employer plans: Valuation of benefits and assets; expected retirement age,

 
CONTENT

[Federal Register: November 30, 2001 (Volume 66, Number 231)]

[Rules and Regulations]

[Page 59694-59695]

From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]

[DOCID:fr30no01-14]

PENSION BENEFIT GUARANTY CORPORATION

29 CFR Part 4044

Allocation of Assets in Single-Employer Plans; Valuation of Benefits and Assets; Expected Retirement Age

AGENCY: Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation.

ACTION: Final rule.

SUMMARY: This rule amends the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation's regulation on Allocation of Assets in Single-Employer Plans by substituting a new table that applies to any plan being terminated either in a distress termination or involuntarily by the PBGC with a valuation date falling in 2002, and is used to determine expected retirement ages for plan participants. This table is needed in order to compute the value of early retirement benefits and, thus, the total value of benefits under the plan.

EFFECTIVE DATE: January 1, 2002.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Harold J. Ashner, Assistant General Counsel, Office of the General Counsel, Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, 1200 K Street, NW., Washington, DC 20005-4026; 202-326- 4024. (For TTY/TDD users, call the Federal relay service toll-free at 1-800-877-8339 and ask to be connected to 202-326-4024.)

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The PBGC's regulation on Allocation of Assets in Single-Employer Plans (29 CFR part 4044) sets forth (in subpart B) the methods for valuing plan benefits of terminating single- employer plans covered under Title IV of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974. Under ERISA section 4041(c), guaranteed benefits and benefit liabilities under a plan that is undergoing a distress termination must be valued in accordance with part 4044, subpart B. In addition, when the PBGC terminates an underfunded plan involuntarily pursuant to ERISA Section 4042(a), it uses the subpart B valuation rules to determine the amount of the plan's underfunding.

Under Sec. 4044.51(b), early retirement benefits are valued based on the annuity starting date, if a retirement date has been selected, or the expected retirement age, if the annuity starting date is not known on the valuation date. Sections 4044.55 through 4044.57 set forth rules for determining the expected retirement ages for plan participants entitled to early retirement benefits. Appendix D of part 4044 contains tables to be used in determining the expected early retirement ages.

Table I in appendix D (Selection of Retirement Rate Category) is used to determine whether a participant has a low, medium, or high probability of retiring early. The determination is based on the year a participant would reach ``unreduced retirement age'' (i.e., the earlier of the normal retirement age or the age at which an unreduced benefit is first payable) and the participant's monthly benefit at unreduced retirement age. The table applies only to plans with valuation dates in the current year and is updated annually by the PBGC to reflect changes in the cost of living, etc.

Tables II-A, II-B, and II-C (Expected Retirement Ages for Individuals in the Low, Medium, and High Categories respectively) are used to determine the expected retirement age after the probability of early retirement has been determined using Table I. These tables establish, by probability category, the expected retirement age based on both the earliest age a participant could retire under the plan and the unreduced retirement age. This expected retirement age is used to compute the value of the early retirement benefit and, thus, the total value of benefits under the plan.

This document amends appendix D to replace Table I-01with Table I- 02 in order to provide an updated correlation, appropriate for calendar year 2002, between the amount of a participant's benefit and the probability that the participant will elect early retirement. Table I- 02 will be used to value benefits in plans with valuation dates during calendar year 2002.

The PBGC has determined that notice of and public comment on this rule are impracticable and contrary to the public interest. Plan administrators need to be able to estimate accurately the value of plan benefits as early as possible before initiating the termination process. For that purpose, if a plan has a valuation date in 2002, the plan administrator needs the updated table being promulgated in this rule. Accordingly, the public interest is best served by

[[Page 59695]]

issuing this table expeditiously, without an opportunity for notice and comment, to allow as much time as possible to estimate the value of plan benefits with the proper table for plans with valuation dates in early 2002.

The PBGC has determined that this action is not a ``significant regulatory action'' under the criteria set forth in Executive Order 12866.

Because no general notice of proposed rulemaking is required for this regulation, the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 does not apply (5 U.S.C. 601(2)).

List of Subjects in 29 CFR Part 4044

Pension insurance, Pensions.

In consideration of the foregoing, 29 CFR part 4044 is amended as follows:

PART 4044--[AMENDED]

  1. The authority citation for part 4044 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 29 U.S.C. 1301(a), 1302(b)(3), 1341, 1344, 1362.

  2. Appendix D to part 4044 is amended by removing Table I-01and adding in its place Table I-02 to read as follows:

    Appendix D to Part 4044--Tables Used to Determine Expected Retirement Age

    Table I-02--Selection of Retirement Rate Category [For Plans with valuation dates after December 31, 2001, and before January 1, 2003]

    Participant's retirement rate category is--

    Medium \2\ if monthly benefit at URA High \3\ if Participant reaches URA in year-- Low \1\ if

    is

    monthly benefit monthly benefit -------------------------------------- at URA is greater at URA is less

    From

    To

    than--

    than---------------------------------------------------------------- 2003................................

    458

    458

    1,936

    1,936 2004................................

    471

    471

    1,988

    1,988 2005................................

    483

    483

    2,042

    2,042 2006................................

    497

    497

    2,097

    2,097 2007................................

    510

    510

    2,154

    2,154 2008................................

    524

    524

    2,212

    2,212 2009................................

    538

    538

    2,272

    2,272 2010................................

    552

    552

    2,333

    2,333 2011................................

    567

    567

    2,396

    2,396 2012 or later.......................

    583

    583

    2,461

    2,461

    \1\ Table II-A. \2\ Table II-B. \3\ Table II-C.

    * * * * *

    Issued in Washington, DC, this 26th day of November, 2001. Hazel Broadnax, Acting Executive Director, Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation.

    [FR Doc. 01-29764Filed11-29-01; 8:45 am]

    BILLING CODE 7708-01-P