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Stone testifies before ERISA Advisory Council

Edward Stone testified before the U.S. Department of Labor’s Advisory Council on Employee Welfare and Pension Benefit Plans (ERISA Advisory Council) on May 28, 2015.  Stone testified on the need for disclosures to retirees both pre and post pension risk transfers. Recommended disclosures prior to pension risk transfer included:

  • A detailed disclosure statement that contains information regarding the loss of federal ERISA protections, including Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (“PBGC”) protection and the applicable state laws that will govern their future annuity payments;
  • The amount, scope and conditions precedent for state guaranty association coverage in the event of an insurance company insolvency;
  • The extent to which annuity payments become subject to creditor claims or avoidance actions by bankruptcy trustees;
  • Disclosure related to any changes that might result in the tax treatment of retiree benefits under an annuity contract;
  • Lump sum options and conditions, if any;
  • Detailed information on the group annuity contract structure, including a schedule of all costs and expenses paid in connection with the transaction;
  • A copy of any fairness opinions or solvency analysis done in connection with the choice of annuity or other benefit provider.

Stone’s recommendation on post transfer disclosures to retirees included requiring all annuity providers, or subsequent benefit providers to provide impacted retirees with at least the following mandatory annual disclosures:

  • Funding levels of all assets relative to expected liabilities under the assumed pension benefit schedules;
  • Investment performance summary by asset class;
  • Investment performance detail by asset class;
  • Expenses associated with any group annuity contract; and
  • Material changes in actuarial assumptions, if any.