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April 2018 Pension Finance Update

Higher interest rates boosted pension finances in April. Both model pension plans we track gained ground last month – traditional Plan A gained more than 1% in April while the more conservative Plan B improved less than 1%. For the year, Plan A is now 4%-5% ahead, while Plan B is up almost 1%.

Court Rejects Segal Blend for Withdrawal Liability Calculations

Last week, there was good news for withdrawing employers from multiemployer pension plans. In The New York Times Company v Newspaper and Mail Deliverers’ – Publishers’ Pension Fund, Judge Robert W. Sweet in the Southern District of New York issued what to us is a fairly stunning decision, but one that we tend to support….Read More

The PBGC Premium Burden

PBGC premiums are one of the costliest components of a company’s Defined Benefit plan. For many plans these premiums are in excess of 1% of assets annually. As PBGC premiums continue to rise, managing these premiums has become critical for Plan Sponsors of DB plans. For the second year in a row we have analyzed…Read More

March 2018 Pension Finance Update

Pension sponsors saw funded status slip in March, due to lower interest rates and stock market losses. Both model pension plans we track1 lost ground last month- traditional Plan A lost 2% while the more conservative Plan B lost less than 1%. For the year, Plan A remains almost 3% ahead, while Plan B is…Read More

Court dismisses Financial Engines-related claims against Aon Hewitt

On March 19, 2018, the District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, in Scott v. Aon Hewitt Financial Advisors, et al., dismissed plaintiff’s claims against Aon Hewitt (Hewitt) and Aon Hewitt Financial Advisors (AFA) that investment advice arrangements between Hewitt, AFA and Financial Engines violated ERISA’s fiduciary and prohibited transaction rules. In this article…Read More

Fifth Circuit vacates DOL Fiduciary Rule

On March 15, 2018, in a 2-1 decision, a 3-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled for plaintiffs in Chamber Of Commerce of the United States of America, et al. v. United States Department of Labor, vacating in toto the Department of Labor’s Fiduciary Rule. In this article we briefly review the…Read More

February 2018 Pension Finance Update

February was a difficult month for investments, but a so-so month for pension finance due to higher interest rates. Both model pension plans we track1 were close to flat last month. For the year, Plan A remains 5% ahead, while Plan B is up 1%: Assets Stocks suffered their worst month in over two years…Read More

Current legislation: Neal Automatic Retirement Plan proposal

In our last article we discussed Congressman Neal’s (D-MA) Retirement Plan Simplification and Enhancement Act, introduced in the House at the end of last year. In this article we discuss his Automatic Retirement Plan Act of 2017 (“Automatic Plan bill”), introduced at the same time, which would (with some very limited exceptions) require every US…Read More

Current legislation: Neal Simplification Proposal

We begin a brief series on current retirement saving legislation. This is an election year, and it’s unclear that any retirement policy legislation will move in this Congress. But there are a number retirement policy issues on which there is bipartisan consensus (at a minimum) that something should be done – including, e.g., improving 401(k)…Read More

Budget deal retirement savings provisions

The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 (BBA 2018), the budget deal recently negotiated by Congressional leadership and signed into law by President Trump on February 9, 2018, includes provisions easing 401(k) hardship withdrawal rules and creating a bipartisan committee to address the multiemployer plan crisis. Elimination of the 6-month contribution holdout rule for hardship withdrawals…Read More