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Rule

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

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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Start Preamble

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 2003, 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, 2003.

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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. (TTY/TDD users may call the Federal relay service toll-free at 1-800-877-8339 and ask to be connected to 202-326-4024.)

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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 § 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-02 with Table I-03 in order to provide an updated correlation, appropriate for calendar year 2003, between the amount of a participant's benefit and the probability that the participant will elect early retirement. Table I-03 will be used to value benefits in plans with valuation dates during calendar year 2003.

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 2003, the plan administrator needs the updated table being promulgated in this rule. Accordingly, the public interest is best served by 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 2003.

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)).

Start List of Subjects

List of Subjects in 29 CFR Part 4044

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In consideration of the foregoing,

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PART 4044—[AMENDED]

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

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

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2. Appendix D to part 4044 is amended by removing Table I-02 and adding in its place Table I-03 to read as follows:

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Appendix D to Part 4044—Tables Used To Determine Expected Retirement Age Start Printed Page 71473

Table I-03.—Selection of Retirement Rate Category

[For plans with valuation dates after December 31, 2002, and before January 1, 2004]

Participant reaches URA in year—Participant's Retirement Rate Category is—
Low 1 if monthly benefit at URA is less than—Medium 2 if monthly benefit at URA isHigh 3 if monthly benefit at URA is greater than—
FromTo
20044654651,9651,965
20054764762,0102,010
20064874872,0592,059
20074994992,1082,108
20085115112,1592,159
20095235232,2102,210
20105355352,2612,261
20115475472,3132,313
20125605602,3662,366
2013 or later5735732,4212,421
1 Table II-A.
2 Table II-B.
3 Table II-C.
* * * * *
Start Signature

Issued in Washington, DC, this 25th day of November, 2002.

Joseph H. Grant,

Deputy Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer, Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation.

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[FR Doc. 02-30303 Filed 11-29-02; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 7708-01-P