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||Pension Cuts000727 W S J
||Pension Fraud Via Mergers A1a001227 W S J
||Pension Reform Business Says No
- Business Digs In Against Attempts
- To Reform Existing Pension Rules
||Companies Underfund Pensions
- A member of Congress named 13 companies the Labor
Department found had sharply underpaid pensions to workers after converting
defined-benefit pension plans into cash-balance programs.
- Cash-balance plan conversions are an increasingly common practice
as employers try to adapt their pension plans to the needs of a more mobile
work force. A defined benefit pension plan usually is based on a worker's
pay in the last few years before retirement. Cash-value plans, which generally
save employers money, use a formula that reflects a worker's pay throughout
his or her career.
- The report estimated 300 to 700 defined-benefit plans that have been
converted to cash-balance plans in the U.S. may be underpaying retirees by
between $85 million and $199 million annually
||Pension Underfunded N W Airlines961 M
- Two Northwest Airlines pension plans are underfunded by $961 million
because of stock market declines, low-interest rates on bonds and an increase
in paid benefits.
||Corp Mess Pension Corporate
- This year's stock market rally has added more than $100 billion to
corporate America's depleted pension funds, but even that has not been enough
to offset forces that continue to weaken the funds.
- they would have to plug a $259
billion gap in their pension funds
- A year ago, even though
stock prices were lower, the same companies were considerably closer to meeting
their obligations, being only $212 billion short.
||Pension Failures Foil 6-Figure Retirements, Too
had a 12-acre farm near Sacramento and a pension of $151,000 a year, his
payoff for years of working 70-hour weeks.
- Then three months later his company, Consolidated Freightways, filed
for bankruptcy and the federal government took over its pension plan. Mr.
Paulsen's pension fell to $22,000.
- As major airlines and old-line industrial companies use bankruptcy
to stay alive, or simply go out of business, many workers are being thrown
into a federal safety net that does not always protect them.
||Miners' Benefits Vanish With Bankruptcy Ruling
- a federal bankruptcy judge in Kentucky authorized
Cannelton's owner, Horizon Natural Resources, to terminate its collective
bargaining agreements with the United Mine Workers of America. And just like
that, Mr. Leake's guaranteed health insurance was gone.
||Companies Sue Union Retirees To Cut Promised Health Benefits
- The employer, beverage-can maker Rexam Inc., had agreed in labor
contracts to provide retirees with health-care coverage. But now the company
was asking a federal judge to rule that it could reduce or eliminate the
||When Pensions Change Hands, Retirees Can Be Lost in Shuffle
- "You must repay the overpayment of $18,363.44 in one lump sum by
January 31, 2005," said the letter from the pension administrator. "If you
are unable to make a one time lump sum repayment and wish to set up a repayment
plan, your payments are as follows: $1,530.29 per month for (12) months."
The letter added: "If you do not comply within the stated timeframe, the
plan sponsor may take additional steps," such as reporting the "overpayment"
to tax authorities or taking "more formal collection action against
- Mr. Craven is one of millions of pensioners whose benefits have been
shuffled around in corporate deal-making over the past two decades. And when
pensions get lost in the shuffling, retirees can find that the deck is stacked
against them. If a company says the pension should be smaller or not paid
at all, proving otherwise is up to the recipient -- no small burden for an
aging retiree who typically has little grasp of either federal benefits law
or corporate restructurings
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||How Wall Street Wrecked United's Pension
- While the money managers and other pension professionals who ran
United's pension plan walked away from the wreck unscathed - indeed, they
collected about $125 million in fees over the last five years alone, records
show - the ones who will have to pick up the bill for the advisers' collective
failure will be the airline's 130,000 employees and pensioners
- Pension investing is largely unregulated, even though the federal
government effectively covers the investment losses when a defined-benefit
||Whoops! There Goes Another Pension Plan
- ROBERT S. MILLER is a turnaround artist with a Dickensian twist.
He unlocks hidden value in floundering Rust Belt companies by jettisoning
their pension plans. His approach, copied by executives at airlines and other
troubled companies, can make the people who rely on him very rich. But it
may be creating a multibillion-dollar mess for taxpayers later.
- As chief executive of Bethlehem Steel in 2002, Mr. Miller shut down
the pension plan, leaving a federal program to meet the company's $3.7 billion
in unfunded obligations to retirees. That turned the moribund company into
a prime acquisition target. Wilbur L. Ross, a so-called vulture investor,
snapped it up, combined it with four other dying steel makers he bought at
about the same time, and sold the resulting company for $4.5 billion - a
return of more than 1,000 percent in just three years on the $400 million
he paid for all five companies.
- If past is prologue, one of the most powerful turnaround
tools at his disposal will be his ability to ditch Delphi's pension
||Verizon to Halt Pension Outlay for Managers
- the nation's second-largest telephone company, said yesterday that
it would freeze the guaranteed pension plan covering 50,000 of its managers
and expand their 401(k) plans instead
||I B Mchanges Pension Plan
- The company says it will shift pension plans to a 401(k) structure,
saving up to $3B over 5 years.
- The company -- along with many others in the United States -- is
moving away from more traditional defined benefit pension equity and cash
||Do the Math For Lost Pensions
- How much do I need to save to make up for pension benefits I was
expecting and now won't get? The answer, for tens of thousands of mid-career
workers, is a lot
- Now assume that the worker reaches age 50 this year and is earning
$70,000. If his pay goes up 3 percent every year, at 64 he will make $105,881,
and the average of his "high three" years will be $102,827.
- If the pension plan remained in place, his annual benefit would work
- $102,827 x 35 x 0.01 = $35,989
- But look what happens if the plan is frozen this year, making his
high-three average $67,980 and his years of service 20. His annual benefit,
beginning at age 65, would be:
- $67,980 x 20 x 0.01 = $13,596
- This would leave him with $22,393 a year to make up out of his 401(k).
VanDerhei figured that the worker would have to accumulate $299,536 in his
401(k) to buy an annuity "to fill in the gap created by the pension
||Shocks Seen in New Math for Pensions
- The board that writes accounting rules for American business is proposing
a new method of reporting pension obligations that is likely to show that
many companies have a lot more debt than was obvious before.
||Largest US Pension Plans Fall$217 Billion Short
- The nation's 100 largest corporate pension plans were underfunded
by $217 billion at the end of 2008, holding only 79% of the assets needed
to cover estimated long-term liabilities. That compares with an $86 billion
surplus 109% of estimated liabilities at the end of 2007, according
to Watson Wyatt, a human resources consulting firm.
||More Companies Freeze Pensions
- The number of companies that have frozen their traditional pension
plans has accelerated sharply this year, a trend that will likely continue
as companies wrestle with declining profits and poor investment
- Last week, Wells Fargo told its
employees that their pension plans will stop accruing benefits July 1.
- More companies will freeze their pension plans unless Congress
temporarily relaxes the funding requirements
||Brandeis Halts Retirement Payments - NYTimes.com
- Buffeted earlier this year by the outcry over its plans to raise
money by closing its art museum and selling the collection, Brandeis University
said this week that it would suspend payments to the retirement accounts
of faculty and staff members starting in July.
||States act to curb 'double dipping'
- States pummeled by the recession and heavy job losses are moving
to bar government employees from "double dipping" the practice of
collecting a pension and a paycheck at the same time.
- Jon Greiner retired as police chief of Ogden, Utah, in 2002 to start
collecting benefits, then immediately returned to his job. Greiner, also
a state senator, says there's nothing wrong with that arrangement, and that
lawmakers shouldn't use the laws to punish public employees. He is currently
paid $107,000 annually as police chief; he estimated he makes about $4,000
a month from the pension.
- Utah identified more than 4,300 public
- Florida found more than 9,000
- The nation's state and local retirement systems lost about $800 billion
- An audit
this year for Utah lawmakers suggested that double dipping by employees there
could cost the state as much as $900 million over the next decade
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