Retirement plans’ impact on recruiting and retention in the public market

Link: https://reason.org/commentary/retirement-plans-impact-on-recruiting-and-retention-in-the-public-market/

Excerpt:

A number of conclusions regarding the retirement plan’s impact on recruiting and retention can be drawn from the MissionSquare survey results:  

Recruiting and retention should not be looked at as a singular issue. While public employers have seen steady success in hiring, retention has suffered greatly in recent years in the public market. 

The survey does not make the case that an employer’s retirement plan, whatever the design, has a substantial impact on recruiting or retention at all. In fact, the survey shows employers are more focused on employee morale, development, and engagement to enhance retention, along with salary increases. The survey does not suggest that there is a widespread recruiting issue although some positions, including nurses, engineers, and police officers, are more difficult to hire than others. 

Plan sponsors should avoid treating retirement plan design only as a tool for retaining employees. Rather, they should focus on a retirement plan design that realistically meets the needs of a modern workforce. The retirement plan should focus on providing lifetime income in retirement commensurate with the part of a career that an employee spends with a particular employer. The plan should recognize the realities of mobile modern employees and should not penalize employees that do not spend a full career with one employer. 

The survey illustrates that employers are focused on employee wellness as a means to improve retention. It follows that keeping employees happy should also be the focus of the retirement plan. Retention is best addressed by having a retirement plan that addresses the realities of the workforce today, as noted above.  

Author(s): Richard Hiller

Publication Date: 9 Aug 2022

Publication Site: Reason

Democrats’ $80 billion wager: A bigger IRS will be a better IRS

Link: https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2022/08/06/inflation-reduction-act-irs/

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The result is that the IRS’s prolific enforcement capabilities — which bring in on average better than $10 in revenue for every $1 spent pursuing audits — are often trained on the most economically vulnerable taxpayers.

More than half of the agency’s audits in 2021 were directed at taxpayers with incomes less than $75,000, according to IRS data. More than 4 in 10 of its audits targeted recipients of the earned income tax credit, one of the country’s main anti-poverty measures.

Congress and the White House, when led by Republicans, have starved the IRS of resources for so long, experts say, that even with an influx of $80 billion in new funding, the agency’s ability to transform itself is far from assured.

Some of its main computers still run on programming language that dates to the 1960s, called COBOL, the IRS has repeatedly told policymakers. The program is so old that college computer science courses rarely teach it anymore, forcing the IRS to spend heavily on training new hires in antiquated systems.

The IRS has 60 discrete case management systems that do not communicate with one another.

Its staffing levels have dropped by 17 percent since 2010, including a 30 percent decline in enforcement employees, because its budget has flatlined: Adjusted for inflation, its annual appropriation from Congress is down 12 percent over the same span, at $12.6 billion this year.

Author(s): Jacob Bogage

Publication Date: 6 Aug 2022

Publication Site: Washington Post

Congressional Bill Could End Windfall Elimination

Link: https://www.yahoo.com/video/congressional-bill-may-soon-end-194009302.html

Excerpt:

The wind fall elimination provision (WEP) reduces the amount of Social Security benefits people can collect if they receive a government retirement plan in addition to Social Security. It applies only to workers who did not pay Social Security taxes, and so did not earn credits toward Social Security income during their working years.

According to the Congressional Research Service, roughly 6% of workers don’t receive Social Security credits in a given year. Most are local, state and federal employees who don’t pay Social Security taxes because they qualify for government pensions instead. For example, these are federal civilian employees who receive their retirement through the Civil Service Retirement System. The rest are workers covered by alternative retirement schemes, such as Railroad Retirement, or poverty-level workers who earn too little to qualify.

…..

Government Pension Offset (GPO)

The GPO cuts the benefits issued to retirees who receive both their own Social Security payments and a spouse’s government pension payments. The GPO aims to prevent double earning by someone who begins collecting their spouse’s retirement benefits. In the case of the GPO, it reduces a recipient’s Social Security payments by two-thirds of the pension payments that they receive. For example, say that a government worker received a monthly pension of $750. After their death, their spouse is eligible to continue collecting that pension. The pension offset, however, would reduce the surviving spouse’s Social Security payments by $500 per month.

The GPO only applies when someone directly collects their spouse’s pension benefits in addition to their own Social Security benefits, such as when that spouse dies. It does not apply to a household where both people are alive and collecting their own retirement benefits. It also only applies when the government worker did not pay Social Security taxes during their working years.

…..

Almost 340 members of Congress agree that it’s time to eliminate the windfall elimination, and retired public workers could benefit by more than $6,000 per year. In 2021 Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Ill., introduced the Social Security Fairness Act. This bill would repeal the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and the Government Pension Offset (GPO) from Social Security payments. If it passes public employees could see a significant bump in their retirement incomes, and it may pass soon.

At time of writing the Social Security Fairness Act had 294 sponsors in the House of Representatives. Its companion bill in the Senate had 41 sponsors. The measure has been placed on a legislative fast-track. By removing the Windfall Elimination Provision and the Government Pension Offset, this law targets two issues that public unions have long criticized.

Author(s): Erid Reed

Publication Date: 7 Aug 2022

Publication Site: Yahoo News

PW special report: NC treasurer’s love for cash in the pension fund hobbled returns during the stock market boom

Link: https://ncpolicywatch.com/2022/08/05/pw-special-report-nc-treasurers-love-for-cash-in-the-pension-fund-hobbled-returns-during-the-stock-market-boom/?eType=EmailBlastContent&eId=8dfd910d-e76e-4e65-91ce-d144637d3017&eType=EmailBlastContent&eId=18903da7-2756-43a1-92ce-b1403da31f40

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* The pension fund holds much more of its money in cash than other comparable state pension funds and more than its allocation policy suggests. State Treasurer Dale Folwell routinely overrides the policy to prevent “rebalancing.”
* Folwell emphasizes steeling the pension plan against stock market downturns. That’s led to the plan missing out on the big stock market gains of the last few years. Returns for the state pension fund are far lower than comparable public pension funds.
* Folwell repeatedly liquidated stock to shift money to bonds and cash.
*He has lowered the pension fund’s assumed rate of return in stages, which means the state and local governments have had to increase their contributions.

Author(s): Lynn Bonner

Publication Date: 5 August 2022

Publication Site: NC Policy Watch

Rapper Fat Joe Says No One Is Making Sure Hospitals Post Their Prices

Link: https://khn.org/news/article/rapper-fat-joe-hospitals-price-transparency-fact-check/

Excerpt:

Rapper Fat Joe takes on hospital industry executives in an advertisement, contending that many hospitals are disobeying a law that requires them to publicly post the prices they charge cash-paying patients and insurance companies for every service they offer.

The ad, paid for by a group called Power to the Patients, states, correctly, that hospitals must list their negotiated prices and asserts that the rule helps patients by making it harder for them to be overcharged. The ad also blames politicians and regulators because the price information is still not necessarily available.

…..

Hospitals have dragged their feet, and compliance is spotty. Studies have found that many hospitals have posted at least some data but that large shares of the facilities have failed to post everything required.

….

In early June, CMS issued penalty fines of about $1.1 million against two Georgia hospitals — Northside Hospital Atlanta and Northside Hospital Cherokee — that are owned by the same company. Those were the first fines issued under the new rules.

As of late July, the agency had sent 368 warning notices to hospitals and issued 188 corrective action plan requests to hospitals that had previously received warning notices but had not yet corrected deficiencies, according to a statement from Dr. Meena Seshamani, deputy administrator and director of the Center for Medicare.

Author(s): Julie Appleby

Publication Date: 10 Aug 2022

Publication Site: Kaiser Health News

NY State Pension Returns 9.5% in FY 2022, While NYC Pensions Lose 8.65%

Link: https://www.ai-cio.com/news/ny-state-pension-returns-9-5-in-fy-2022-while-nyc-pensions-lose-8-65/

Excerpt:

The New York State Common Retirement Fund has reported a 9.51% investment return for fiscal year 2022, while the New York City Retirement System reported an annual preliminary loss of 8.65% among its five pension funds.

However, the fiscal year for the state’s pension ended March 31, while the city’s pension funds ended their fiscal year June 30, after a quarter during which global markets tumbled and the S&P 500 fell by more than 16%.

…..

The portfolio’s alternative investments buoyed the pension fund’s returns, which raised the portfolio’s asset value to $272.1 billion as of March 31. Private equity returned 37.57% for the year, while the fund’s real estate investments and real assets returned 27.4% and 16.12% respectively. The three asset classes account for nearly 24% of the portfolio’s total asset allocation. The pension fund recently reported that it had committed more than $3 billion in alternative investments during June alone.

The NYCRF had an asset allocation of 49.70% in publicly traded equities, 21.18% in cash, bonds and mortgages, 13.64% in private equity, 10.00% in real estate and real assets and 5.48% in credit, absolute return strategies and opportunistic alternatives. The fund’s long-term expected rate of return is 5.9%.

Author(s): Amy Resnick

Publication Date:

Publication Site: ai-CIO

SFA Update – One Refiler; One Approval

Link: https://burypensions.wordpress.com/2022/08/05/sfa-update-one-refiler-one-approval/

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The PBGC Special Financial Assistance program for troubled multiemployer plans weekend update showed one approval (Pension Plan of the Printers League – Graphic Communications International Union Local 119B out of East Farmingdale, NY) and a plan that withdrew their application last week (Local 966 Pension Plan out of Cresskill, NJ) is back and asking for over $8 million less.

Author(s): John Bury

Publication Date: 5 Aug 2022

Publication Site: burypensions

Non-COVID deaths are up a significant amount this year. What’s driving the increase?

Link: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-08-08/non-covid-deaths-are-up-a-significant-amount-this-year/101309930

Excerpt:

There were an additional 4,000 non-COVID deaths, or a five per cent increase, in the first four months this year, compared with the pre-pandemic average.

The director of the Mortality Data Centre at the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Lauren Moran, said among the additional 4,000 deaths, more people died of chronic diseases compared to similar periods prior to the pandemic.

“We can see that for dementia, there’s been around a 20 per cent increase this year of the total number of deaths when we compare it to prior years, and around 18 per cent higher than expected for diabetes,” she said.

Ms Moran said that while some of the increase could be put down to natural variation and increases with an ageing population, the deaths are statistically significant and confirm a trend that began late last year.

Author(s): Annie Guest

Publication Date: 8 Aug 2022

Publication Site: Australian Broadcasting Commission News

Average Public Pension Assumed Rate of Return Hits 40-Year Low

Link: https://www.ai-cio.com/news/average-public-pension-assumed-rate-of-return-hits-40-year-low/

Excerpt:

The average investment return rate assumption for U.S. public pension funds has fallen below 7.0%, to its lowest level in more than 40 years, according to the National Association of State Retirement Administrators.

Among the 131 funds that NASRA measured, more than half have reduced their investment return assumption since fiscal year 2020 as rising interest rates and other factors have contributed to more volatile investment returns. 

For the 30‐year period that ended in 2020, public pension funds accrued approximately $8.5 trillion in revenue, according to NASRA, of which $5.1 trillion, or 60%, came from investment earnings. Employer contributions accounted for $2.4 trillion, or 28%, and employee contributions totaled $1 trillion, or 12%. 

Author(s): Michael Katz

Publication Date: 1 Aug 2022

Publication Site: ai-CIO

Baby bust: China’s looming demographic disaster

Link: https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/baby-bust-chinas-looming-demographic-disaster

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According to a new UN report, China’s population growth has collapsed by 94 per cent, from eight million a decade ago to just 480,000 last year. What’s particularly worrying for Chinese leaders is that this means a rapid reduction in the working population. The previous set of projected figures suggested that by the year 2100, China’s 15- to 64-year-old population would be 579 million. This has now been revised down to 378 million, a 35 per cent fall. If this prediction plays out, the implications for China – and the rest of the world – could be brutal.

Today, every 100 working-age Chinese need to support 20 retirees. If trends continue, by the turn of the next century, every 100 workers will have to support 120 retirees. This means China will have the largest drop in working-age population among any of the G20 economies by 2030, with more than 23 million fewer Chinese. In percentage terms, Japan and South Korea will shrink even faster – but they became rich before birth rates began plummeting.

Author(s): Rana Mitter

Publication Date: 6 Aug 2022

Publication Site: The Spectator UK

Governor Moves to Bar Florida SBA From ESG Investing

Link: https://www.ai-cio.com/news/governor-moves-to-bar-florida-sba-from-esg-investing/

Excerpt:

The latest anti-ESG onslaught from Republican state officials is Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ campaign to forbid the Florida State Board of Administration from adopting environmental, social and governance investing tenets. At the moment, SBA doesn’t appear to be a devotee of ESG.

The governor, an outspoken conservative, plans to propose at an SBA meeting on August 15 that the body’s fiduciary duties must exclude ESG. “From Wall Street banks to massive asset managers and big tech companies, we have seen the corporate elite use their economic power to impose policies on the country that they could not achieve at the ballot box,” DeSantis said in a statement.

DeSantis, a possible GOP presidential contender in 2024, declared that “we are protecting Floridians from woke capital and asserting the authority of our constitutional system over ideological corporate power.” He also plans to push through legislation banning the SBA from making ESG-themed investments and requiring them to focus on maximizing returns.

Author(s): Larry Light

Publication Date: 5 Aug 2022

Publication Site: ai-CIO