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House passes amended bill that adds lifetime income measures, axes PBGC premium study

Updated with correction

The House of Representatives passed an amended bill Thursday that makes it easier for plan sponsors to offer lifetime income products.

The House passed the Family Savings Act 240-177 a day after the Rules Committee approved the amendments, which also remove a requirement to study premiums paid to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp.

The bill makes it easier for smaller employers to join open multiple employer plans and eases non-discrimination testing rules for plan sponsors. The House Ways and Means Committee passed the bill earlier this month.

The lifetime income provisions, which mirror those in a Senate retirement bill that offers a safe harbor for sponsors' annuity decisions, were welcomed by the Insured Retirement Institute. According to an IRI statement, less than 10% of workplace plans currently offer annuities, and 92% of plan sponsors want a "workable" annuity provider selection safe harbor.

Cathy Weatherford, IRI president and CEO, said her organization will continue to advocate for other provisions in the Senate package, including giving plan participants lifetime income projections, simplifying employers' Form 5500 filings, and enhancements to automatic enrollment and contribution escalation features.

The American Benefits Council welcomed the removal of the PBGC premium study, which would have considered higher premiums.

In a letter Thursday to House leaders, council President James Klein urged them to also consider conferencing with the Senate to include additional proposals in the Retirement Enhancement and Savings Act, including reduced Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. premiums paid by cooperatives and small charities that sponsor plans.