Magazine

Rules/Regs | Published in December 2001

Bending The Rules

By Robert Stowe England | December 2001
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Quick regulatory relief helps employers and plan providers cope with fallout from terrorist attacks

Quick regulatory relief helps employers and plan providers cope with fallout from terrorist attacks

The worst terrorist incident in US history, leaving more than 5,000 dead in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania, has plan trustees and service providers struggling with a financial and recordkeeping nightmare. (EDITOR'S NOTE: Mid-December, the combined death toll stood at more than 3,000)

Happily, federal regulators have been doing their part to ease the administrative burden on plan sponsors. The Labor Department, Internal Revenue Service, and Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation have moved quickly to provide regulatory relief and guidance to both plan sponsors and participants affected by the attacks. Congress, too, is considering widening the geographic area within which plans are eligible for some regulatory relief, such as extensions on their deadlines to file Form 5500s and make PBGC premium payments (see "Deadlines," opposite).

Some 200 pension plans had participants in the offices that were destroyed by the attacks, according to DoL estimates. Cantor Fitzgerald and Keefe Bruyette & Woods were among the employers hardest hit. However, since the federally declared disaster area includes plans throughout the five boroughs of New York City as well as Arlington County, Virginia, the number of employers with plans eligible for relief would be in the thousands.

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