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Michigan Supreme Court upholds 2011 pension reforms

By: Christine Williamson, Pensions & Investments

Published July 30, 2015 - 2:31pm CST

In a 4-3 ruling in Lansing, Michigan, on Wednesday, state Supreme Court justices said pension reforms made by the 2011 amendment to the State Employees Retirement Act were constitutional, overturning the decision of a state court of appeals.

Employee 401(k) balances dip but hover near record levels

By: Jerry Geisel

Published July 30, 2015 - 12:02pm CST

Employees' 401(k) plan account balances dipped at the end of the second quarter of 2015 yet remain near a record high, Fidelity Investments said in an analysis released Thursday.

Centene considers snapping up Medicare Advantage plans from rivals

Published July 28, 2015 - 12:32pm CST

(Reuters) — Health insurer Centene Corp. reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit and said it would consider buying the Medicare Advantage plans its rivals are likely to divest during the current phase of consolidation in the managed care industry.

Equality Act seeks to codify LGBT rights, protections nationwide

By: Shelby Livingston

Published July 27, 2015 - 3:17pm CST

A new federal civil rights bill banning discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals could have big implications for employers.

PBGC looks to reduce reporting waivers for large plans

By: Hazel Bradford, Pensions & Investments

Published July 24, 2015 - 3:52pm CST

Fewer large defined benefit plan sponsors will be able to skip Section 4010 reporting under a rule change the PBGC will propose shortly.

Judge rules Chicago pension fix unconstitutional

By: Rob Kozlowski, Pensions & Investments

Published July 24, 2015 - 2:48pm CST

A Cook County, Illinois, circuit court judge ruled unconstitutional a pension reform law that took effect on Jan. 1 aimed at improving the funding of Chicago's pension funds for laborers and municipal workers.

Senate GOP to make new effort to repeal health care reform law

By: Jerry Geisel

Published July 24, 2015 - 11:56am CST

The Senate's top Republican will make a new effort this weekend to win passage of legislation to repeal the health care reform law.

Pension cuts not on multiemployer plan participants' radar — yet

By: Jerry Geisel

Published July 23, 2015 - 3:07pm CST

Few multiemployer pension plan participants are very concerned about a 2014 federal law that opens the door for financially troubled plans to cut benefits in order to stay afloat, according to a new survey.

PBGC nominee suggests looking into giving agency authority to set premiums

By: Jerry Geisel

Published July 23, 2015 - 1:27pm CST

Giving the agency that guarantees pension plan participants' benefits authority to set insurance premiums paid by plan sponsors should be examined, but getting lawmakers to relinquish that authority would be challenging, the nominee to head the PBGC says.

Fiduciary proposal comment period ends with flurry of opposing viewpoints

By: Hazel Bradford, Pensions & Investments

Published July 22, 2015 - 12:18pm CST

Comment letters on the U.S. Department of Labor's proposed fiduciary rule poured in Tuesday, the last day of the comment period, with many groups representing retirement plan investment and service providers warning that while they support a standard that protects clients' best interests, new rules to ensure that in specific situations would be unworkable.

Senate to consider surplus pension asset transfer bill

By: Jerry Geisel

Published July 22, 2015 - 9:38am CST

Following the lead of the House of Representatives, the Senate this week is expected to consider highway funding legislation that includes a provision that would extend by four years a federal law that allows employers to remove surplus assets from overfunded pension plans to pay for retiree health care benefits.

New Connecticut law protects retirees’ annuity benefits from creditors

By: Jerry Geisel

Published July 21, 2015 - 12:56pm CST

The pension benefits earned by Connecticut residents whose employers transfer those liabilities to insurers under corporate pension derisking — programs will be protected from creditors under a new state law.

Senate to hold confirmation hearing for PBGC nominee

By: Jerry Geisel

Published July 21, 2015 - 10:05am CST

The Senate Finance Committee will hold a confirmation hearing Thursday on W. Thomas Reeder Jr., health care counsel at the Internal Revenue Service, who was nominated by President Barack Obama in May to be director of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp.

More early retirees to be covered via insurance exchanges

By: Jerry Geisel

Published July 19, 2015 - 6:00am CST

Employers' move to jettison health insurance for pre-Medicare-eligible retirees is certain to accelerate in the wake of last month's U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding the legality of premium subsidies for lower-income individuals getting coverage in the state and federal exchanges.

House approves surplus pension asset transfer bill

By: Jerry Geisel

Published July 16, 2015 - 11:43am CST

Legislation overwhelmingly approved by the House of Representatives Wednesday would extend by four years a federal law that allows employers to remove surplus assets from overfunded pension plans to pay for retiree health care benefits.

Retiree health funding bill introduced

By: Jerry Geisel

Published July 15, 2015 - 2:11pm CST

Legislation introduced in the House of Representatives Monday by the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee would extend by four years a federal law that allows employers to remove surplus assets from overfunded pension plans to pay for retiree health care benefits.

Most state pension plans show funding shortfalls

By: Jerry Geisel

Published July 14, 2015 - 3:01pm CST

Most state pension plans are significantly underfunded, according to a Pew Charitable Trusts analysis released Tuesday.

Clarity on state-run private-sector retirement savings coming by year-end

By: Hazel Bradford, Pensions & Investments

Published July 14, 2015 - 9:38am CST

States interested in creating their own programs for private-sector retirement savings will have further guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor by the end of the year, President Barack Obama said Monday at a White House conference on aging.

Axa secures $4.3 billion longevity swap with pension fund

By: Sophie Baker, Pensions & Investments

Published July 13, 2015 - 1:15pm CST

Axa U.K. Group Pension Scheme, London, completed a 2.8 billion ($4.4 billion) longevity swap with Reinsurance Group of America for the defined benefit section of its retirement plans.

Pension advocate backs IRS rule banning annuity conversions to lump sums

By: Jerry Geisel

Published July 13, 2015 - 12:31pm CST

A new IRS and Treasury Department ban on employers offering pension plan participants currently receiving monthly annuity benefits the option to convert their benefit to a cash lump sum was needed to protect retirees, a consumer advocacy group says.

Former Lehman chief defeats employee lawsuit over retirement losses

Published July 10, 2015 - 4:44pm CST

(Reuters) — A federal judge on Friday dismissed a lawsuit by former Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. employees seeking to hold onetime CEO Richard Fuld liable for their retirement plan losses as the Wall Street bank plunged into its 2008 bankruptcy.

Pennsylvania governor vetoes pension reform bill

By: James Comtois, Pensions & Investments

Published July 09, 2015 - 3:40pm CST

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf vetoed a pension reform bill Thursday that aimed to improve the funding, sustainability and fiscal responsibility of the state's two largest pension funds.

IRS restricting pension cash lump-sum conversions

By: Jerry Geisel

Published July 09, 2015 - 3:28pm CST

Employers “derisking” their pension plans no longer would be allowed to give plan participants currently receiving monthly annuity benefits the option to convert their benefits to a cash lump-sum, the Internal Revenue Service disclosed Thursday.

Pension plan funding improves in June

By: Jerry Geisel

Published July 09, 2015 - 11:35am CST

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

Majority of multiemployer plans well funded; 9% 'critical and declining'

By: Hazel Bradford, Pensions & Investments

Published July 09, 2015 - 8:55am CST

A majority of multiemployer pension funds continued to be in the well-funded “green zone” in calendar year 2015, according to Segal Consulting’s latest Survey of Plans’ Zone Status released Wednesday.

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