What Should the PBGC Do? Your Input Welcome

By John Iekel • July 26, 2017 • 0 Comments

The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) is inviting comment on what regulatory — and deregulatory — actions it should take. The initiative supports the agency’s ongoing regulatory planning and active retrospective review of regulations and is a response to President Trump’s executive order on enforcing the regulatory reform agenda.

The PBGC on July 25 released a request for information (RFI) that appears in the Federal Register of Wednesday, July 26, 2017. The PBGC plans to use the input it receives in response to the RFI in preparing the autumn iteration of its semi-annual regulatory agenda.

Questions to Consider

The RFI includes questions to facilitate input that will help it to determine whether there are gaps in regulatory guidance where the public believes rulemaking would be beneficial, and help PBGC evaluate the continued effectiveness and usefulness of existing regulations.

The PBGC suggests that commenters:

  • clearly identify the regulation at issue, providing the Code of Federal Regulations
    (CFR) citation where available;

  • explain, in as much detail as possible, why they believe regulating in a specific
    area is necessary or beneficial, or why an existing rule may be outdated, unnecessary, or
    ineffective; and

  • describe the costs and benefits of taking a particular regulatory or deregulatory
    action and the data or experience on which the commenter bases a recommendation.

The specific questions the PBGC poses are as follows:
Are there areas where PBGC rulemaking or other guidance would clarify or ease the burden of certain statutory requirements on the public? Would tools such as regulatory safe harbors help plans and sponsors comply with applicable requirements, and if so, what areas particularly would benefit from safe harbors?

Are there challenges affecting the establishment and maintenance of pension plans or other aspects of the private pension plan system that should be addressed through rulemaking or other guidance?

Are there regulations PBGC should modernize that have become outdated? If so, what type of change (e.g., innovations in technology, business or actuarial practices, consumer (worker and retiree) needs) has caused the rules to become outdated? How would PBGC modernize such rules?

What, if any, technological developments would relieve the administrative burden of an existing regulation or existing information collection?

Are there regulations establishing programs or processes that have not operated as well as expected? If so, what specifically has not worked and why?

Are there regulations that are unnecessarily complicated which could be streamlined to achieve regulatory objectives more efficiently?

Does the PBGC have regulations or information collections (e.g., forms, reports, or notices) that are duplicative or that have conflicting requirements with other agencies, such as the Department of the Treasury, the IRS or the Department of Labor?

Does the PBGC ask for information in forms or on reports that may be stale, duplicative, or unnecessary to achieve a particular statutory purpose or regulatory objective? Are there
PBGC-required notices from plans to third parties (such as plan participants) that ask for or relay duplicative information?

Has the PBGC issued any significant guidance documents (e.g., technical updates, policy statements) that may be outdated, ineffective, or unnecessary to achieve a particular statutory purpose or regulatory objective?

Are there regulations that could be tailored to impose less burden on the public? If so, what could be alternative regulatory or other approaches to such rules?

Are there regulations that are unnecessary and could be repealed or replaced without impairing a PBGC program’s statutory purpose?

Are there PBGC regulations that eliminate jobs, or inhibit job creation?

Are there any other areas in which the PBGC could improve its regulations to better accomplish its mission?

Submitting Comments

The PBGC will accept comments through Aug. 25, 2017.

Comments, identified by “Regulatory Planning and Review,” may be submitted by any of the following methods:

  • the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the website
    instructions for submitting comments.

  • e-mail to: reg.comments@pbgc.gov. reg.

  • mail or hand delivery to: Regulatory Affairs Group, Office of the General Counsel, Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, 1200 K Street, NW, Washington, DC, 20005−4026.