Posts Tagged ‘bankruptcy’

Page 8


The July 1, 2013 actuarial reports for the New Jersey pension plans are coming out and if you are of a mind to explain to your teacher friends why they will soon be seeing Detroit-type ‘adjustments’ to their pensions just point them to page 8 of the Milliman report for the Teachers Plan – TPAF – (Buck does the valuations for the other 6 plans in the system) titled ‘Risk Measures.’  Search the Buck reports and you won’t even find the word ‘risk’ mentioned but Milliman beginning with their July 1, 2009 report thought it a good idea to mention that…..

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Detroit Pension Cuts


According to a story in the Detroit Free Press:

Orr proposed 34% cuts to the pension checks of general city retirees and 10% to police and fire retirees.

But those cuts would be reduced to 26% and 4%, respectively, if the city’s two independently controlled pension boards agree to support the plan of adjustment.

The difference is probably because retirees in the General City plan likely get Social Security benefits.

The bottom line:

  • Benefit accruals under the current formulas cease as of June 30, 2014
  • GRS benefits cut 34% for retirees and beneficiaries with the July, 2014 check, 34% (and maybe more) for those still working, and no mention of vested terminees
  • PFRS benefits cut 10% for retirees and beneficiaries with the July, 2014 check, 10% (and maybe more) for those still working, and no mention of vested terminees
  • Hybrid plans to be set up for workers to accrue benefits after July 1, 2014 as part of a “hybrid program that will contain rules to shift funding risk to participants in the event of underfunding of hybrid pensions”
  • A bizarre carrot allowing for an undefined “restoration payment” in 2023 if a plan is 80% funded but requiring the interest rate used for valuing liabilities to be 6.25% for GRS and 6.5% for PFRS.

The full text of the plan is out and here are the excerpts relevant to the Detroit GRS and PFRS:

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Detroit’s Official Valuation Reports are “No Proof”


The judge’s written decision to allow the Detroit bankruptcy is a fascinating read.  I am on my twentieth scan of pages 11 thr0ugh 16 which purportedly explain the COPs and Swaps Transactions and am still looking to unlock the mysteries of those words.  But it is the reference to the supposed $3.5 billion unfunded pension obligations on page 8 that validates a point that I have been trying to make here for years:

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Detroit Pension Cuts In Orr-der


Detroit bankruptcy is a go so now the question becomes how much retirement benefits will be cut.  Emergency manager Kevyn Orr provided some clues in these pension-related excerpts from his press conference today:

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Based on these remarks my original timeline prediction changes a bit:

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D-Day for Detroit Pensions


Next Tuesday, December 3, at 9:am, according to a notice released this afternoon, is when Judge Steven W. Rhodes will render his decision on whether Detroit can go bankrupt to avoid pension and OPEB obligations.   Considering that our system of ‘justice’ often succumbs to the vagaries of expediency and whatever decision is read will almost certainly be appealed, I still have a hunch as to what will happen.

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The State of Those Who ‘Study’ Public Pension Plans


Morningstar, Inc. released a report* evaluating the fiscal health of 25 city pension plans finding that Washington, DC had the strongest funded plan and Chicago the weakest.

True enough.  Based on the latest valuation reports available to them Morningstar put Washington, DC at number 1 for fiscal health with a funded ratio of 104.9% and Chicago at number 25 with a funded ratio of 35.2%.  There’s your headline.  Nobody cares who was number 2 on that list.  Or do they?

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Actuarial Dicksy Land


Cate Long is a Dick and the public plan actuaries she puts her faith in are all Dicks.

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The Myth of Actuarial Independence


I spoke with a Reuters reporter on Monday about the Detroit pension-funded-status imbroglio but didn’t feel I sufficiently got across my opinion of the real role of public plan actuaries.  Perhaps Milliman, Inc. (Milliman) will do it for me as they go rogue on the profession.

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Buying Actuarial Opinions


Never has the curtain of deceit in public pension funding been open so wide as in Detroit’s clumsy attempt to create an underfunding in their two pension plans within the parameters used by public plan actuaries for decades to create the appearance of quasi-solvency.   Detroit had been paying Gabriel Roeder Smith & Company (GRS) millions of dollars over the years to mask the true cost of pension liabilities accruing.  Then last May when they needed to have the plans be severely underfunded and unsustainable they paid Milliman, Inc. (Milliman) $350,000 for that opinion (proffered on June 4, 2013 with the general public getting it today) for both the Detroit General Retirement System (DGRS) and the Police & Fire Retirement System (PFRS).

Resist the impulse to wade through these jargon-laced reports.  They were not designed for anyone to understand.  They were designed to have their conclusions accepted without question.

I do not accept them and they raise four questions that are obvious once isolated.

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Dumb, Lazy Pensioners


Detroit Emergency Manager called these people “dumb, lazy, happy, and rich” in a WSJ article earlier this month:
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Today it was reported that he apologized*. He shouldn’t have. Though those people don’t look particularly happy or rich (subjective judgments in any case) there is no doubt that they, like the vast majority of public pensioners, are dumb and lazy when it comes to assuming pension promises will be kept.

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