Benefits

New PBGC Web Page Provides Guidance for Common DB Plan Questions

The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. (PBGC) on July 25 launched a web page that compiles staff responses to questions from practitioners about Employee Retirement Income Savings Act (ERISA) Title IV requirements that may be of interest to other practitioners.

ERISA

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The questions, responses, and examples cover issues such as bankruptcy claims, liens arising from large missed contributions, guaranteed benefits, premiums, distress terminations, and reportable events, among other topics.

Also included is a response to a question received several times in recent months about whether a 2-step transaction, sometimes called a “reverse spinoff,” is an acceptable strategy for avoiding certain premium payments.

Title IV outlines ERISA’s plan termination insurance program covering defined benefit (DB) pension plans.

Not Rules or Regulations

The interpretations posted on the new PBGC page reflect the views of agency staff but are not rules, regulations, or statements of the agency, the page states.

As such, the positions do not necessarily contain a discussion of all considerations necessary to reach the conclusions stated, and are not binding due to their informal nature, PBGC said. The responses are intended as general guidance and should not be relied on as definitive. In addition, the agency said, there can be no assurance that the information presented in the interpretations is current, as the positions expressed may change without notice.

PBGC said it intends to update the Q&A web page periodically, as additional questions arise.

PBGC runs two separate pension insurance programs: single-employer and multiemployer. The agency is responsible for the current and future benefits of about 1.5 million people in failed pension plans. Its operations are financed by insurance premiums, investment income, and assets and recoveries from failed single-employer plans.