Director Josh Gotbaum. "That's what we're doing here. Not only is it better for businesses and plans, it will let us focus our efforts where they're really needed."

Last fall, the agency announced similar changes in its enforcement policy for companies that downsized or engaged in other transactions that might affect plans.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce praised the new proposal for addressing the needs of company sponsors. "We appreciate the efforts of the PBGC in withdrawing the original proposal and working toward a rule that is less burdensome and more efficient," said Randy Johnson, the chamber's senior vice president of Labor, Immigration, and Employee Benefits. "Although we are still reviewing the proposed regulation in detail, we believe that it is a significant step in the right direction and an important indication from the PBGC that they are listening to plan sponsors."

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