The June issue of Milliman’s DB Digest summarizes the benefit statement requirements of the Pension Protection Act (PPA) that are related to defined benefit (DB) plans and explores some considerations to help individuals determine the best alternatives for both plan sponsors and plan participants.
Read this month’s DB Digest here and share it with your colleagues.
The Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) yesterday announced they have approve two new standards that will substantially improve the accounting and financial reporting of public employee pensions by state and local governments. The press release is available here. Here is an excerpt from the release:
“The new standards will improve the way state and local governments report their pension liabilities and expenses, resulting in a more faithful representation of the full impact of these obligations,” said GASB Chairman Robert H. Attmore. “Among other improvements, net pension liabilities will be reported on the balance sheet, providing citizens and other users of these financial reports with a clearer picture of the size and nature of the financial obligations to current and former employees for past services rendered.”
More key retirement-related regulatory news for plan sponsors to monitor, including links to detailed information.
IRS issues proposed regulations under the anti-cutback rules of Section 411(d)(6)
The Internal Revenue Service has issued proposed regulations that would provide guidance under the anti-cutback rules of Section 411(d)(6) of the Internal Revenue Code, which generally prohibit plan amendments eliminating or reducing accrued benefits, early retirement benefits, retirement-type subsidies, and optional forms of benefit under qualified retirement plans. These proposed regulations would provide an additional limited exception to the anti-cutback rules to permit a plan sponsor that is a debtor in a bankruptcy proceeding to amend its single-employer defined benefit (DB) plan to eliminate a single-sum distribution option (or other optional form of benefit providing for accelerated payments) under the plan if certain specified conditions are satisfied.
Longevity poses a challenge for retirees with defined contribution plans, because there is always risk of someone outliving his or her savings. A new application for defined benefit plans as a supplement to defined contribution plans may help provide longevity protection.
In his new article on MoneyManagementIntelligence.com, Zorast Wadia outlines this approach, known as a “longevity plan.” Here’s an excerpt explaining how such a retirement model would work:
“In order for the longevity plan concept to succeed, it will need to provide annuity protection to plan participants, be relatively easy to understand and administer and be affordable to plan sponsors. To accomplish the goals of longevity protection and cost reduction, some changes will be necessary to current pension laws including allowing employers to limit plan participation to later ages (e.g. age 45 and beyond) and defer benefit commencement to later ages (e.g. age 75 and beyond). To allow for ease of administration while still offering longevity protection, forms of payment would need to be limited to life and joint and survivor annuity options. The longevity plan would also eliminate investment risk since annuitants would receive guaranteed employer-funded benefits from the longevity DB plan. With the longevity DB plan in place, participants would be free to adjust their investment strategy with respect to benefits accruing from their DC plans. Participants with a higher risk tolerance could invest more aggressively with respect to their individual savings accounts.”
Previous Milliman Insight articles have also assessed longevity plans. “Saving for retirement: What can employers do?” discusses how a “layered longevity plan can potentially ensure that people do not outlive their retirement balances for an uncertain duration.”
For more perspectives on longevity risk and retirement planning read our four-part retirement landscape series, where our team of Milliman consultants accesses the array of risks facing retirees and plan sponsors, and provides feasible solutions to them.
News and views centered on defined benefit (DB) plans were the focus of our latest Retirement Town Hall discussions. If you weren’t able to read our posts as they were published, don’t fret, we have you covered.
Pension gains evaporate in May
June’s Pension Funding Index was released earlier this month, revealing that a $30 billion decline in assets and a $60 billion increase in liabilities in May combined to erase year-to-date gains in the pension funded status of the nation’s largest 100 defined benefit plans. Read the complete roundup of June’s pension funding index.
Milliman’s John Ehrhardt spoke to the Wall Street Journal and offered his perspective on GM’s decision to lock in high pension obligations. The company will make a lump sum payment option available to about 42,000 salaried retirees and enroll the remainder of salaried retirees into a group annuity purchased from Prudential Insurance Co.