The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. needs to listen more to plan executives and participants instead of taking an adversarial approach, the agency’s participant and plan sponsor advocate said in a report issued Wednesday.
Constance Donovan, who was named to the new position in October, noted four areas for improvement identified by constituents: better communication; a more transparent process; greater interdepartmental coordination; “and perhaps most importantly,” the perception of a “growing and overreaching adversarial approach by PBGC.”
“This damaging and adversarial perception of PBGC held by plan sponsors is an area of great opportunity for PBGC to grow, if we can establish a partnership with the plan sponsors we serve,” said Ms. Donovan. “We need to listen and adjust more based on what we hear.”
If that can be accomplished, “then many of the substantive issues raised (in the report) here would be resolved in a way that promotes a healthy private pension system and a financially sound PBGC.”
Other priorities she identified for the plan sponsor community are reforming the process for dealing with facility shutdowns; better communication about agency calculations, specific to how they get their numbers; and procedures for premium penalties.
Ms. Donovan added that “my efforts at outreach are far from over.”