Advocates want Hochul to address shuttered St. Clare’s Hospital pension crisis


Advocates for restoring pension payments to retirees of shuttered Catholic healthcare facilities, including St. Clare’s Hospital, have launched another effort, now that the state is led by a new governor.

In a bipartisan move, state Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara, D-Rotterdam, state Sen. James Tedisco, R-Glenville, and Mary Hartshorne, chairwoman of the St. Clare’s Pensioners Recovery Alliance, wrote to Gov. Kathy Hochul on Friday, asking for her consideration on the matter.

The legislators’ letter said the pensions of more than 1,100 New Yorkers “evaporated in the snap of a finger, through no fault of their own.” This is no way to treat healthcare workers, they said.


Since federal law permits a religious exemption, the St. Clare’s pension fund has no benefit guarantee insurance because federal law permits a religious exemption, the lawmakers’ letter to the governor reads.

For reasons not yet fully identified, the lawmakers said, the state did not provide ample funding to cover the St. Clare’s pension fund’s costs.

Author(s): Brian Lee

Publication Date: 19 Sept 2021

Publication Site: The Daily Gazette

Insolvency Cost Information Files



File Explanations:

Insolvency Costs Workbook – This Microsoft Excel workbook contains individual spreadsheets for all insolvency cases along with various summary schedules and assessable premium data.

Insolvency Costs Report – This PDF file contains all commentary and notes for the insolvency cost report. It includes general descriptions of categories, brief comments on individual insolvency cases, assessment and premium tax offset provisions, and premiums by state. Also included are the spreadsheets from the Costs Excel workbook, thus creating one comprehensive report. You will need Acrobat Reader to open and read this file.

Insolvency Costs Report – Comments – This file is no longer provided beginning with 2003 since all information is included in the Report PDF file. This Microsoft Word document contains all commentary and notes for the insolvency cost report. It includes general descriptions of categories, brief comments on individual insolvency cases and premium tax offset provisions.

Date Accessed: 20 Sept 2021

Publication Site: National Organization of Life & Health Insurance Guaranty Associations

Puerto Rico debt restructure plan threatens public pensions



A federal control board created by Congress to address Puerto Rico’s debt on Monday filed a restructure plan that threatens a 10-percent cut to public pensions without any deal with retirees.

The board presented a 233-page plan that would reshuffle at least $35 billion in public debt and more than $50 billion in public pension liabilities, The Associated Press reported.  

The proposal, which was filed in U.S. court, includes an up to 8.5 percent cut to monthly pensions of at least $1,500 to help the territory deal with the biggest U.S. municipal bankruptcy filing in history. The board said it received “substantial” support for the plan from creditors, specifically those who have more than $13 billion worth of bonds.

Author(s): Justine Coleman

Publication Date: 9 March 2021

Publication Site: The Hill

Puerto Rico Gov Rejects Pension Cuts in POA



Puerto Rico Gov. Pedro Pierluisi reiterated his stance against the pension cuts outlined in the government’s Plan of Adjustment (POA), presented last night by the Financial Oversight and Management Board (FOMB) before the Title III Court.

“My administration has been emphatic that this cut to pensions is not reasonable and it is not necessary to confirm the Adjustment Plan, so we will leave it established in the confirmation process before the Title III Court,” Pierluisi said in written statements.

The POA is based on the agreements previously reached by FOMB with the Official Committee of Retirees (ORC) and other unions, for which it envisions a reduction of 8.5 percent in the pensions of government retirees who earn more than $1,500 per month, as stipulated by the past POA. This represents between 26 percent and 27 percent of all pensioners.

Publication Date: 9 March 2021

Publication Site: The Weekly Journal

Puerto Rico files debt-restructuring plan amid criticism



 A framework that outlines how Puerto Rico will restructure at least $35 billion in public debt and more than $50 billion in public pension liabilities threatens a 10% cut to public pensions if no agreement is reached with retirees.

The amended plan of adjustment of 233 pages was filed late Monday in U.S. court by a federal control board that oversees Puerto Rico’s finances and was created by Congress to lift the U.S. territory’s government out of bankruptcy.

The plan includes a proposed cut of up to 8.5% to monthly pensions of at least $1,500. That has long been a point of contention between the board and the governor, who has repeatedly said he would not approve such cuts.

Author(s): Associated Press

Publication Date: 9 March 2021

Publication Site: NBC News

Greensill Capital planning to file for insolvency in U.K. this week



Embattled financial startup Greensill Capital plans to file for insolvency in the U.K. this week, as it simultaneously moved toward a deal to sell its operating business to Apollo Global Management APO, -1.69%, according to people familiar with the matter.

The deal with Apollo, which could be struck by the end of the week, would be part of a Greensill insolvency, similar to the U.S. bankruptcy process, the people said.

The Wall Street Journal previously reported the two sides were in talks for a deal that would pay Greensill around $100 million. Through the acquisition Apollo would take over Greensill’s core operations and inherit clients that generate around $7 billion in assets, according to the people familiar with the matter.

Author(s): Julie Steinberg and Ben Dummett

Publication Date: 3 March 2021

Publication Site: MarketWatch

Greensill Faces Possible Insolvency After Credit Suisse Suspends Investment Funds



Specialty finance firm Greensill Capital headed toward a rapid unraveling after Credit Suisse Group AG suspended $10 billion of investment funds that fueled the SoftBank Group Corp.-backed startup.

With a key source of financing frozen, Greensill appointed Grant Thornton to guide it through a possible restructuring, and it could file for insolvency, the U.K. equivalent of bankruptcy, within days, according to people familiar with the company.


U.K.-based Greensill is the brainchild of former Citigroup Inc. and Morgan Stanley financier Lex Greensill. Founded in 2011, Greensill specializes in an area known as supply-chain finance, a form of short-term cash advance that lets companies stretch out the time they have to pay their bills.

Greensill packages those cash advances into bondlike securities that give investors a higher return than they could get from bank deposits. Credit Suisse’s funds were a major buyer of those securities.

Author(s): Julie Steinberg, Duncan Mavin, Ben Dummett, Maureen Farrell

Publication Date: 1 March 2021

Publication Site: Wall Street Journal

Puerto Rico Bonds, MBIA Stock Jump on Restructuring Settlement



A settlement between creditors in Puerto Rico’s bankruptcy case lifted prices of the commonwealth’s municipal bonds and shares of insurance companies that guaranteed payments on the bonds.

Traders have driven up prices of the island’s benchmark $3.5 billion general obligation bond due 2035 by 3.3% to around 78 cents on the dollar after the Tuesday deal removed one of the last logjams in Puerto Rico’s nearly four-year journey through bankruptcy court. Roughly $400 million face amount of the bond changed hands Tuesday and Wednesday, making it one of the most actively traded securities in the municipal-bond market, according to data from Electronic Municipal Market Access.

Shares of the insurers that guaranteed payments on billions of dollars of Puerto Rico’s defaulted bonds also rose as the settlement removed some uncertainty about the amount of claims they would need to pay. MBIA Inc.’s stock has jumped around 13% this week, while Ambac Financial Group Inc.’s shares have gained about 7.2%.

Author(s): Matt Wirz

Publication Date: 24 February 2021

Publication Site: Wall Street Journal

COVID relief bill could save distressed union pensions


Congress is working on a lengthy bill for further COVID relief. One small portion of it is modeled on the union-backed Butch Lewis Act, which passed the U.S. House in 2019 but not the U.S. Senate. Butch Lewis would provide loans cash grants to union-sponsored multiemployer pension plans that are otherwise headed toward insolvency.

About one in 10 multi-employer pension plans are in that situation thanks to stock market losses and declining numbers of active employees in the plans, and the wellbeing of up to 1.3 million union members and spouses is at stake. Butch Lewis would shore up declining pensions and restore benefits that were cut by some pensions in an effort to forestall insolvency.

If Congress does nothing, the Central States Teamster Pension is expected to run out of money in 2025. That would lead the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) itself to become insolvent. PBGC is a government insurance agency that guarantees pension benefits.

Publication Date: 17 February 2021

Publication Site: nwLaborPress





State lawmakers should pursue the following:

Increase the public pensions funding target to 100% from 90% in accordance with actuarial best practices. The goal year for 100% funding would remain 2045.

Gradually increase retirement ages for current workers under age 45 by a maximum of five years.

Apply a pensionable salary cap of $100,000 that grows with inflation. Government workers could still earn more than $100,000, but their pensions could not be based on more than the cap. The cap would only apply to employees not currently receiving a retirement check.

Replace Tier 1 retirees’ 3% compounding benefit increase with true cost-of-living adjustments tied to inflation. Annual increases would be simple, not compounding, and rise with the consumer price index for urban consumers, as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Increase Tier 2 COLAs from half of inflation to full inflation. This would end the unfair subsidization of older workers by younger workers and could prevent a potential lawsuit.

Implement COLA holidays to allow inflation to catch up to past benefit increases. If a worker has been retired for eight years or more, they would skip every other year for 16 years for a total of eight adjustment periods at 0%. If a retiree has been receiving benefits for seven years, they would skip one payment every other year for 14 years, and so on.

Enroll all newly hired employees in a defined contribution personal retirement account with a 4% guaranteed employer match. This would ensure the state never gets into pension trouble again. This would also provide state workers with a portable retirement benefit they could take with them from employer to employer, rather than being forced to stay with the state in order to maximize retirement benefits.

Authors: Orphe Divounguy and Bryce Hill

Publication Date: 31 January 2021

Publication Site: Illinois Policy Institute

Puerto Rico bond negotiations slog toward seventh year



Negotiations on Puerto Rico?s central government and electric power authority debts have extended for several years, leaving participants with clashing views of the length of time they have taken and the lack of resolution of the island’s debts.

A Feb. 10 deadline looms for the Oversight Board to at least submit a bond deal resolution proposal and several participants expect progress in the coming year.

Since the signing of PROMESA, the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act, Puerto Rico has been hit or at least shaken by Hurricane Maria, political protests forcing the exit of Ricardo Rossell?, earthquakes, and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Author: Robert Slavin

Publication Date: 25 January 2021

Publication Site: Fidelity Fixed Income

Virgin Islands governor warns about worsening pension crisis



U.S. Virgin Islands Gov. Albert Bryan warned the territory’s underfunded pensions were becoming critical and said help is coming for the ailing power system.

Bryan addressed these and other financial topics in his annual state of the territory speech Tuesday evening.

The Virgin Islands government has about $3.35 billion of net pension liabilities.

“Last year, the Government Employees Retirement System sold off about $120 million in assets,” Bryan said. “There is now less than $455 million remaining in the portfolio. This year we will likely sell off even more. The system is in an accelerating death spiral. And for every day that goes by without taking definitive action to reverse the failing of the Government Retirement System, the decisions that ultimately need to be made become more painful and more costly.”

Author: Robert Slavin

Publication Date: 26 January 2021

Publication Site: Fidelity Fixed Income