Pension plan sponsors posing the greatest risk of defaulting will be the focus of new, “reportable events” rules from the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. expected Friday.
PBGC officials announced Thursday that they are taking a new approach to the once-controversial rules, which require plan sponsors to report to the PBGC any transactions or other corporate changes that could affect the plan.
Until now, the rules focused solely on plan funding levels.
The new rules would exempt roughly 94% of plan sponsors from reporting, agency officials estimate. Historically, just 4% of plans annually experienced an event and were required to report it.
The new rules allow for waivers for companies with a low risk of default, plans funded 100% or more, or public companies already reporting relevant events in SEC filings.
“This regulation helps us get the information we need and will reduce the burden for employers whose pension plans are not at risk,” said Acting Director Alice Maroni, in a statement. “We give companies flexibility to use information they have readily at hand to see if they are eligible for a waiver and need not report to us.”
For post-event reporting, the changes apply to events that occur on or after Jan. 1, 2016. For advance reporting, the changes apply to reports due on or after that date.
The final rule will be posted on the Federal Register.