Pension News

The Pension Finance Task Force sent a letter to the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) that provides suggestions, based on financial economics, to improve accounting for single employer pension plans, an issue that FASB may consider revisiting. (September 26, 2013)
The Pension Committee sent comments to the Internal Revenue Service regarding the Annual Return/Report of Employee Benefit Plan (Form 5500) that focus on the electronic submission of data on Schedules SB and MB. The committee applauds the electronic filing mandate, but raises concerns over how to ensure reliability of the data and suggests sample reviews to ensure better accuracy. (September 23, 2013)
Joint Committee on Retiree Health submits comments to the Actuarial Standards Board on revisions to a second exposure draft of ASOP No. 6, Measuring Retiree Group Benefits Obligations and Determining Retiree Group Benefits Program Periodic Costs or Prefunding Contributions. (August 30, 2013)
Health and Pension Practice Council sent a letter to the Actuarial Standards Board on coordinating Actuarial Standards of Practice (ASOP) affecting pension and retiree group benefits. (August 30, 2013)
The Pension Committee published an issue brief addressing the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation’s deficit in its single-employer program.  The issue brief concludes that the agency’s methods and assumptions have produced a reasonable representation of the PBGC single-employer program’s current obligation and deficit.  The issue brief explains that while policymakers should explore new sources of income to address the deficit, immediate premium increases on plan sponsors are unnecessary and potentially counterproductive. Read the news release. (August 22, 2013)
The Social Security Committee updated its annual issue brief on the 2013 Social Security Trustees Report that outlined the trust fund’s current financial status, long-range estimates of the program’s solvency, and the need to reform the program to ensure sustainable solvency. (August 12, 2013)
The Pension Committee submitted its views to the Department of Labor regarding the agency’s proposal to add lifetime-income information to pension benefit statements. The committee commended the DOL for requiring lifetime income disclosures under section 105 of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 and offered comments on specific topics, including assumed rates of return, drawdown illustrations, and projected retirement ages. (August 7, 2013)
Senior Pension Fellow Don Fuerst responded by letter to additional questions asked by Chairman Johnson of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security. The letter, related to Mr. Fuerst’s May 23 testimony to the subcommittee, provided further analysis on changing the benefit formula of Social Security, and modifying the program’s early and full retirement ages. (July 31, 2013)
The Academy hosted a briefing on the need for retirees to secure a lifetime income. The briefing, "Risky Business: Living Longer Without Income for Life," coincides with the June 19 release of the Lifetime Income Risk Joint Task Force’s discussion paper. The Academy briefed policy makers on how improved life expectancy affects planning for retirement; the challenges to ensuring lifetime income; and potential solutions to the risk of outliving one's income, including emphasizing financial literacy and education, refocusing retirement plan design, and developing policies that support lifetime income needs. (June 27, 2013)
The American Academy of Actuaries will host a June 27 Capitol Hill briefing that will examine the financial risks of increased lifespans, and the need for retirees to secure lifetime income. The Academy’s Lifetime Income Initiative is part of its continuing effort to provide objective, unbiased information to serve the public and the United States actuarial profession. (June 20, 2013)
The Academy’s Lifetime Income Risk Joint Task Force, composed of actuaries from the life and pension practice areas, has released its discussion paper, Risky Business: Living Longer Without Income for Life. The discussion paper focuses on the issue of ensuring retirees secure income that lasts their entire lifetime and discusses potential solutions through changes in education, plan design, and federal retirement policy. Read the news release. (June 19, 2013)
The Pension Committee submitted comments to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) regarding its proposed rule on reportable events under ERISA Section 4043. (June 3, 2013)
The Pension Committee submitted comments to the Actuarial Standards Board on revisions to ASOP No. 4, Measuring Pension Obligations and Determining Pension Plan Costs or Contributions. (May 31, 2013)
The Pension Finance Task Force submitted comments to the Actuarial Standards Board on revisions to ASOP No. 4, Measuring Pension Obligations and Determining Pension Plan Costs or Contributions. (May 31, 2013)
Senior Pension Fellow Donald Fuerst testified at a House Committee on Ways and Means Subcommittee hearing on Social Security that examined bipartisan proposals to adjust Social Security benefits and their impacts on the program’s solvency, beneficiaries, workers, and the economy. Fuerst said that raising the full retirement age could help mitigate Social Security’s long-range financial problems and that addressing Social Security’s solvency now would permit more modest changes to be phased in gradually. (May 23, 2013)
Read about the Academy’s pension policy activities in this issue. (May 23, 2013)
The Academy sent a letter to the president and Congressional leaders today regarding the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission. The letter encourages them to appoint at least one qualified actuary to the newly-established commission. Appointing a qualified actuary would ensure that the commission has among its members an individual who can provide actuarial expertise on policy proposals, especially related to retirement programs. (April 22, 2013)
In a news release, the Academy said it recognizes the importance of the issues addressed by newly introduced Congressional legislation and offered its public policy resources to legislators, regulators and other stakeholders at the federal, state and local levels to assist them in understanding the nature of the risks related to the financial soundness of state and local government public pension benefit plans. (April 19, 2013)
Academy President Cecil Bykerk responds with a letter to the editors of The Wall Street Journal to an April 10 op-ed, “The Pension Rate-of-Return Fantasy,” regarding pension funding and expected rates of return. (April 12, 2013)
The Pension Committee released an issue brief recommending changes that will allow private sector defined benefit plans to raise their normal retirement age above 65 to better align with Social Security. Read the news release. (March 7, 2013)