5500 – Central States – 2021

Link: https://burypensions.wordpress.com/2022/10/20/5500-central-states-2021/

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With the 5500 filing season done it is time to tentatively get back to some blogging – starting with the plan that was likely to bring the PBGC (and the entire private pension system) down before the SFA bailout and now will be another cog in the hyperinflation wheelbarrow.

We had some 5500 history in an earlier blog through 2016. This is where the plan was last year based on their 5500 filing for 2021:

Plan Name: Central States, Southeast & Southwest Areas Pension Plan

EIN/PN: 36-6044243/001

Total participants @ 12/31/21: 357,056 including:

  • Retirees: 189,449
  • Separated but entitled to benefits: 117,511
  • Still working: 50,096

Asset Value (Market) @ 1/1/21: 10,409,440,502

Value of liabilities using RPA rate (2.43%) @ 1/1/21: $58,623,837,073 including:

  • Retirees: $34,084,275,398
  • Separated but entitled to benefits: $15,801,905,005
  • Still working: $8,736,875,945

Funded ratio: 17.76%

Author(s): John Bury

Publication Date: 20 Oct 2022

Publication Site: burypensions

PBGC Provides Financial Assistance to Struggling Metal Workers Pension

Link: https://www.ai-cio.com/news/pbgc-provides-financial-assistance-to-struggling-metal-workers-pension/

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The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation approved a Special Financial Assistance program from a Metal Sheet Workers local pension plan in Massillon, Ohio, on Wednesday.

The plan covered 1,649 participants in the sheet metal trade. About 850 of them saw their benefits cut an average of 24% in May 2020 under the terms of the Multiemployer Pension Reforms Act of 2014. SFA will pay $28.8 million to make up the shortfall.

The MPRA allowed trustees of multiemployer plans to submit an application to the Treasury Department to reduce pension payouts if such a reduction is necessary to prevent the fund from running out of money.

Author(s): Paul Mulholland

Publication Date: 7 Oct 2022

Publication Site: ai-CIO

SFA Update – 9/2/22

Link: https://burypensions.wordpress.com/2022/09/02/sfa-update-9-2-22/

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The PBGC Special Financial Assistance program for troubled multiemployer plans updated today with one new filer (Toledo Roofers Local No. 134 Pension Plan), one withdrawal (Bricklayers Union Local No. 1 Pension Fund) and one approval asking for more (Local Union No. 466 Painters, Decorators and Paperhangers Pension Plan). 

Author(s): John Bury

Publication Date: 2 Sept 2022

Publication Site: burypensions

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

PBGC Finalizes Rescue of Ailing Multiemployer Pension Plans

Link: https://www.ai-cio.com/news/pbgc-finalizes-rescue-of-ailing-multiemployer-pension-plans/

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The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, under the direction of the Biden administration, has published the final rule implementing the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021’s Special Financial Assistance program.

According to supporters of the program, the Special Financial Assistance program, which is already operating on an interim basis, will protect millions of workers in stressed multiemployer union pension plans who previously faced the possibility of significant cuts to their benefits.

….

Initially, the interim final rule applied a single rate of return included in the statute that is higher than could be expected for SFA funds given that they were required to be invested exclusively in safe, but low-return, investment-grade fixed-income products. The final rule uses two different rates of return for SFA and non-SFA assets, so that the interest rate for SFA assets is more realistic given the investment limitations on these funds.

Another change in the final rule allows up to 33% of SFA to be invested in return-seeking assets that are projected to allow plans to receive a higher rate of return on their investments than under the interim final rule, subject to certain protections. Namely, this portion of plans’ SFA funds generally must be invested in publicly traded assets on liquid markets to ensure responsible stewardship of federal funds. These return-seeking investments include equities, equity funds and bonds. The other 67% of SFA funds must be invested in investment-grade fixed-income products.

The third major change is meant to ensure plans can confidently restore both past and future benefits and enter 2051 with rising assets. PBGC designed the final rule to ensure that no “MPRA plan”—a group of fewer than 20 multiemployer plans that remained solvent by cutting benefits pursuant to the Multiemployer Pension Reform Act of 2014—was forced to choose between restoring its benefit payments to previous levels and remaining indefinitely solvent. Instead, the final rule ensures that all MPRA plans avoid this dilemma, supporting them with enough assistance so that these plans can both restore benefits and be projected to remain indefinitely solvent going into 2051.

According to PBGC leadership, these changes collectively ensure that all plans that receive SFA are projected to be solvent and pay full benefits through at least 2051.

Author(s): John Manganaro

Publication Date: 7 July 2022

Publication Site: ai-CIO

A chance to enter a new era of financial transparency and awareness for public pension plans

Link: https://reason.org/commentary/a-chance-to-enter-a-new-era-of-financial-transparency-and-awareness-for-public-pension-plans/

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On Feb. 11, the Actuarial Standards Board issued a revised Actuarial Standard of Practice No. 4, effective February 15, 2023. The rollout has been low-key. The announcement says:

“Notable changes made to the existing 2013 version include expanding the scope to clarify the application of the standard when the actuary selects an output smoothing method and when an assumption or method is not selected by the actuary.”

But this description obscures a significant new required disclosure, one which follows years of controversy and acrimony within and among actuaries and the public pension plan community at large.  The requirement was the overwhelming focus during the drafting and comment period.     

The new required disclosure reflects economic reality better than any currently required number.

Author(s): Larry Pollack

Publication Date: 25 Mar 2022

Publication Site: Reason

UMWA 5500 Update – 6/30/21

Link: https://burypensions.wordpress.com/2022/06/02/umwa-5500-update-6-30-21/

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Five years ago retired coal miners traveled to Washington, D.C. to lobby lawmakers to put in place a federal safety net in case the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) pension fund fails. Coal plant closures and company bankruptcies have sent the pension fund to the edge of collapse. In October, 2019 Murray Energy, the last major company propping up the dwindling fund, also went bankrupt and the prediction was insolvency in FY23.

By the April 15, 2022 deadline, the plan submitted their 5500 form for the year ended 6/30/21 showing only 68 active participants remaining and providing an idea of how much more taxpayers will now be on the hook for on top of what appears to be the $330 million that came in during the plan year.

Author(s): John Bury

Publication Date: 3 June 2022

Publication Site: Burypensions

PBGC Approves Bailouts for Five More Multiemployer Plans in May

Link: https://www.ai-cio.com/news/pbgc-approves-bailouts-for-five-more-multiemployer-plans-in-may/

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The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation has approved applications submitted to the Special Financial Assistance Program by five more struggling multiemployer plans in May alone. The PBGC has now approved more than $6.2 billion in bailout funds to plans covering close to 120,000 workers and retirees.

The PBGC said it will provide $210.4 million in SFA funding to the Local 365 UAW Pension Fund Pension Plan of Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, which covers 3,736 participants in the manufacturing industry.

The Local 365 UAW Plan became insolvent in December 2020, at which time the PBGC began providing the plan with financial assistance. As required by law, the plan reduced participants’ benefits to the PBGC guarantee levels, which were approximately 20% below the benefits payable under the terms of the plan.

Author(s): Michael Katz

Publication Date: 23 May 2022

Publication Site: ai-CIO

SFA Update – Two Refilers

Link: https://burypensions.wordpress.com/2022/05/20/sfa-update-two-refilers/

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The PBGC Special Financial Assistance program for troubled multiemployer plans weekend update showed a refiling of a prior withdrawal (America’s Family Benefit Retirement Plan) that asked for $4,.5 million less and one withdrawal and immediate refile (UTWA NJ Union Employer Pension Plan) that asked for $17,918 more.

Author(s): John Bury

Publication Date: 20 May 2022

Publication Site: burypensions

Central States Fall

Link: https://burypensions.wordpress.com/2022/05/09/central-states-fall/

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All 1,298 pages of the Central States, Southeast and Southwest Areas Pension Fund bailout application is on the SFA website but, for me, it is these two pages that tell the tale of the fall of this and many other union pension plans.

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Funded ratio: 21.91%

Unfunded Liabilities as of 1/1/20: $43,878,930,013

Asset Value (Market) as of 12/31/20: $10,409,490,502

Contributions 2020 (MB): $662,009,633

Contributions 2020 (H): $406,600,320

Payouts 2020: $2,842,184,040

Expenses 2019: $53,552,2071

Author(s): John Bury

Publication Date: 9 May 2022

Publication Site: burypensions