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  #51  
Old 09-18-2014, 01:16 PM
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Mary Pat Campbell
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Thanks for the clarifications.

I will keep an eye out for the transcript later.
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  #52  
Old 09-24-2014, 03:04 PM
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I don't see a Q&A transcript up yet, but while we wait:
http://www.lifehealthpro.com/2014/09...925&page_all=1

Quote:
The Department of Labor recognizes two types of MEPs: “open” and “closed.”

A closed MEP is a consortium of businesses that constitute a “bona fide” group of employers — meaning the participating employers share a common industry or “nexus.”

Open MEPs are pooled plans by businesses that don’t share a common industry.

Because they don’t meet this standard, open MEPs don’t receive all of the benefits of pooling participants together. Namely, each participant in an open MEP has to file their own Form 5500, and conduct their own audit. Those costly and cumbersome responsibilities invariably expose individual employers of open MEPs to greater fiduciary risk as well — all things that discourage businesses from offering a plan in the first place.

All of the proposed reforms in Congress call for this regulation to be changed. Under the proposals, MEPs would be available to employers even if they don’t share a common nexus, and those MEPs would then have the full benefit of plans that do.

“You would definitely see an increase in the number of businesses sponsoring plans,” said Robert Alin, vice president and general counsel of Pentegra, a White Plains, New York-based retirement plan provider that sponsors open and closed MEPS.

In 2012, after the GAO published its study suggesting that regulatory inconsistencies, costs and liabilities were discouraging the vast majority of smaller employers from sponsoring plans, Alin and a team of lawyers representing the retirement services industry that was organized by the Groom Law Group met with the DOL.

Their plea? Remove the restriction that prohibits non-associated businesses from forming closed MEPs.

The DOL didn’t budge.

“I believe the DOL takes its responsibility to protect participants very seriously,” Alin explained. “They’re worried about abuse. And they’re worried about fraud.”

And Alin says with some good reason.

His theory on the DOL’s reluctance to make MEPs less restrictive stems from the regulator’s experience with multiple employer welfare associations.

According to the DOL’s website, MEWAs are pooled health plans between unrelated employers — they do not share an industry or nexus.

MEWAs are regulated by both the DOL and state insurance agencies. It’s that absence of uniform oversight that opened the door for fraud.

“The Department has devoted significant resources to investigating and litigating issues connected with abusive MEWAs created by unscrupulous promoters who sell the promise of inexpensive health benefit insurance, but default on their obligations,” the DOL says in a fact sheet on its website.

So, according to Alin’s theory, the DOL’s reluctance to relax the regulation of MEP retirement plans is related to the fraud seen in MEWAs. How much Congress is able to accomplish on this question remains unclear.

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  #53  
Old 09-24-2014, 06:00 PM
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Default SOA blog in re Ways and Means testimony

http://blog.soa.org/2014/09/18/morta...ans-committee/
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  #54  
Old 10-12-2014, 07:18 PM
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http://www.pionline.com/article/2014...utm_medium=rss

Quote:
The aggregate funded status of U.S. multiemployer pension plans rose to 81% in 2013, up nine percentage points from the end of 2012, said a new report from Milliman.

Strong investment performance, increased contributions and benefit reductions drove the funding increase, the report concluded. Milliman estimated that assets rose to $473 billion as of Dec. 31, 2013, up 14.3% from the year prior. Meanwhile, liabilities rose 2.5% to $585 billion.

The 2013 aggregate funded status was a “significant improvement” over early 2009, when it was below 70%; however, it has not yet returned to pre-2008 levels, the report found. Prior to the 2008 financial crisis, multiemployer pension plans were more than 85% funded, the report said.

Additionally, the report found that multiemployer plans achieved a median 86% funding ratio in 2013, still three percentage points below the pre-2008 level of 89%. The number of plans that are less than 80% funded also increased to 37% in 2013, up from 29% at the end of 2007.

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  #55  
Old 10-20-2014, 02:10 PM
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http://burypensions.wordpress.com/20...nion-pensions/

Quote:
Donald Trump and Carl Ichan do not want to pay into the Pension Plan of the National Retirement Fund from which employees of Trump Taj Mahal get their pension and health care benefits and a judge is with them while union representatives are taking it personally:
[video at link]
But examine the funded status of that plan and you will see that it’s just business and doing business with a union that sponsors a multiemployer plan these days is not healthy.

According to their last 5500 filing the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Int’l Union Local 54 Pension Fund had an RPA* funded ratio of 55.11% in 2007 which might have been the reason they moved into the Unite Here National Retirement Fund that year. According to the latest 5500 filing for that plan the RPA funded ratio dropped to 36.14%. and there are 19 pages of Schedule C Service Providers like actuaries, lawyers, and investment managers listed.

This plan is spiraling toward bankruptcy itself but remains far too lucrative for those Service Providers to give up the ghost so, based on my consulting experience with similar multiemployer plans, deals get struck to keep the money flowing and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC), deathly afraid of taking on more massive liabilities, out of it for as long as possible.

In this case Trump and Ichan are negotiating to keep their exposure down while the unions are posturing to keep them on the hook. I’m fairly sure that Trump and Ichan grasp the real situation while the union leadership likely does also. I’m almost positive that rank-and-file union members don’t and that will eventually be to their detriment.
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  #56  
Old 11-11-2014, 10:47 AM
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http://www.politico.com/story/2014/1...ms-112748.html

Quote:
First we had the fiscal cliff, then the highway cliff. Now get ready for the pension cliff.
The lame-duck session will determine the fate of so-called multi-employer pensions. With many of these plans skittering toward insolvency in the next decade, nervous employers want to get out while the getting is still good. Pension reform advocates fear that if Congress fails to intervene before the end of this year, employers will stampede out of the plans, costing the Treasury billions.

.....
The imminent retirement of two key congressional figures — Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R- Mich.) — doesn’t help. Rep. John Kline (R-Minn.), another point person on multi-employer pensions, is ending his term as chairman of the Education and the Workforce Committee.
“By the time their successors learn the ropes, it will likely be too late,” said Josh Gotbaum, former director the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation who is now at Brookings.
More than 10 million Americans are part of multi-employer plans. Though most common in the construction industry, the plans also cover many workers in the retail, manufacturing, mining, transportation and entertainment industries.

......
According to the PBGC, there are currently three million people in “red zone,” or severely distressed, multi-employer plans. These plans risk running out of funding within the next 20 years. While some of these plans will recover as the economy improves, 1.5 million people are in plans that will most likely fail. A string of multi-employer failures could trigger other companies to pull out, creating a tidal wave of pension bankruptcies.
In times past, the shared burden of multi-employer plans was their strength; if one company pulled out, plenty of others remained. But with many companies now contemplating an exit, this interdependence poses a hazard. The plans have “become a ticking time bomb,” Gotbaum said. “Unless Congress acts now, employers will rush for the door.”

.....
In 2011, NCCMP brought together 42 organizations representing business and labor to develop possible solutions to the multi-employer problem. Two years later NCCMP offered up a number of policy alternatives, most notably a proposal to cut benefits for current retirees that would require an amendment to the Employment Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). As currently written, ERISA prohibits cutting back on benefits that employees have already earned.

.....
But the proposed cuts create a political dilemma for union leaders and for Democrats in Congress, since neither wishes to be associated with cutting pension benefits. Although unions participated in the NCCMP’s discussions, some, like the Teamsters, have since spoken out against the proposed cuts. Teamsters President James Hoffa, in a letter to the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, said, “We cannot at this time support any proposal that would cut accrued benefits of participants, including cutting the pension benefits of current retirees in endangered plans.”
Ken Paff, national organizer for Teamsters for a Democratic Union, said an alternative would be to increase premiums to the PBGC and to have Congress provide financial backing to the agency.

.....
Some say benefit cuts will not be enough to save multi-employer plans headed for insolvency. Premiums to PBGC, they say, must also increase to ensure that the federal agency will be able to bail out failed multi-employer plans. In addition, some say the PBGC needs to have more money to take over “orphans” now instead of waiting for entire plans to collapse.
At present, the PBGC would only be able to furnish about $13,000 a year in benefits to a participant with 30 years of service. But increasing premiums also brings risk. If premiums are too high, employers might be pushed into leaving the multi-employer plans altogether.
Democrats and Republicans are considering these politically radioactive measures, Gotbaum says, because the alternative is much worse. “The alternative is that multi-employer plans will fail, and millions of people will have no pensions left at all.”


Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2014/1...#ixzz3Im8nZRV9
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  #57  
Old 11-25-2014, 08:58 AM
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https://www.uschamber.com/blog/time-...-pension-plans

Quote:
Employers who are part of multiemployer plans worry that if other companies in the plan go bankrupt, they’ll end up paying a greater share of retiree benefits—even for workers that never worked for them.

For example, bakers in one plan, faced this situation when Hostess when bankrupt in 2012.

In addition, some companies remaining in multiemployer plans are seeing estimates of their withdrawal liability—their share of unfunded benefits they would pay if they left the plan—be more than the worth of their companies.

Aliya Wong, Executive Director of Retirement Policy at the U.S. Chamber, wrote earlier this year:
Quote:
Without multiemployer reform, many employers – including many small, family-owned businesses – are in danger of bankruptcy. Without real reform to the multiemployer system and resolutions to the underlying problems, more employers will be forced into bankruptcy and more workers will be left without a secure retirement.
Rep. John Kline (R-MN), Chairman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce calls the current, unsustainable path of the multiemployer pension system, a “ticking time bomb” that will force businesses to close and put retirement security at risk.

The National Coordinating Committee for Multiemployer Plans (NCCMP), composed of labor and business leaders, developed a set of comprehensive reforms. Congress needs to act before it’s too late.

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  #58  
Old 11-25-2014, 11:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by campbell View Post
It's a death trap, it's a suicide rap
We got to get out while we're young
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  #59  
Old 11-25-2014, 12:05 PM
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The time bomb has been ticking for a while. Must be getting louder.
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  #60  
Old 12-04-2014, 11:19 PM
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Default Floyd Norris

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/05/bu...T.nav=top-news

Kind of one dimensional but written by a generalist.

Relies a lot on Alicia Munnell

Reflects need side of the equation with no real attention to much else -- e.g. resources.
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