The U.S. Chamber of
Commerce is calling for a complete revamp of the Pension Benefit Guaranty
Corporation board of directors to include plan sponsors from company and
employers affected by the federal agency’s supervision.
The business group says in a new position
paper that the PBGC can better “ensure its ongoing viability” by implementing
an expanded board structure to include plan sponsors from small and large
businesses as well as sponsors from multiemployer plans.
Of late, a proposal to raise the PBGC’s premiums to $25 billion
over the next 10 years has been challenged by plan administrators that say the
increase will hurt competitive growth, jobs and the economy.
“To have plan sponsors be a part of the board,
we think would be critical in terms of having the people who are actually
impacted by what’s going on at the PBGC and who are running their own plans,”
says Aliya Wong, a policy expert for the Chamber.
In a statement to EBN, J. Jioni Palmer,
deputy chief policy officer for the agency, explains that it looks forward to
discussing these ideas with the Chamber.
“This is another example of the efforts people are making to
expand retirement security for workers and retirees,” Palmer says.
Currently, the PBGC board of directors includes Treasury
Secretary Jack Lew, Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzkeris and is chaired by
Thomas E. Perez, the Secretary of Labor.
Also, in October, the three-member board selected Constance
Donovan, formerly an attorney in the Office of the General Counsel at the
Department of the Treasury, as its “participant and plan sponsor advocate.” Her
duties include serving as a liaison for plan sponsors and participants, as well
as resolving disputes between the agency and its customers, the agency said.
Meanwhile, Donovan should also be helping
to resolve plan sponsor concerns when employer pension plans experience
trouble, according to the Chamber’s paper.
“In general, we would like see the scope of the PBGC broaden in
terms of how they look at saving the system,” Wong tells EBN.
“It’s not just being there in terms of plans that have gone bankrupt, but also
looking at how to help plan sponsors to continue to maintain plans.”
Now, after numerous meetings with its employee benefits
committee over a multi-year period, the business federation recommends that
written governance procedures should be adopted that can help foster
transparency in dealing with how the PBGC makes decisions and calculates its
deficit. At the close of 2013, the agency reported a $36 billion
for the original article from Employee Benefit Adviser.