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  #831  
Old 04-07-2019, 06:35 PM
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Mary Pat Campbell
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BMW

https://www.ai-cio.com/news/bmw-free...rkers-dc-plan/

Quote:
BMW to Freeze US Pension Program, Shunt Workers into DC Plan
Decision to shift American workforce into a defined contribution plan comes amid dropping earnings at the carmaker.


Spoiler:
German automaker BMW is freezing its defined benefit plan for US workers and moving them into a defined contribution plan, the company confirmed.

The move, aimed at reducing BMW’s retirement obligations, will seal up the pension assets on June 30. The following day, all American workers at the auto manufacturer will be in the same retirement plan, a defined contribution program. Ex-DB enrollees will keep the benefits they have accrued, but will no longer be able to contribute anything toward them, as that will go to the DC.

“The BMW Group is committed to providing our associates with flexible, competitive, and meaningful benefits that add significant value to their compensation package,” the company said in a statement obtained by CIO. “Each year, we review our benefits and compare them to others within the BMW Group global network, the automotive industry, and top employers nationwide to ensure we have an attractive overall benefits offering.”

The big freeze was inevitable, as BMW had not allowed workers hired after March 1, 2012, to participate in the traditional retirement plan. The company’s UK division had frozen its pension assets in 2017, an indicator that obligations in the US would also be chilled eventually.

The company recently announced its expectations for a tougher year, and in 2018, saw its earnings before interest and taxes fall by 8%. BMW is embarking on an expensive quest to improve the technology within its vehicles, and to shift to electric and self-driving cars.

Current retirees will be unaffected by the situation.

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  #832  
Old 04-07-2019, 07:18 PM
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RENAULT
SCANDAL

https://www.stltoday.com/business/lo...757853603.html
Quote:
Renault scraps Ghosn's pension as scandal deepens
Spoiler:
PARIS • Renault blocked former chief executive Carlos Ghosn's pension on Wednesday, as the French carmaker said an internal probe had identified "questionable and concealed practices" by the fallen auto industry hero.

Renault, which had initially questioned alliance partner Nissan's accusations against Ghosn following his November arrest, also confirmed it had alerted prosecutors over suspect payments to a Middle Eastern distributor.

Ghosn is awaiting trial in Japan on charges that he failed to report $82 million in Nissan pay he had arranged to receive after retirement. He has also been indicted for temporarily transferring personal investment losses to Nissan and steering $14.7 million in company funds to a Saudi business associate.

The former Renault-Nissan boss has denied any wrongdoing.

Renault contacted French prosecutors late last week after uncovering millions of euros in payments described as dealer incentives to Omani distributor Suhail Bahwan Automobile (SBA), sources close to the company earlier told Reuters.

The file sent to prosecutors shows that much of the cash was then channeled to a Lebanese company controlled by Ghosn associates, the sources said. Nissan previously found that its own regional subsidiary made questionable payments of more than $30 million to SBA.

Renault said on Wednesday it had "informed the French judicial authorities of potential issues concerning payments made to one of Renault's distributors in the Middle East."

An internal investigation found "questionable and concealed practices and violations of the group's ethical principles," the company added. Its joint audit with 43.4 percent-owned partner Nissan is due to report final conclusions by the end of April.

Ghosn, credited with having revived both Renault and Nissan, was sacked by the Japanese firm within days of his arrest and was forced out as Renault chairman and CEO in January. In his resignation letter, he also notified the board that he was entitled to his pension, a person close to the company said.

"But his lawyers got it wrong," the source said after a board meeting on Wednesday.

Ghosn's resignation means he "is not entitled to any pension" from his defined-benefit plan worth 765,000 euros ($859,000) annually for life, Renault announced.

The company also recommended that shareholders block 224,000 euros in Ghosn's variable pay for 2018, and approved governance changes reducing the size of the board to 18 members from 20 after he formally exits as a director in June.

Renault previously axed Ghosn's 30 million euros in deferred and severance pay in the wake of his indictment.

The 65-year-old promised on Wednesday to "tell the truth" at a news conference next week, taking to Twitter to announce his first briefing since being released on bail.

Former Daimler executive Annette Winkler will join the board to replace Cherie Blair, the wife of British former prime minister Tony Blair, Renault said. She and director Philippe Lagayette are both stepping down in June.

($1 = 0.8901 euros)


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  #833  
Old 04-07-2019, 07:59 PM
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https://www.thinkadvisor.com/2019/04...&utm_term=tadv
Quote:
What to Know About the 2 Big Retirement Bills in Congress
A former Obama official sums up the biggest changes, which will likely be paid for by changing "stretch IRA" rules.
Spoiler:
The “most significant” changes included in the recently proposed SECURE Act and RESA bill fall into two buckets: efforts to get more small businesses to offer workplace retirement savings plans and changes to IRA rules, including on required minimum distributions, according to Elizabeth Kelly, the former special assistant to the president on the National Economic Council for the Obama administration.
Kelly, who is now senior vice president of operations at retirement planning firm United Income, told ThinkAdvisor in a Wednesday email message that both the Senate Finance Committee’s Retirement Enhancement and Savings Act (RESA) and the House Ways and Means Committee’s Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement, or SECURE, Act “would allow older Americans still in the workforce to continue making tax-deferred contributions to traditional IRAs after age 70.5, rather than just post-tax contributions to Roth IRAs and brokerages.”
While intended to help older Americans who are still working, Kelly said, “this is a small percentage of the population: 14.09% of people age 71-80 report being in the labor force,” citing the January 2019 Current Population Survey.
Both bills, Kelly points out, “would also raise revenue by requiring inheritors of 401(k) plan and IRA balances (with some exceptions, like spouses or minor children) to withdraw the entirety of the balance within 10 years of the account owner’s death.”
The SECURE Act passed the House Ways and Means Committee on Tuesday, and is said to be headed to the House floor soon. The Senate Finance Committee’s RESA bill was introduced Monday and no committee action is scheduled yet.
Indeed, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said on the Senate floor Wednesday that the RESA bill “is paid for,” with the main offsetting provision involving the “option under current law for a person to pass along his or her IRA or 401(k) account to a family member or other beneficiary.”

Under current law, Grassley said, “the recipient of that account can keep the inherited funds in the tax deferred account and save for their own retirement if they take out a required minimum distribution amount each year,” what’s often referred to as a stretch IRA.
“The bill maintains this savings option for people who inherit an IRA or retirement account, but it places a limit on how large an account can be inherited on a tax-protected basis. This is a common sense approach to encourage the next generation to save for retirement while ensuring that the changes in this bill are fiscally responsible,” Grassley said.
Former tax attorney Andy Friedman of The Washington Update told ThinkAdvisor on Friday that both the SECURE Act and the RESA bill include the stretch IRA provision. “The House version requires a maximum of 10-year payout,” Friedman said. “The Senate version allows a maximum $450K stretch. I would think the final bill incorporates one of them, but the stretch provision was dropped in committee last time, so one can’t be sure.”
Friedman said that the stretch IRA provision is likely the RESA bill’s “primary” revenue vehicle.
Open MEPs
The “primary mechanism” in the RESA bill is to allow small businesses “to band together and create so-called open multiple employer plans, rather than offering a plan alone or requiring a ‘common bond’ between employers as under current law,” Kelly explained.
“There is bipartisan agreement that open MEPs are a good way to increase small-business offering of retirement plans and get more workers to save,” Kelly continued, adding that President Barack Obama proposed open MEP legislation in his fiscal 2017 budget, and the Labor Department is working on similar regulations pursuant to President Donald Trump’s August executive order.
As it stands now, the SECURE Act does not include an open MEP provision, Kelly said, but both the SECURE Act and RESA “include another provision to encourage small businesses to offer retirement plans: a new tax credit of up to $500 per year to employers to defray startup costs for new plans that include automatic enrollment.”
The SECURE Act also includes another Obama budget proposal, Kelly points out, “that could expand access by enabling long-term, part-time workers (who generally do not have access to workplace retirement plans) to contribute to their employers’ plans.”
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  #834  
Old 04-11-2019, 05:17 PM
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SECURE ACT

https://www.thinkadvisor.com/2019/04...isan-daughter/

Quote:
Everyone Loves the Big New Retirement Bills... But...
One possible obstacle facing the SECURE Act bills: Truckers.
Spoiler:
Members of the House Ways and Means Committee voted unanimously Tuesday to pass H.R. 1994, the House version of the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act of 2019.
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal, D-Mass., teamed up with Democratic and Republican colleagues — Rep. Ron Kind, D-Wis.; Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas; and Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Pa. — to introduce the House SECURE Act bill.
Over in the Senate, Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, joined together with Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon — a Democrat — to roll out the Senate companion to the SECURE Act bill.
(Related: Sweeping Retirement Bill, Raising RMD Age, Unveiled by House Panel)
Given how popular the bills are, how is it possible they won’t pass sometime in the next three days?
One challenge could be money.
Members of Congress are supposed to try to keep most bills from increasing the federal budget deficit. In the past, many retirement savings bills with broad, bipartisan support have died after going through the federal budget analysis process, and fights over the budget cuts and revenue increases needed to offsets the retirement savings bills’ projected effects.
Here are five things to know about the SECURE Act legislation fight.
1. SECURE Act Legislation Basics
The SECURE Act bills would:
Create a safe harbor that employers could use when they’re choosing group annuity issuers to support 401(k) plan lifetime income stream options.
Help a plan participant transfer a plan lifetime income feature from one plan to another employer-sponsored retirement plan, or to an individual retirement account (IRA).
Require plan sponsors to tell the participants about how much monthly retirement income their assets might produce.
Let people contribute to IRAs even if they are over age 70 1/2.
Provide a tax credit for a small employer that starts a new retirement plan with an automatic enrollment feature.
Allow small employers to participate in multiple employer defined contribution retirement plans, or MEPS.
2. The SECURE Act bills have a history.
Many provisions in the new SECURE Act bills come from the Family Savings Act bill, and some from the Retirement Enhancement and Savings Act bills.
The first RESA bill surfaced in Congress in 2016. In late, 2018, Congress appeared to be close to rushing another version of the RESA bill provisions to passage, as part of a must-pass spending bill.
The effort to pass the RESA provisions in 2018 fell through, partly because of concerns about how Congress would compensate for the effects of popular RESA provisions on federal tax revenue.
3. Life and annuity groups like the bills.
The Insured Retirement Institute and the American Council of Life Insurers have already been actively promoting the bill.
Susan Neely, the president of the ACLI, writes in a letter in support of the SECURE Act bill that the ACLI is leading “a broad coalition of industry leaders and retirement stakeholders who stand ready to assist and support your efforts to pass this important legislation.”
Action is especially important, given that 10,000 Americans turn 65 every day, and many will live 30 or more years in retirement, Neely writes.
4. ARPA may be coming, too.
The Association for Advanced Life Underwriting — AALU — is supporting the SECURE Act bill, just as it has supported the RESA bills in the past.
AALU is also joining the ACLI and other life and annuity groups in supporting another Neal retirement legislation project: the Automatic Retirement Plan Act, or ARPA.
The ARPA bill would require employers with more than 10 employees to offer a way for employees to contribute to a 401(k) plan or an individual retirement account through a payroll deduction mechanism. The bill would also provide plan startup tax credits.
Neal introduced an ARPA bill in 2017, and AALU says it expects him to reintroduce that bill this year.
5. The SECURE Act bills contain pay-fors.
For bipartisan retirement savings bills, the main obstacle to passage is usually finding ways to pay for bill tax breaks.
The current version of the SECURE Act bills include four pay-fors:
A change in the required distribution rules for the beneficiaries of 401(k) plan participants who die. That provision could put retirement savers in opposition to the interests of the widows and orphans of workers who die young.
An increase in the penalty for taxpayers who fail to file their taxes.
An increase in the penalties for retirement plans that fail to file retirement plan returns.
An increase in collection of heavy use vehicle excise taxes, by increasing information sharing between the Internal Revenue Service and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
The heavy-use vehicle excise tax provision could add some suspense to the SECURE Act legislation fight.
That provision could put financial services and benefits groups in opposition to the interests of trucking groups, at a time when trucking groups are already facing headaches related to U.S. trade disputes with Canada and Mexico.
American Truck Dealers, a division of the National Automobile Dealers Association, has been fighting to kill the excise tax.
summary:
https://waysandmeans.house.gov/sites...%20section.pdf

full bill:
https://waysandmeans.house.gov/sites..._008_xml_0.pdf
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  #835  
Old 04-14-2019, 06:36 AM
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PBGC

https://asppa-net.org/news/pbgc-state-things

Quote:
PBGC: The State of Things

Spoiler:

GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS
As a vital safety net for millions of pension plan participants and retirees, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation is facing some difficult challenges. A recent report by the Congressional Research Service (CRS) puts those challenges in comprehensive, and sharper, relief.

In “Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC): A Primer,” the CRS provides a detailed look at the status and health of the PBGC overall, as well as its single-employer and multiemployer programs.

At the end of FY 2018, the PBGC had an overall deficit of $51.4 billion. The PBGC’s budgetary cash flow is based on its premium income, interest income, benefit outlays and the interaction of its trust funds and revolving funds.

Assets. The PBGC’s assets by the end of FY 2018 amounted to $112.3 billion; its main assets are the value of its trust fund and revolving funds. The trust fund contains:

the assets of the pension plans of which PBGC becomes trustee; and
the returns on the trust fund investments.
The revolving funds contain:

the premiums that plan sponsors pay to the PBGC;
transfers from the trust fund that are used to pay for participants’ benefits; and
returns on the revolving funds’ investments in U.S. Treasury securities.
Liabilities. The PBGC’s liabilities by the end of FY 2018 were $163.7 billion; its main liabilities are the estimated present values of:

future benefits payments in the single-employer program; and
future financial assistance to insolvent plans in the multiemployer program.
Running in the Red

The PBGC added to its “to do” list in 2018, becoming trustee of 58 newly terminated single-employer pension plans and providing financial assistance to six more multiemployer plans. So in FY 2018 it insured approximately 25,000 pension plans that covered around 37 million people; it paid benefits to 861,371 participants in 4,919 single-employer plans and 62,300 participants in 78 multiemployer plans.

That increased activity exacted a cost, and added to the PBGC’s financial woes. By the end of FY 2018, the one glimmer of good news was the $2.4 billion surplus of the single-employer program; that countered to a small degree the $53.9 billion deficit of the multiemployer plan, for a total deficit of $51.4 billion.

Dichotomy: A Sea of Red and Back in Black

That dichotomy of status and results — and readiness to protect participants — is not a phenomenon isolated to last year, of course, and the CRS outlines that stark difference over the last 20 years.

The multiemployer plan ran a surplus for two decades and took one year longer to hit a deficit — but once it started running in the red in 2013 it hasn’t looked back. The deficit has almost consistently ground deeper year by year, sinking to $65.1 billion in FY 2017. The deficit did improve by $11.2 billion in 2018, but it was still a deficit — to the tune of $53.9 billion. And the fun just doesn’t stop: the CRS report says that approximately 27,800 more plan participants will fall under the PBGC umbrella because the plans to which they belong currently are receiving financial assistance.

For its part, the single-employer program ran a surplus until 2002, when it began to run in the red; it hit its nadir in 2012 when its funds sank to a $29.1 billion deficit. It then began to recover (with the exception of a slight back slide in 2015) and in 2018 returned to a surplus and was once again running in the black. What made the difference? The CRS attributes the turnaround to investment income and an increase in premium income, which it reports was 3.6 times higher in 2018 than it was in 2008.

Crystal Ball

The CRS notes that in its FY 2017 Projections Report, the PBGC said that the multiemployer program is likely to run out of money in FY 2025, due to the likely insolvency of several large multiemployer pension plans.

So severe are the multiemployer program’s deficit and prospects for the future, the CRS reports, that premium levels are likely inadequate to provide continued financial assistance to insolvent multiemployer plans. Further, it says that assistance could “exhaust the PBGC’s ability to guarantee multiemployer plan participants’ benefits,” and notes that the PBGC has indicated that once that happens, insolvent plans would have to reduce benefits to levels that could be sustained through premium collections only.

And even the Multiemployer Pension Reform Act of 2014 (MPRA, enacted as part of P.L. 113-235), may not be enough to rescue the PBGC’s multiemployer program. The MPRA allows multiemployer pension plans that expect to become insolvent to reduce benefits to their participants. Plans that did so would not require financial assistance from the PBGC, thus reducing the amount of future financial assistance it would expect to provide and likely improving its financial condition. But, notes the CRS, the PBGC itself has estimated that the effect of the MPRA “would likely not change PBGC projections of future solvency.”

But the PBGC also indicated that the single-employer program’s deficit is likely to shrink and projected that it was likely to emerge from its deficit by FY 2018. And more sunshine to come, says that report: The average estimate of the PBGC’s simulations was for the single-employer program surplus to grow to $26 billion in 10 years.
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  #836  
Old 04-14-2019, 07:50 AM
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https://www.forbes.com/sites/ebauer/...A#13fc092e6223

Quote:
Is The "Saving For The Future Act" Real, Or A Mirage?
Spoiler:
Going on two weeks ago by now, on April 4th, Senators Chris Coons (D-DE) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) introduced new legislation, the Saving for the Future Act, which proposes to take the experiments in auto-enroll IRAs undertaken at the state level in Oregon, Illinois and California, and roll it out nationally. I read through the fact sheet made available at the time as well as additional reporting by CNBC, identified a number of questions the answers to which would make a significant difference in evaluating the legislation, and waited for the text to come out.

I'm still waiting. So while I'm waiting, here, at least, is the information its sponsors have provided, and the reasons why it's especially true here that the devil's in the details.

Under the proposal, all employers with more than 10 employees would be obliged to contribute a minimum amount to an employee savings/retirement plan; this would be set at 50 cents per hour worked upon implementation, then would increase to 60 cents in two years, and increase with wage growth thereafter. For businesses with fewer than 100 workers, this would take the form of contributing via payroll deduction to"UP accounts" established on their behalf and run by the federal government. ("UP", according to the Third Way description but not, so far as I can tell, the fact sheet itself, stands for Universal Personal.) For larger businesses, the fact sheet doesn't specify the form any such savings/retirement account would take. Employees working at the smallest firms would have the option to enroll in such accounts on their own. Also, part-time workers would be included in the program but independent contractors would participate on an individual basis only.


To partially offset the cost, employers would receive a tax credit equivalent to the cost of 50% of the minimum contribution for the first 15 workers, and 25% for the next 15. Workers participating as individuals, whether because their employers are too small to be mandated to participate, or because they are self-employed/independent contractors, would also receive this credit, up to a maximum of $1,000. To pay for these credits, the corporate tax rate would be increased from 21% to 23% and the top marginal individual income tax rate would be increased from 37% to 39.6%.

The first $2,500 in savings would be directed to a savings account; as soon as the balance exceeds this amount, additional contributions are directed to a retirement account.

Even though the employer contribution is fixed at a minimum dollar amount, workers themselves would be autoenrolled as a percent of pay, starting at 4% and increasing to 10%, with the option to opt-out or select an alternate contribution level.

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Government-run "UP Accounts" would have maximum employee contribution levels set at half that of 401(k) plans. The accounts' administration would be contracted out to a financial services company with target date funds.

Upon retirement, participants would be able to annuitize their benefits into a lifetime benefit or an annuity-certain (say, until the Social Security Late Retirement Age), or take "automatic, regular withdrawals equal to a certain percentage of their account balance."

So, yes, I have questions:

The fact sheet says that employers with fewer than 100 employees would participate in the federal "UP Account" program. Does this mean that all employers with greater than 100 employees will be required to offer a retirement account from among the "menu" of retirement accounts now on offer, which means, by and large, a 401(k) account? Would this legislation simultaneously amend 401(k)-related laws to permit the structure of directing the first $2,500 to a savings account (known in the expert jargon as a "sidecar" account and only in existence now in a sort of jury-rigged format until legislation formalizes their structure)? Would self-employed workers be able to collect the $500 credit without participating in the "UP Account" system, but retaining an IRA instead?

In either the fed-administered or the employer-run version, what would the tax treatment be of this emergency fund? Would the overall retirement savings fund function like a traditional or a Roth IRA, or would participants be able to choose?

Would there be requirements for demonstrating hardship in order to withdraw from the savings account or are the reasons specified (car accident, family leave) merely examples? How quickly could they withdraw the cash? Would the savings account portion of the program be invested in a risk-free manner?

What would the administrative costs of such a plan be, and who would pay for them? Would the government provide start-up funding or expect the administrative services provider to swallow the initial costs? Would there be an expense load applied to the savings account that, at today's low interest rates, might be greater than the interest earned? How expensive is it to manage the accounts of people working few hours or entering and leaving the workforce often? How would the management company's expense charges be monitored?

Would participants receive any guidance on how to decide how much to save, especially those who are low-income and struggling simply to stay out of debt? How easy would it be for them to opt out or change their contribution rates?

Would the annuities for plan draw-down be private-sector or underwritten by the federal government? If the latter, how would the amounts be determined? Would participants be locked into these restricted account-withdrawal formats rather than taking larger lump-sums? Would this be true only of "UP Accounts" or would restrictions apply to the new retirement savings that larger employers will be mandated to provide?

What does the overall system cost look like in dollar amounts? How much is due to the tax credits to employers (which strike me as a bit peculiar when the system functions as, essentially, a mandated wage hike, and yet proponents of actual minimum wage hikes show no similar interest in the effect on employers) and how much due to the $500 credits to individual contractors/the self-employed?

This all seems like nit-picking but it's not.

The bottom line is this: the hope of making it easier for Americans to save for emergencies and for retirement is a worthy one. But there are so many ways it can go sideways that it's really just not enough to say "we have good and worthy intentions and the details will all sort themselves out one way or another." The details actually make a significant impact and have to be cared about sooner rather than later.


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Old 04-15-2019, 08:59 PM
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CHICAGO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA

https://www.chicagobusiness.com/arts...-unlike-others

Quote:
Why this CSO musicians' strike is unlike the others
The musicians have gone on strike six previous times in 38 years, but not for this long, and not quite this vociferously. Four factors seem to be adding to the contention quotient.
Spoiler:

Today marks the 36th day of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra musicians' strike. They walked off the job March 10 and on April 5 rejected the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association's "last, best and final" offer for a settlement. The two parties haven't set a date to resume debating over the two main sticking points, salary and pension. The musicians want to be the highest-paid in the country. They want to keep their defined-benefit pension, which management wants to convert to a defined-contribution plan.

The last strike, in 2012, was settled in two days, and the 1992 work action, in 15 days. Why is this one taking so long? Talks with Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association management, musicians, subscribers and donors reveal four factors making this strike unlike the others.


Jeff Alexander

The pension. It came up during the 1991 and 2012 negotiations, but those resolutions hinged more on salary and changes to health benefits. Why is the pension the 2019 strike's deal breaker? It's about "sustainability" and the future financial health of the organization, according to CSOA President Jeff Alexander and Board Chair Helen Zell. Yet converting the defined-benefit plan to a defined-contribution setup would cost the organization more in the short run. Under the new defined-contribution plan, CSOA would contribute the equivalent of 8 percent of the musicians’ base salary annually, at a cost of at least $1.4 million a year. That's in addition to its current pension-fund obligation, $35 million over eight years. For an arts organization, CSO is not in bad financial shape. It's $900,000 short of a budget break-even, and has posted record ticket sales for the past several years. The issue is preserving its $300 million endowment. The board already draws down 5 percent of the endowment fund's value to support operations, and taking more to support the pension would jeopardize operations. "That's a big part of the purpose (of changing the pension benefit)," Alexander says. CSOA staff, including top executives like Alexander, were converted to a defined-contribution pension plan in 2006.

Helen Zell. As board chair and head of CSOA's executive committee, Zell plays a key role in deciding what should be negotiated. She is an accomplished pianist with experience at arts organizations and is said to be friends with many CSO musicians. (CSO declined to make her available for an interview.) Unlike Zell, former board chairs were able to settle strikes fairly quickly. The board chair during the 2012 strike was Bill Osborn, former Northern Trust chair and CEO. That strike was settled in two days. Richard Thomas, former chair and CEO at First National Bank of Chicago, was chair of the board during the 1991 strike, which was settled in 15 days. "The only thing I can think of is that (current management) has a philosophical problem with the defined-benefit plan," says one longtime donor and subscriber who asked not to be named.


The PR battle. The musicians have played eight free concerts around the city, from Apostolic Church of God in Woodlawn to the hipster music venue Hideout in Bucktown. Politicians (though not Gov. J.B. Pritzker or Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who have pension headaches of their own) have visited the picket line, and Riccardo Muti, Zell music director at CSO, has voiced his support. Out-of-town orchestras have sent letters of support and have donated about $70,000 to a musicians' relief fund. Management's outreach has included two invitation-only meetings for subscribers and donors, held April 11 at the Palmer House Hilton. Attendees describe the meetings as "highly scripted," with audience members submitting questions in writing and no opportunity for open comment. Alexander and Stacie Frank, CSOA's chief financial officer, answered the questions. The 90-minute meetings were designed to field the most questions possible and to keep the tone "non-emotional," Alexander says. "I'm sure some people were frustrated because they wanted to get up to the mic and let me have it, or let Helen have it," he says. Meetings were limited to donors and subscribers because they "are the most involved in the organization and who've supported it the most," he says.

The collateral damage. In addition to the hundred-plus musicians, the strike has affected about 10 union stage technicians. Symphony Center's restaurant, Tesori, suspended operations April 3 because of the strike. "The real damage will be the working relationship with (Orchestra) Hall, the staff and executive committee," says Steve Lester, CSO double bassist and chair of the musicians' negotiating committee. "A strike is not a trivial thing."
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Old 04-15-2019, 09:05 PM
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https://www.bloomberg.com/news/artic...s-a-good-thing
Quote:
When a $240 Billion Corporate Pension Shortfall Is a Good Thing
By Brandon Kochkodin
April 11, 2019, 7:00 AM EDT
Goldman Sachs Asset Management warns of Groundhog Day scenario
Funding levels are rising, but opportunity to de-risk missed
Spoiler:
The 200 biggest pension plans in the S&P 500 were underfunded by $240 billion at the end of 2018. Sounds like a big number but it’s actually an improvement from the $382 billion gap in 2016.

Funding levels have jumped in recent years due to incentives from tax law changes and a record equity bull market. S&P 500 companies contributed about $63 billion to their defined-benefit plans in 2017, the highest level since 2003, according to a 2018 report from Goldman Sachs Asset Management.

relates to When a $240 Billion Corporate Pension Shortfall Is a Good Thing
Nonetheless, Goldman warns that many corporate pensions may have once again missed the chance to lock in gains by shifting from stocks to bonds. In a new report, titled Groundhog Day after the 1993 comedy film in which Bill Murray’s character is forced to re-live the same day over and over again, Goldman said companies over the last decade have failed to “de-risk” when opportunities arose.

relates to When a $240 Billion Corporate Pension Shortfall Is a Good Thing
That may be happening now, it said. The outcome could be that funding levels fall if the market turns. And that, in turn, will force corporations to once again make “additional subsequent contributions” to their pensions.

“Some pensions just weren’t able to execute on a de-risking strategy,” said Mike Moran, the firm’s pension strategist. “They’re not set up to be nimble or quick.”
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Old 04-16-2019, 06:16 AM
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Mary Pat Campbell
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Originally Posted by campbell View Post
https://burypensions.wordpress.com/2...-games-update/

Quote:
Chicago Symphony Pension Games Update
Spoiler:
According to Crain’s Chicago Business:

Today marks the 37th day of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra musicians’ strike. They walked off the job March 10 and on April 5 rejected the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association’s “last, best and final” offer for a settlement.

…..

Under the new defined-contribution plan, CSOA would contribute the equivalent of 8 percent of the musicians’ base salary annually, at a cost of at least $1.4 million a year. That’s in addition to its current pension-fund obligation, $35 million over eight years.

We looked at Chicago Symphony Pension Games last month but being a June 30 year-end an updated 5500 form had to be submitted by today. It was and there were more games:


Plan Name: Chicago Symphony Orchestra Pension Plan
EIN/PN: 36-2859355
Total participants @ 6/30/18: 166 including:
Retirees: 55
Separated but entitled to benefits: 10
Still working: 101

Asset Value (Market) @ 7/1/17: $43,014,645
Asset Value (Actuarial) @ 7/1/17: $43,302,276
Value of liabilities (5.98%) @ 7/1/17: $58,051,724 including:
Retirees: $24,572,223
Separated but entitled to benefits: $1,906,012
Still working: $31,573,489

Funded ratio (using Actuarial Value of Assets): 74.59%

Asset Value (Market) as of 6/30/18: $45,815,309
Contributions: $2,969,725
Payouts: $3,117,840
Expenses: $240,448

According to the Schedule SB items 22 and 24 there were changes in the actuarial assumptions which included an increase in the assumed retirement age from 71 to 72:


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Old 04-16-2019, 09:16 AM
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RHODE ISLAND

https://www.golocalprov.com/news/mag...h-run-pensions
Quote:
Bill to Force “Church” Retirement Plans to Make Disclosures Under Consideration at State House

Spoiler:
General Treasurer Seth Magaziner will join legislative leaders to testify in support of legislation that would require pension plans managed by religious organizations, known as "Church Plans" in Rhode Island, to send regular updates on the financial health of the pensions to their plan participants.
In August 2017, GoLocal first reported the collapse of the St. Joseph Health Services pension fund.

"There are thousands of Rhode Islanders, including more than 2,700 current and retired employees of St. Joseph's and Our Lady of Fatima hospitals, who have been kept in the dark regarding the health of their pension plan because of this loophole. Church plans should be required to be transparent with their members, just like other pension plans,” said Magaziner.

SEE SLIDESHOW BELOW

Public hearings will take place on Tuesday, April 9 at 4:30 p.m. on the legislation.

Presently, a massive fraud case is being litigated in both Rhode Island and federal courts.

The Legislation

Rhode Island Senate President Dominick Ruggerio and House Majority Leader K. Joseph Shekarchi introduced the legislation in their respective chambers, with public hearings scheduled for this Tuesday.

"All Rhode Island workers and retirees deserve to know the truth about the health of their pension plan. Too many hard-working caregivers and health professionals, who spent their careers serving their communities, have been hurt by a lack of transparency. We must ensure that this never happens again," said Ruggerio.

The federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) requires most private pension plans to send members a letter each year outlining the health of their plan.

Pension plans administered by religious organizations claim exemption from both ERISA and GASB reporting standards.

Members of these plans often have no ability to access information regarding the financial health of their pensions.


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