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H.R. 4: The Pension Protection Act

Description: This report discusses the Pension Protection Act (PPA) reforms and the funding rules for defined benefit pensions; requires employers to disclose more information about pension funding; restricts benefit payments and accruals in underfunded plans; and clarifies, prospectively, that cash balance pension plans do not violate legal prohibitions on age discrimination in employee benefits.
Date: September 27, 2006
Creator: Purcell, Patrick
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Pension Plans: Additional Transparency and Other Actions Needed in Connection with Proxy Voting

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "In 1998, about 100 million Americans were covered in private pension plans with assets totaling about $4 trillion. The retirement security of plan participants can be affected by how certain issues are voted on during company stockholders meetings. Fiduciaries, having responsibility for voting on such issues on behalf of some plan participants (proxy voting), are to act solely in the interest of participants. Recent corporate scandals reveal that fiduciaries can be faced with conflicts of interest that could lead them to breach this duty. Because of the potential adverse effects such a breach may have on retirement plan assets, we were asked to describe (1) conflicts of interest in the proxy voting system, (2) actions taken to manage them, and (3) DOL's enforcement of proxy voting requirements."
Date: August 10, 2004
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Pension Plans: Characteristics of Persons in the Labor Force Without Pension Coverage

Description: A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the: (1) portion of the labor force without pension coverage and how that proportion has changed over the past decade; (2) characteristics of workers in that labor force; and (3) proportion and characteristics of retired people who lack pension income or pension assets."
Date: August 22, 2000
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Impact of the 1986 and 1987 Qualified Plan Regulation on Firms' Decision to Switch from Defined Benefit to Defined Contribution for Plans Larger than 100 Participants

Description: The purpose of this research was to examine the United States population of plans with over 100 participants to determine the extent of the reaction away from defined benefit plans resulting from the 1986 and 1987 legislation.
Date: December 1993
Creator: Bradley, Linda Jacobsen
Partner: UNT Libraries

Defined Benefit Pension Plans: Guidance Needed to Better Inform Plans of the Challenges and Risks of Investing in Hedge Funds and Private Equity

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Millions of retired Americans rely on defined benefit pension plans for their financial well-being. Recent reports have noted that some plans are investing in 'alternative' investments such as hedge funds and private equity funds. This has raised concerns, given that these two types of investments have qualified for exemptions from federal regulations, and could present more risk to retirement assets than traditional investments. To better understand this trend and its implications, GAO was asked to examine (1) the extent to which plans invest in hedge funds and private equity; (2) the potential benefits and challenges of hedge fund investments; (3) the potential benefits and challenges of private equity investments; and (4) what mechanisms regulate and monitor pension plan investments in hedge funds and private equity. To answer these questions GAO interviewed relevant federal agencies, public and private pension plans, industry groups and investment professionals, and analyzed available survey data."
Date: August 14, 2008
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

State and Local Government Pension Plans: Economic Downturn Spurs Efforts to Address Costs and Sustainability

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Despite the recent economic downturn, most large state and local government pension plans have assets sufficient to cover benefit payments to retirees for a decade or more. However, pension plans still face challenges over the long term due to the gap between assets and liabilities. In the past, some plan sponsors have not made adequate plan contributions or have granted unfunded benefit increases, and many suffered from investment losses during the economic downturn. The resulting gap between asset values and projected liabilities has led to steady increases in the actuarially required contribution levels needed to help sustain pension plans at the same time state and local governments face other fiscal pressures."
Date: March 2, 2012
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Defined Benefit Pension Plans: Recent Developments Highlight Challenges of Hedge Fund and Private Equity Investing

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "While plan representatives GAO contacted generally stated that their hedge fund and private equity investments met expectations in recent years, a number of plans experienced losses and other challenges, such as limited liquidity and transparency. National data indicated that hedge fund and private equity investments were significantly affected by the 2008-2009 financial crisis, and plans and experts GAO contacted indicated that pension plan investments were not insulated from losses. Most of the 22 plan representatives GAO interviewed said that their hedge fund investments met expectations overall, despite, in some cases, significant losses during the financial crisis. A few plan representatives, however, expected hedge fund investments to be much more resilient in turbulent markets, and found the losses disappointing. Given the long-term nature of private equity investments, almost all of the representatives were generally satisfied with these investments over the last 5 years. Some plan representatives described significant difficulties in hedge fund and private equity investing related to limited liquidity and transparency, and the negative impact of the actions of other investors in the fund—sometimes referred to as co-investors. For example, representatives from one plan reported they were unable to cash out of their hedge fund investments due to discretionary withdrawal restrictions imposed by the fund manager, requiring them to sell some of their stock holdings at a severe loss in order to pay plan benefits."
Date: February 16, 2012
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Defined Benefit Pension Plans: Plans Face Challenges When Investing in Hedge Funds and Private Equity

Description: A statement of record issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Millions of Americans rely on retirement savings plans for their financial well-being in retirement. Plan sponsors are increasingly investing in assets such as hedge funds (privately administered pooled investment vehicles that typically engage in active trading strategies) and private equity funds (privately managed investment pools that typically make long-term investments in private companies). Given ongoing market challenges, it is important that plan fiduciaries apply best practices, and choose wisely when investing plans assets to ensure that plans are adequately funded to meet future promised benefits. This statement addresses (1) what is known about the extent to which defined benefit plans have invested in hedge funds and private equity, (2) challenges that such plans face in investing in hedge funds and private equity, (3) steps that plan sponsors can take to address these challenges, and (4) the implications of these challenges for plan sponsors and the federal government."
Date: August 31, 2011
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

State and Local Government Pension Plans: Governance Practices and Long-term Investment Strategies Have Evolved Gradually as Plans Take On Increased Investment Risk

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Recent market declines have significantly diminished the asset value of state and local pension plans. Reported unfunded liabilities for these plans are estimated in the hundreds of billions of dollars. As a result, in the long term, these governments may need to make significant fiscal adjustments such as modifying employee benefits, or increasing contributions to plans. They may also alter investment strategies to attempt to maximize returns by assuming increased risk. Consequently, GAO was asked to examine: (1) who makes investment decisions for state and local defined benefit pension plans and what guides their decision making; (2) how plans allocate their assets and manage their investments; and (3) practices that plans are using to meet a range of challenges in governance, investment, or funding. To address these objectives, GAO reviewed relevant literature, interviewed experts in pension and retirement systems, conducted a survey of state and local plans, and performed more detailed reviews of plans in seven states."
Date: August 24, 2010
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Information Content of Pension Fund Asset Reversion

Description: Prior studies on the impact of the termination of overfunded defined benefit pension plans on shareholders' wealth have produced conflicting findings. The first study on the stock market reaction to pension plan termination was conducted by Alderson and Chen (1986); this study claimed that shareholders realize significant positive abnormal returns around the termination announcement date. A more recent study, by Moore and Pruitt (1990), disclaimed the findings of Alderson and Chen. Reexamination of these two studies with additional evidence and the use of the appropriate announcement date suggests that termination of pension plans is associated with significant wealth gain to shareholders. This study also analyzes samples from periods prior to and after the imposition in 1986 of a 10 percent excise tax on recaptured excess pension assets. The empirical results suggest that shareholders experience significant positive wealth effects for the pre-tax (1980-85) period and no wealth effects for the post-tax (1986-88) period. The primary purpose of this study is to determine the impact of stock market reaction upon shareholders' wealth under the partial anticipation hypothesis. The pre-tax sample is analyzed by isolating the expected terminators using the multiple discriminant analysis model. This study finds significant positive abnormal returns only for firms that are not anticipated by the investors as potential terminators. The results of this study do not lend support to either the "separation" or the "integration" hypothesis as proposed by Alderson and Chen (1986). Instead, the results are consistent with the information hypothesis that the market reacts to unanticipated events that provide new information. Cross-sectional regression analysis of unexpected terminators suggests that the abnormal performance of stocks of pension terminating firms is explained by the firms' debt ratio and the amount of surplus pension assets. It can be inferred that firms may resort to recapturing excess pension assets as ...
Date: August 1992
Creator: Shetty, Shekar T.
Partner: UNT Libraries

State Pension Plans: Similarities and Differences Between Federal and State Designs

Description: A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "GAO provided information on the: (1) design components of retirement programs that states offer to their general employees and compared them to the design components of the two principal retirement programs for federal employees; and (2) changes states have considered and made to their retirement programs."
Date: March 19, 1999
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Defined Benefit Pension Plans: Plans Face Valuation and Other Challenges When Investing in Hedge Funds and Private Equity

Description: Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Millions of Americans rely on private or public defined benefit pension plans, which promise to pay retirement benefits that are generally based on an employee's salary and years of service. Plan sponsors are increasingly investing in "alternative" assets such as hedge funds and private equity. This has raised concerns, given that these two types of investments have qualified for exemptions from some federal regulations and could present more risk to retirement assets than traditional investments. This testimony discusses (1) the extent to which defined benefit plans have invested in hedge funds and private equity, (2) challenges that such plans face in investing in hedge funds and private equity, (3) steps that plan sponsors can take to address these challenges, and (4) the implications of these challenges for the federal government. To prepare this statement, GAO relied primarily on its published reports on hedge funds and private equity (GAO-08-692 and GAO-08-200), and obtained new data on the extent of plan investments in hedge funds and private equity. GAO has previously recommended that the Secretary of Labor provide guidance designed to help ERISA fiduciaries better assess their ability to invest in hedge funds and private equity. Labor generally agreed with our recommendation, but has yet to take action."
Date: July 20, 2010
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

State and Local Government Pension Plans: Current Structure and Funded Status

Description: Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Millions of state and local government employees are promised pension benefits when they retire. Although these benefits are not subject, for the most part, to federal laws governing private sector benefits, there is a federal interest in ensuring that all American have a secure retirement, as reflected in the special tax treatment provided for private and public pension funds. Recently, new accounting standards have called for the reporting of liabilities for future retiree health benefits. It is unclear what actions state and local governments may take once the extent of these liabilities become clear but such anticipated fiscal and economic challenges have raised questions about the unfunded liabilities for state and local retiree benefits, including pension benefits. GAO was asked to report on (1) the current structure of state and local government pension plans and how pension benefits are protected and managed, and (2) the current funded status of state and local government pension plans. GAO spoke to a wide range of public experts and officials from various federal and nongovernmental entities, made several site visits and gathered detailed information about state benefits, and analyzed self-reported data on the funded status of state and local pension plans from the Public Fund Survey and Public Pension Coordinating Council."
Date: July 10, 2008
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Pension Plans: IRS Programs for Resolving Deviations From Tax-Exemption Requirements

Description: A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Internal Revenue Service's (IRS) programs for resolving pension-plan deviations from tax-exemption requirements, focusing on: (1) the frequency and types of pension plan qualification failures that were detected and corrected through IRS audits; (2) the frequency and types of pension plan qualification failures that were identified by pension plan sponsors and reported to IRS for approval of the correction; (3) the sanctions established under IRS' audit program with the compliance fees that could have been imposed if the same qualification failures had been self-reported by the pension plans to IRS; and (4) whether any cost-effective means, other than pension plan audits, have been identified that would detect unreported qualification failures."
Date: August 14, 2000
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

[TDNA Pension Plan Information]

Description: A pension plan information for the Texas Daily Newspaper Association board of directors meeting to be held on July 13, 2006. The document states that talks of a new remodeled pension plan must be discusses at the next TDNA meeting as the current pension plan benefited former TDNA member Phil Berkebile and it no longer suits the association's needs.
Date: July 5, 2006
Creator: Texas Daily Newspaper Association
Partner: UNT Libraries Special Collections

[News Clip: Simms on pensions]

Description: Video footage from the WBAP-TV television station in Fort Worth, Texas to accompany a news story. This story aired at 10 P.M.
Date: March 9, 1971
Creator: WBAP-TV (Television station : Fort Worth, Tex.)
Partner: UNT Libraries Special Collections

[News Clip: Women's Pension]

Description: Video footage from the KXAS-TV/NBC station in Fort Worth, Texas, to accompany a news story. This story aired at 10:00 P.M.
Date: August 19, 1997
Creator: KXAS-TV (Television station : Fort Worth, Tex.)
Partner: UNT Libraries Special Collections