October 22,2014

Press Contact:

Lindsey Held (Wyden): 202-224-4515
Harkin Press Office: 202-224-3254

Wyden, Harkin Ask Agencies to Review Impact of Pension De-risking Strategies for Current and Future Retirees

WASHINGTON - Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chairman Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, today sent a letter to the Departments of Treasury and Labor, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) requesting the federal government establish clear and specific rules to ensure current employees and retirees participating in defined benefit pension plans have their interests protected.

Some 44 million workers and retirees are covered by defined benefit pension plans. While some types of de-risking strategies may be warranted to mitigate future pension funding risks, pension plans are increasingly engaging in new forms of de-risking activity, such as off-loading risks and liabilities onto outside insurance companies or individuals through lump-sum buy outs. These strategies can pose risks to plan participants by removing vital federal protections and exposing individuals to the risks of managing a lump-sum on their own in retirement.

The chairmen urge the agencies to do whatever is necessary to ensure America’s current workers and retirees are adequately protected. 

The full letter is available here.