Focus On: Central States (1) Current Status

In this new series* I will look at one plan in detail based primarily on 5500 data publicly available (though in this case I also have a lot of material obtained under the Freedom of Information Act regarding the 2007 UPS withdrawal) that some concerned participants shared with me.

In 2016 the Central States Pension Fund was denied MPRA relief. According to their latest 5500 form the plan has negative net cash flow of over $2 billion annually with maybe $14 billion in assets left in it now.

Pertinent 5500 data:

Plan Name: Central States, Southeast & Southwest Areas Pension Plan

EIN/PN: 36-6044243/001

Total participants @ 12/31/16: 384,921 including:

  • Retirees: 199,126
  • Separated but entitled to benefits: 123,633
  • Still working: 62,162

Asset Value (Market) @ 1/1/16: 16,126,208,142

Value of liabilities using RPA rate (3.28%) @ 1/1/16: $55,036,288,777 including:

  • Retirees: $31,767,548,497
  • Separated but entitled to benefits: $13,570,975,581
  • Still working: $9,697,764,699


Funded ratio: 29.30%

Unfunded Liabilities as of 1/1/16: $38,910,080,635

Asset Value (Market) as of 12/31/16: $15,267,533,341

Contributions 2016 (MB): $781,861,963

Contributions 2016 (H): $612,388,565

Payouts 2016: $2,809,605,222

Expenses 2016: $88,102,312




* For anyone who wants me to look at their particular plan please contact me (preferably by email with a lot of FOIA information).

4 responses to this post.

  1. Well done Mr. Bury. There is a tremendous movement to use loans as a form of “Refinance and Reform” for ME pensions.
    I applaud your study of this pension, likely the worst in the nation. I have proposed this pension as a candidate for the test “Refinance and Reform” program.
    I have a question, the unfunded balance is massive. Was this because of a lack of contributions or losses related to the depression of 2008? Any insight on this question would be most welcome.
    Tim Alexander


    • Next post is an asset history going back to 2007 (from 2009 based on efast data with the 2007 and 2008 forms sent to me) so we will get an idea of how they got this way.

      A main driver is likely the ‘lenient’ funding rules for multiemployer plans that allow these zombie plans to keep going (and paying salaries of the sponsors and fees of the advisors).


  2. Posted by skip3house on February 16, 2018 at 10:57 am

    ‘ 5500 Form ‘ Madness, from dozen pages of just assets with A as first letter, to several pages of THE as first, drops from $Billions to below a Billion in 2025…..mortality increase by 115% (probably meaning 15%)……beyond comprehension of meaning of why time passes or or what of space left after Universe accounted for…..


  3. Posted by Analyst on February 16, 2018 at 11:06 am

    Ok . You mention net cash outflow of about 2b annually , but we know that can fluctuate . We need to project net cash outflow by getting annual projected benefit payments … Annual projected contributions .

    I also wonder what fees have been paid and with whom and how much the 14b is invested in .


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