The tentative budget deal reached between the Obama White Houseand Congressional Republicans would slap on new and significantincreases to the premiums sponsors of defined benefit plans pay to thePension Benefit Guaranty Corp.

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Just yesterday, PBGC published rate hikes for planyears beginning in 2016. The agency did not include the increasesproposed in the budget deal.

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The per-participant amount for the flat-rate premium was raisedto $64 for next year, up from $57 in 2015. The variable rate wasraised to $30 per $1,000 of unfunded liabilities, up from $24 in2015.

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The new budget accelerates further increases, which have alreadynearly doubled in the past five years for single-employerplans.

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For plans beginning in 2017, the per-participant flat rate jumpsto $68.

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The year after it increases to $73, and for plans beginning in2019 it increases to $78.

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The variable rate will be incrementally increased to $38 per$1,000 of unfunded liabilities by 2019.

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Read: PBGC proposes limiting filing waivers forunderfunded plans

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“There is no good reason for Congress to go back to the sameplace to raise revenue and encourage more plan sponsors to de-risktheir pension plans, which is exactly what these new increases willdo,” said Alan Glickstein, senior retirement consultant at TowersWatson.

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Glickstein said it is unclear whether or not restrictions willbe placed on how the new revenue will be spent, but that it iscounted as incremental revenue that will offset other spendingunrelated to the country’s retirement policy.

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This of course is not the first time Congress has levied premiumincreases to raise money for the federal budget.

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And that’s exactly the problem, said Glickstein.

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“These are very large increases, which have already been hikedseveral times in the past few years. It means more uncertainty forsponsors, and that is not good for the country’s retirement incomesecurity issues,” he said.

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Not only will the increases add further momentum to what isalready an increasingly heated de-risking trend, but it willdiscourage the formation of new defined benefit plans, whichGlickstein says still can be the right retirement option for manybusinesses.

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He fears the deal struck between the White House and Congressindicates a “lack of awareness” of the existing pressures alreadymotivating sponsors to de-risk pension plans.

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Increasing rates of de-risking may have the negative affect ofincreasing liability with PBGC’s single-plan insurance program; asmore plans move pension liabilities to insurance companies, fewerare available to pay into the premium pool.

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The new rate increases proposed in the budget deal areparticularly confounding to sponsors, said Glickstein, given theimproved status of PBGC’s single-plan program of late.

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Recent estimates show the program’s 2014 funding deficit of$19.3 billion is expected to shrink to $4.9 billion by2024—a $3 billion improvement from estimates made justlast year.

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That improvement is largely explained by recent premiumincreases. In 2014, sponsors paid $3.8 billion in premiums, up from$2.9 billion in 2013 and a record in payments to theagency.

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“This isn’t pension policy. It’s a corporate tax,” saidGlickstein. “I would hope PBGC is being forthright about theimproved funding status with the single-employer program. It shouldbe among the loudest voices defending the country’s pensionsystem.”

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Glickstein said he doesn’t expect material changes to the budgetdeal, and that it will be brought to a vote quickly. Lawmakers willreportedly consider the budget deal on the floor of the House ofRepresentatives today.

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A new survey from MetLife, which already manages $38 billion inde-risked pension liabilities, shows sponsors consider premiumincreases to PBGC as the top catalyst for considering de-riskingpension plans.

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That data was gleaned before the announcement of further rateincreases packaged in the budget deal.

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Wayne Daniel, vice president, U.S. pensions in MetLife’scorporate benefit funding division, said the new rate hikes willundoubtedly increase sponsors’ demand to de-risk, in what isalready a “buoyant market.”

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“The current budget deal will put further pressure on sponsorsto de-risk,” thinks Daniel, who said U.S. sponsors have about $3trillion in combined pension promises. About 5 percent of that hasalready been de-risked.

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Sales of pension buyouts totaled $3.8 billion inthe second quarter of 2015, a record for that period,according to the LIMRA Secure Retirement Institute.

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All told, there were 62 buyout deals last quarter. The recordsecond quarter sales is notable because the sales cycle for pensionbuyouts tends to be seasonal, with most activity occurring in thefourth quarter.

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Daniel said he expects industry sales to be between $5 billionand $10 billion in the coming years.

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Nick Thornton

Nick Thornton is a financial writer covering retirement and health care issues for BenefitsPRO and ALM Media. He greatly enjoys learning from the vast minds in the legal, academic, advisory and money management communities when covering the retirement space. He's also written on international marketing trends, financial institution risk management, defense and energy issues, the restaurant industry in New York City, surfing, cigars, rum, travel, and fishing. When not writing, he's pushing into some land or water.