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U.S. Chamber Joins Launch of Pension Coalition

Wednesday, February 16, 2005 - 7:00pm

WASHINGTON, D.C. – At an inaugural meeting today at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the business community announced the formation of a broad, national coalition across industry sectors to advance retirement security through the voluntary, employer-sponsored plan system.

"In the face of an aging workforce and an international competitive environment, there are serious challenges facing the employer provided retirement system, particularly in the defined benefit area," said Randel K. Johnson, vice president of labor, immigration and employee benefits policy. "There is a difficult balance that must be struck and the solutions will be complex, but it is a balance we must achieve."

While the vested benefits of participants must continue to be protected under the law, funding rules and other mandates must not be so restrictive so as to drive employers away from providing pension benefits altogether.

The employer community now voluntarily provides and administers over 29,000 single employer defined benefit plans – covering 34.5 million participants; over 1,500 multiemployer plans – covering over 9.7 million participants; and over 800,000 defined contribution plans – covering over 60 million participants, according to the Chamber. The coalition will cover a range of retirement issues including pension funding reform, hybrid plans, multi-employer plans, defined contribution plans and pension accounting.

The Steering Committee for the Pension Coalition includes the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, American Benefits Council, The American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries, The American Trucking Association, Business Roundtable, The Committee on Investment of Employee Benefit Assets, The ERISA Industry Committee, The ESOP Association, Financial Executives International, The National Association of Manufacturers, and The Profit Sharing/401k Council of America.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world's largest business federation representing more than three million businesses and organizations of every size, sector and region.

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