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Firefighters' pension contribution hike dies in Texas Assembly

By: Meaghan Kilroy, Pensions & Investments

Published May 22, 2015 - 1:33pm CST

A bill to increase Houston firefighters' pension contributions and save the city more than $70 million in pension payments over the next three years fell apart after failing to reach a full vote of the Texas General Assembly before the legislative session ended.

Treasury benefits regulator to be nominated as next PBGC chief

By: Jerry Geisel

Published May 21, 2015 - 8:36am CST

President Barack Obama said he intends to nominate W. Thomas Reeder, health care counsel at the Internal Revenue Service, to be director of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp.

Supreme Court investment monitoring ruling opens questions

By: Shelby Livingston

Published May 19, 2015 - 3:52pm CST

The U.S. Supreme Court's decision that retirement plan fiduciaries have a duty to continually monitor investments leaves a key issue of what exactly they have to do unresolved, industry observers say.

High court hands win to employees in Edison International 401(k) dispute

By: Shelby Livingston

Published May 18, 2015 - 4:44pm CST

(Reuters) — The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday revived claims made by Edison International employees who accused the utility of favoring higher-cost mutual funds over lower-cost ones in its retirement plan.

Guidance sought for multiemployer pension plan cuts

By: Jerry Geisel

Published May 18, 2015 - 12:27pm CST

A group of Senate Democrats is asking the U.S. Treasury Department to develop guidance on a 2014 federal law that allows trustees of financially troubled multiemployer pension plans to cut participants' benefits.

Employers stick with offering health plans

By: Jerry Geisel

Published May 14, 2015 - 12:48pm CST

Virtually all employers offering group health care plans say they will continue to provide coverage next year, according to a new survey.

Moody's downgrades Chicago credit to junk on continuing pension concerns

By: Rob Kozlowski, Pensions & Investments

Published May 13, 2015 - 1:08pm CST

Moody’s Investors Service downgraded the city of Chicago’s credit rating to Ba1 from Baa2 as a result of the Illinois Supreme Court’s ruling May 8 that the Illinois pension reform law of 2013 is unconstitutional.

Lawmakers seek to boost interest in multiemployer pension plans

By: Jerry Geisel

Published May 10, 2015 - 6:00am CST

Six months after Congress passed landmark legislation to prevent, or at least delay, the collapse of massively underfunded multiemployer pension plans and the federal insurance program that protects participants' benefits, lawmakers are drawing up proposals to attract new employers to the plans.

Employers must adapt to emerging risk management challenges

By: Judy Greenwald

Published May 10, 2015 - 6:00am CST

An employee's suicide might have been avoided had a co-worker promptly reported comments the employee made, a risk manager says.

Illinois Supreme Court strikes down pension reform law

By: Meaghan Kilroy, Pensions & Investments

Published May 08, 2015 - 11:34am CST

The Illinois Supreme Court ruled Friday the Illinois pension reform law passed in 2013 is unconstitutional, affirming the decision reached in a Sangamon County Circuit Court in November.

Rising interest rates boost largest pension plans

By: Jerry Geisel

Published May 07, 2015 - 3:08pm CST

The funded status of very large pension plans sponsored by public companies rose in April as rising interest rates lowered the value of plan liabilities, according to a Milliman Inc. survey released Thursday.

Oregon pension ruling will hurt state, city budgets, Moody's says

Published May 05, 2015 - 3:37pm CST

(Reuters) — A recent decision by the Oregon Supreme Court overturning cuts to public pensions is a "credit negative" that will hurt the budgets of both the state and its cities, Moody's Investors Service Inc. said in a report Tuesday.

Pension plan funding improved in April

By: Jerry Geisel

Published May 05, 2015 - 2:52pm CST

The funded status of pension plans sponsored by large employers improved in April, aided by gains in the equity markets and a rise in interest rates that reduced the value of plan liabilities, Mercer L.L.C. said Tuesday.

Updated Form 5500, fiduciary hearings on Labor Department's summer calendar

By: Hazel Bradford, Pensions & Investments

Published May 05, 2015 - 12:01pm CST

The U.S. Department of Labor is planning a busy summer, Assistant Secretary Phyllis Borzi told attendees at the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans’ Washington legislative conference Monday, with an agenda that includes the new proposed fiduciary rule, an updated Form 5500 and ways to improve lifetime income statements.

Chicago's solvency at risk as pension liability grows

Published May 01, 2015 - 2:21pm CST

(Reuters) — Chicago's $20 billion unfunded public pension liability is on track to grow significantly regardless of the outcomes of litigation over the constitutionality of benefit cuts or legislative action, Moody's Investors Service said on Friday.

House committee advances military pension reforms

By: Hazel Bradford, Pensions & Investments

Published May 01, 2015 - 9:22am CST

The House Armed Services Committee on Thursday passed a defense spending bill that includes reforms to the military retirement system that encourage defined contribution savings.

Booming life and health reinsurance unit boosts Swiss Re profit

By: Sheena Harrison

Published April 30, 2015 - 11:37am CST

Improvements to Swiss Re Ltd.’s life and health reinsurance unit helped boost the Zurich-based reinsurer’s profits by 17% for the first quarter of this year, the company said Thursday.

401(k) balances hit record high

By: Jerry Geisel

Published April 29, 2015 - 1:21pm CST

Employees’ 401(k) plan account balances hit a record high at the end of the first quarter of 2015, Fidelity Investments said in an analysis released Wednesday.

Blue Cross eyes Medicare growth through private exchange

By: Bob Herman, Modern Healthcare

Published April 27, 2015 - 9:22am CST

The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association will build a private health insurance exchange in the hopes of retaining workers who age into the Medicare program, the not-for-profit health plan group said Friday.

Kathleen M. Ireland used technology to keep IBM ahead of Superstorm Sandy

By: Mark A. Hofmann

Published April 26, 2015 - 6:00am CST

Like countless other businesses in the Northeast, IBM felt the fury of October 2012's Superstorm Sandy.

Funding of big pension plans dips in March

By: Jerry Geisel

Published April 23, 2015 - 2:27pm CST

The funded status of very large pension plans sponsored by public companies dipped in March as a slight decline in interest rates boosted the value of plan liabilities, according to a Milliman Inc. survey released Thursday.

Captive benefit funding requests back on the fast track

By: Jerry Geisel

Published April 21, 2015 - 4:06pm CST

The U.S. Labor Department's final authorization of a health care service firm's application to fund benefit risks through its captive insurance company affirms that the door again is open to employers to seek fast regulatory review of their captive benefit funding proposals.

DC plans playing catch-up on education for roll-ins

By: Robert Steyer, Pensions & Investments

Published April 20, 2015 - 10:08am CST

Defined contribution plans — from the International Paper Co. 401(k) plan to the federal Thrift Savings Plan and Oregon Savings Growth Plan — are allowing employees to roll in disparate retirement account balances from previous employers and individual retirement accounts, trying to help reduce the burden of managing multiple accounts and take advantage of lower fees.

Bill would extend Health Coverage Tax Credit

By: Jerry Geisel

Published April 17, 2015 - 10:10am CST

Employees who have lost their jobs due to foreign competition, as well as retirees in failed pension plans, again would be eligible for federal health insurance premium subsidies under legislation introduced Thursday in the U.S. Senate.

BNP Paribas granted money management exemption

By: Hazel Bradford, Pensions & Investments

Published April 16, 2015 - 8:44am CST

BNP Paribas can continue providing money management services to U.S. retirement plans, despite the parent company's June 2014 guilty plea to violating U.S. sanctions in several countries, said a notice published Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Labor in the Federal Register.

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