Public Employee Pension Plans

Foundation Publication Search Results

These summaries were compiled from Foundation Publications Search, a database of articles, research reports and books published by the International Foundation and the International Society of Certified Employee Benefit Specialists.


The Complexities Inherent in Forum Choice and Human Rights Claims.
Epp, Erin; Plans & Trusts; v35 no6 pp 30-31 Nov-Dec 2017; journal article

Availability :
Abstract : The decision in Bassett v. Treasury Board (Correctional Service of Canada), a 2017 case arising out of the Public Service Labour Relations and Employment Board Act, demonstrates the importance of choosing the appropriate forum for a claim and illustrates some of the difficulties in utilizing human rights legislation for pension and benefit issues.
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Domestic Impact Investing.
Lankin, Thalia; White, Lesyllee; Benefits Magazine; v54 no10 pp 18-24 Oct 2017; journal article

Availability : International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans
Abstract : Investing in domestic and local projects that rebuild infrastructure and create jobs and affordable housing may help Taft-Hartley and public pension plans improve returns while also serving the interests of their participants.
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Building a Strong Retirement Program: One for the AGES.
Keener, Eric; Goldman, Ted; Benefits Quarterly; v33 no3 pp 32-37 3rd Qtr 2017; journal article

Availability : International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans
Abstract : The Forward Thinking Task Force of the American Academy of Actuaries developed the Retirement for the AGES framework to provide a straightforward and unbiased way to assess and compare different retirement security proposals. This article discusses factors impacting retirement security in the future, explains the Retirement for the AGES framework, and shows how AGES assessments have been applied to the traditional defined benefit system, safe harbor defined contribution plans, the South Dakota Retirement System, the New Brunswick Shared Risk Model, and the USA Retirement Funds proposal. The AGES assessments reveal how difficult it is to design an ideal retirement program that would balance many competing needs and objectives. They also show that it is possible to improve on the current system. As the United States begins to address its growing retirement challenges, this framework will be a useful and important tool to compare and assess various proposals.
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What's Working: Boosting Retirement Readiness.
Benefits Magazine; v54 no4 pp 10-11 Apr 2017; journal article

Availability : International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans
Abstract : In December 2016, when many are focused on giving gifts to others, a Michigan public retirement system reminded plan participants to give a gift to themselves: a secure retirement.
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Transit Authority' s Pension Plan Not Subject to ERISA.
Benefits Magazine; v53 no11 p 64 Nov 2016; journal article

Availability : International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans
Abstract : The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirms a district court finding that the defendant transit management company's pension plan was a governmental plan and, therefore, exempt from protection under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).
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Benefit Trends: Benefits a Big Part of Compensation.
Held, Justin; Benefits Magazine; v53 no7 pp 8-10 Jul 2016; journal article

Availability : International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans
Abstract : Employee benefit offerings remain a critical component of the employment relationship, providing security for workers, while acting as a recruitment, retention and engagement tool for employers. Benefits comprise a significant percentage of total employee compensation--as much as 60 percent in some organizations, according to the International Foundation's fifth "Employee Benefits Survey."
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Illinois Law Reducing Chicago Employee Pensions Unconstitutional.
Benefits Quarterly; v32 no3 pp 55-56 3rd Qtr 2016; journal article

Availability : International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans
Abstract : Under Illinois Constitution creating contractual right to public pension benefits, state law addressing significant underfunding of Chicago city employee pensions was held to be unconstitutional because it reduced benefit levels from what had been promised to city employees.
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Pension Forfeiture Can Constitute A Fine.
Benefits Quarterly; v32 no3 pp 53-54 3rd Qtr 2016; journal article

Availability : International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans
Abstract : Supreme Judicial Court holds that police officer's pension forfeiture constitutes an excessive fine in violation of U.S. Constitution.
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What's Working: Improving Women's Retirement Security.
Vogel, Chris; Benefits Magazine; v53 no5 pp 11-13 May 2016; journal article

Availability : International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans
Abstract : A year ago, as a campaign to improve women's retirement security was kicking off with a live presentation in Wisconsin's capital, organizers felt like they were "throwing a party not knowing if anyone would show up."
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Benefit Trends: Communications a High Priority... But Often Not Read.
Mrkvicka, Neil; Benefits Magazine; v53 no4 pp 8-9 Apr 2016; journal article

Availability : International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans
Abstract : Although plan members are asking more questions about their health care and retirement benefits, many still are not opening or reading communication materials, a recent International Foundation survey shows.
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Employee Benefits Survey: 2016 Results
Held, Justin; Mrkvicka, Neil; Stich, Julie; 70 pp 2016; survey

Availability : International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans
Abstract : Results of the fifth comprehensive benchmarking survey conducted by the International Foundation. Includes data on pension and retirement plans, health care benefits and other benefits, such as life insurance, work/life benefits and time off, for three distinct sectors in the U.S.—corporations (including professional service firms), public employers and multiemployer benefit plans. Responses were gathered from members of the Foundation and the International Society of Certified Employee Benefit Specialists during 2016.
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Public Employee Retirement Plan Changes: Did Results Match Expectations?
Stich, Julie; Benefits Magazine; v52 no12 pp 20-27 Dec 2015; journal article

Availability : International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans
Abstract : Many public retirement systems have begun to make changes in the face of liability and/or poor plan management. Michigan, Alaska, and West Virginia have taken unique approaches to their retirement systems. Traditionally, defined benefit (DB) pension plans have been paramount in public employee retirement security, but demographic and economic changes have created challenges for public employee retirement systems, creating the need for systemic change. These three states implemented mandatory or semi-mandatory defined contribution (DC) plans in an attempt to mitigate these challenges. Michigan and Alaska chose DC plans and while data on overall cost and employee retention is limited, these states have seen mixed results. Alternately, West Virginia had long been on a DC plan, but switched to a DB plan after data showed it to be slightly cheaper per retiree. For all three states, according to stakeholders, retirement security is the ultimate goal.
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What's Working: Retirement Education.
Vogel, Chris; Benefits Magazine; v52 no12 pp 11-12; journal article

Availability : International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans
Abstract : Many workers, especially educators and other public employees, do not begin thinking about their retirement until they reach their 40s. Getting people to think about retirement at an early age, even as children, has become a priority for the Wyoming Retirement System (WRS). Initially, the WRS focused exclusively on teachers, but found value in teaching these skills to their students. The result, as orchestrated by plan manager Polly Scott, was Sonja Meets Her Future Self, a book designed to help young children understand the importance of retirement planning. This, along with other programs and exercises, have people in Wyoming thinking more substantially about their retirement plans at an earlier age.
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Technology-Enhanced Benefits Education: What's Working.
Bergstrom, Kathy; Benefits Magazine; v52 no11 pp 11-13 Nov 2015; journal article

Availability : International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans
Abstract : The New York State Teachers' Retirement System (NYSTRS) continues to add different interaction channels to serve its 430,000 participants. Responsible for coordinating interaction methods, the Information and Communication Center (ICC) added secure messaging as an option in 2014 to enable participants to safely convey personal information. Live calls are prioritized in a cue over email and secure messages to get fast response. Streamlined responses are aided by a customer relationship management system that maintains a participant's contact history and by customizable message templates. The ICC developed a mobile app and video conferencing service and plans to add web chat capability and expanded self-service options for participants and employers.
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Best Practices for Public Sector DC Plans.
Overly, Keith; Studebaker, Michael J.; Benefits Magazine; v52 no8 pp 42-47 Aug 2015; journal article

Availability : International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans
Abstract : The Defined Contribution Best Practices Guide, published by the National Association of Government Defined Contribution Administrators, identifies six major areas that deserve attention and resources. For plan administration prime considerations are choosing a bundled or unbundled service approach and using consultants to supplement staff skills. Strong plan governance starts with a board or committee with specific responsibilities and accepting fiduciary responsibility. Plan design covers numerous aspects related to participant services, plan features and investments. Communication and participant education are geared to helping plan participants understand the plan, tax implications and effective saving for retirement. Plan sponsors also need continuing education on industry issues and regulatory developments. Changes in plan service providers are likely over time and require planning for a smooth transition.
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Defined Contribution Plans: Growing and Evolving.
Obed, Kweku; Benefits Magazine; v52 no7 pp 14-20 Jul 2015; journal article

Availability : International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans
Abstract : As defined benefit (DB) pension plans decline in numbers and assets, defined contribution (DC) plans soar with about triple DB plans' assets and increasing numbers of U.S. workers relying on DC plan savings. Beyond the effects of the Pension Protection Act and plan growth, best practices in DC plan governance have been affected by behavioral finance. Plan fiduciaries serve participants by designing features to promote their informed decision making. Useful features include a streamlined investment menu with a tiered structure, targeted communications and automatic enrollment and escalation. Messages should be tailored to specific audiences, especially single women and others whose involvement has been marginal. Plan data analytics through a recordkeeper can illuminate trends and demographic subgroup behavior.
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Fiduciary Duties in the Public Sector.
Bartels, P. Brian; Schembari, John E.; Benefits Magazine; v52 no4 pp 34-39 Apr 2015; journal article

Availability : International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans
Abstract : For governmental retirement plan fiduciaries, no single source describes all duties. These fiduciaries can turn to ERISA for general guidance and a definition of fiduciary but must also be aware of relevant state statutes, plan documents and the common law. State constitutions and statutes, judicial opinions and plan documents pertain to fiduciary duties. The general fiduciary duties of loyalty and prudence apply for essentially all governmental plans, and certain states add specific fiduciary duties, such as California's directive to diversify investments. Trustees may delegate duties if permitted by the plan document and then supervise the delegates. While cofiduciary roles may be split, each cofiduciary may be liable for others' actions under certain circumstances.
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Conversation With Randi Weingarten.
Vogel, Chris; Benefits Magazine; v52 no1 p 10 Jan 2015; journal article

Availability : International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans
Abstract : Multiemployer and public employee pension funds can play an important role in funding infrastructure projects that put construction workers back to work, according to Randi Weingarten, president since 2008 of the 1.6 million-member American Federation of Teachers (AFT), AFL-CIO.
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Mandatory Retirement Is Discriminatory, Despite Bona Fide Pension Plan.
Harnum, James; Plans & Trusts; v33 no1 pp 22-23, 26 Jan 2015; journal article

Availability : International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans
Abstract : In the case of Holland v. Tri-County Regional School Board, a bus driver asked permission to continue working through the school year after he reached the normal retirement age of 65 and to continue for a few years. The pension plan defined normal retirement age as 65 years but allowed retirement to be postponed annually up to age 71, at the employer's discretion. The employer relied strictly on the collective agreement, which was inconsistent with the plan document and required retirement at the end of the school year when the employee turns age 65. The Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission Board of Inquiry considered the implications of a bona fide pension plan being subject to human rights legislation, as addressed in New Brunswick (Human Rights Commission) v. Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc. It ruled that while the plan under consideration was bona fide, its terms and conditions prevail over the collective agreement and must be applied in compliance with the Human Rights Act, avoiding age discrimination.
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Employee Benefits in Canada.
Zigler, Mark, D.; Hunter, Cameron; Gold, Murray; Mazzuca, Michael; Tomassini, Roberto; 615 pp 4th ed. 2015; book

Availability : International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans
Abstract : A survey report on educational benefits offered by International Foundation members across the United States. The survey evaluates the most prevalent types of educational assistance/tuition reimbursement benefit programs offered by single and public employers, along with the characteristics of offerings, progress requirements and limitations and future strategies and implications.
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What, Me Worry? What Contributions Qualify as "Proceeds of Municipal Securities" for Purposes of the Municipal Advisors Rule.
Lieberman, Marc R.; Lasee, Mark E.; Benefits Magazine; v51 no10 pp 1-6 Oct 2014; journal article

Availability : International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans
Abstract : The Securities and Exchange Commission's (SEC) Rule 15Ba1-1(m)(1), the Municipal Advisors Rule, requires those receiving proceeds of municipal securities to register as municipal advisors and bear fiduciary duty. Private equity and hedge fund managers, anxious to avoid such responsibility, may be inclined to terminate even occasional involvement with government pension plans. For several reasons, revenue a government plan gets from municipal bonds which is later directed to investment partnerships is unlikely to qualify as proceeds of municipal securities for purposes of the Municipal Advisors Rule. The meaning of proceeds of municipal securities drawn from the Internal Revenue Code implies proceeds derived from a municipality's issuance of its own securities, not the purchase of bonds from other agencies. The SEC needs to clarify its position to avoid having public plans incorrectly report revenue generated from municipal bonds and then invested in limited partnerships as proceeds of municipal securities.
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Do Public Sector Pensions Need Fixing?
Dobson, Derek W.; Plans & Trusts; v32 no4 pp 14-17 Jul-Aug 2014; journal article

Availability : International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans
Abstract : The major threat to the sustainability of public sector pension plans is not longevity, interest rates or investment performance but recognition of the need for adequate retirement income. The Canadian retirement system's three pillar scheme is failing with only 32 percent of workers having a workplace pension. These are most often defined contribution for private sector workers and defined benefit (DB) for the public sector. While traditional DB plans put a disproportionate burden on the plan sponsor, the employers and members in jointly sponsored DB plans share risks and responsibilities and serve as a model of success. Most successful DB plans feature good governance, prudential investments, realistic assumptions and a solid funding policy. When governed and managed well, public sector plans are efficient and stable, benefiting members, employers and the public.
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Model Portfolios: Helping Educators Make Objective DC Plan Decisions.
Luckenbach, Carole Anne; Benefits Magazine; v51 no7 pp 14-19 Jul 2014; journal article

Availability : International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans
Abstract : Most public employees find they need to supplement their defined benefit pension benefits, including those in the California State Teachers' Retirement System. Educators typically have access to 403(b) or 457 plans and must make decisions about plan investments. Better than a redundant annuity would be a 403(b)(7) custodial account plan invested in target date funds, core funds or managed accounts. The California Teachers Association worked with investment consulting firm RVK, Inc. to devise a model portfolio with different asset allocations geared to four life stages from early career through retirement. Using the model portfolio helps avoid the expense of investment advisors, individual management or customization.
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Is Your Pension Plan Measuring Up?
Regan, Julian M.; Benefits Magazine; v51 no4 pp 14-23 Apr 2014; journal article

Availability : International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans
Abstract : Assessing a plan's performance and effectiveness on multiple points is a prime responsibility of plan trustees. Funds need reports aligned with elements of its governance framework, functional groups to monitor outcomes, clear performance and risk metrics, communications with stakeholders on goals and a process to monitor and correct key risks. The measures and reports, such as financial statements and actuarial reports, should reflect plan compliance with regulations, policies and agreements. Specific roles should be delegated to advisors, service providers and internal staff. To evaluate outcomes and cost effectiveness, trustees use measures and comparisons such as absolute and relative results, multiyear trends and future projections. Other plan risk measures include equity market risk, adjusted investment performance, funded ratio, distribution management and even customer service response.
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What's Working: Retirement Benefits Counseling.
Bergstrom, Kathy; Benefits Magazine; v51 no1 pp 10-12 Jan 2014; journal article

Availability : International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans
Abstract : Members of the California State Teachers' Retirement System (CalSTRS) nearing retirement may feel more confident than most peers, given CalSTRS's retirement counseling program. Members receive individual sessions with internal benefit counselors, under the leadership of Ed Derman, deputy chief executive officer of plan design and communication. Near retirees get personal attention, while younger members are invited to attend group sessions. The program has expanded to four service centers for convenient access with full-time CalSTRS advisers and is focusing on financial literacy and wise investing. Plan reforms adopted in 2013 prompted a surge in baby boomer retirements, expected to continue through 2020.
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