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Pension Funding & Plan Design Part 1 – The Fundamentals Presented by Sue Feinberg and Matt Taylor

Transcript of Pension Funding & Plan Design - MERS | Municipal Employees' … · 2019-12-18 · – Rates of...

Page 1: Pension Funding & Plan Design - MERS | Municipal Employees' … · 2019-12-18 · – Rates of retirement • Benefit enhancements adopted and not entirely funded – Early retirement

Pension Funding & Plan Design

Part 1 – The Fundamentals Presented by Sue Feinberg

and Matt Taylor

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Agenda• Overview of MERS

• How Defined Benefit Plans Work

• Fundamentals of Pension Funding

• Determining Annual Contributions

• How Unfunded Accrued Liability Develops

• Best Practices

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About MERS of Michigan

MERS is an independent, professional retirement services company that was created to administer the retirement plans for Michigan municipalities on a not-for-profit basis

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BY THE NUMBERS

100,000+

84%

$10 Billion

participants

in combined total assets

of Michigan’s pension plans participate with MERS

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An Independent Elected Board• MERS is governed by an

elected board that operates without compensation

• Our board is committed to accountability and transparency; holding the line on costs; and watching out for the best interest of our members

• MERS provides customers with peace of mind because the MERS Retirement Board takes on the sole fiduciary responsibility of their plan

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One Size Does Not Fit All• Each municipality has

unique needs

• We offer a broad range of customizable plans and services

• We listen to our members and continuously add new products and tools to meet their needs

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Public Sector Retirement Options

Defined Benefit

• Lifetime benefit that does not fluctuate with investment gains or losses

• Contributions fluctuate • Funded by the

employer, employee and investment earnings

Hybrid

• Combines the best of both plans

• Benefit and contributions vary

• Funded by the employer, employee and investment earnings

Defined Contribution

• Benefit based on account balance

• Fixed contributions• Funded by the

employer, employee and investment earnings

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457 Program• Supplemental savings account that can be added to any retirement plan• Voluntary and flexible employee contributions• Pre-tax and Roth options

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MERS Retirement Plan Customers

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Defined Benefit

725

Defined Contribution

321

Hybrid 87

*As of 06/30/2017

MERS partners with 876 municipalities* Some municipalities have multiple plans

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Pooling Powers Financial Security• MERS administers more

than 2,000 different plans

• Each municipality’s retirement plan is maintained in a separate trust

• MERS pools assets for investment purposes, which provides huge benefits to members, including lower administrative costs

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How Defined Benefit Plans Work

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Lifetime Benefit for Career Employees

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Defined Benefit Formula

The benefit formula is comprised of three components:

• Final Average Compensation

• Service Credit

• Benefit Multiplier

Final Average Compensation Service Credit Benefit Multiplier Annual Benefit

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Final Average Compensation

• Average of the highest consecutive wages

• Majority of divisions use a 3-5 year period– 3-year period (47%)

– 5-year period (52%)

• The average compensation is $51,084

Final Average Compensation

Service Credit Benefit Multiplier Annual Benefit

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Service Credit

• Earned for each month of work that meets the employer’s requirements

• To reach an 80% income replacement rate, a participant would need to work approximately 32 years (with a 2.5% multiplier)

Final Average Compensation Service Credit

Benefit Multiplier Annual Benefit

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Benefit Multiplier

• Benefit multiplier is a specific percentage adopted by the employer• About a third of divisions have a 2.5% multiplier

– No new divisions are adopting this provision– Higher multiplier divisions may have opted out of Social Security

• Experience over the past two years been:– 30% increase in divisions with the 1.5% multiplier – 53% increase in divisions bridging to lower multipliers

Final Average Compensation Service Credit

Benefit MultiplierAnnual Benefit

40% 22% 35% 3%2.00% and below > 2.00% - ≤2.25% > 2.25% - ≤2.50% Above 2.50%

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Annual Benefit

• To be eligible to receive a benefit an employee must meet both age and service requirements (also called vesting)

– Majority have an eligibility age of 60– 2/3 of divisions have a vesting period of 10 years

• Currently there are 38,774 retirees– Average age is 69.2– Average annual benefit is $21,216

• Fewer than 1/4 of open divisions have a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for future retirees

Final Average Compensation Service Credit Benefit Multiplier Annual Benefit

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Lifetime Benefit Stability• The calculated benefit

will not change with investment market fluctuations

• Retirement benefits of municipal employees are constitutionally protected

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The Fundamentals of Pension Funding

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Prefunding the Benefit• Defined benefit plans are pre-funded during the

employee’s career

• Contributions are typically made by both the employee and employer

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Contributions are Invested Long-TermMERS strategically invests the contributions with a prudent long-term approach to provide downside protection with upside participation

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Pooling Assets• MERS pools assets for investment purposes, providing

our members the benefit of investing with a $10 billion pool of assets

• Each municipality’s assets are maintained in separate accounts

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Investment EarningsMERS’ investment earnings actually fund more than half of the benefits

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Determining Annual Contributions

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Determining Annual Contributions• The cost of the plan is determined annually and

provided in the Annual Actuarial Valuation– Defined benefit plan costs vary by municipality and depend on

the benefit plan design and other plan-specific details

– The ultimate cost will not be known until the last retiree/beneficiary stops drawing

• MERS’ administrative and investment costs are charged to the plan as basis points and reported in quarterly statements

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5-Year History

MERS Defined Benefit Costs

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0.36%0.26% 0.22% 0.22% 0.21%

0.24%

0.25%0.20% 0.25%

0.18%

12/31/2012 12/31/2013 12/31/2014 12/31/2015 12/31/2016

Administration Investments

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Calculating the Total Annual Contribution

BENEFITS IN EFFECT FOR EACH DIVISION

MARKET VALUE OF ASSETS

MEMBER DATA

AMORTIZATION POLICY

ACTUARIALASSUMPTIONSAND METHODS

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Employer ContributionThe employer contribution is made of up two parts:

• Employer Normal Cost – Present value of benefits allocated to the current plan year less any employee contribution

• Amortization Payment of Unfunded Accrued Liability – Payment to reduce any shortfall between liability for past service and assets

Employer Normal Cost

Amortization Payment of the UAL

Employer Contribution

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Average Employee Contribution Rate*

• The average employee contribution rate for MERS municipalities approximately 6%

• Employee contribution rates vary based on the level of benefits offered

*As of 12/31/2016

Employee ContributionThe employee contribution rate is set by each municipality or division, not by MERS

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How Unfunded Accrued Liability Develops

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A Fully Funded Plan

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Unfunded Accrued Liability

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Benefit Changes

Retirement Age

Mortality Rates

Investment Performance

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What is Unfunded Liability? Unfunded liability is the difference between a plan’s estimated pension benefits and assets that have been set aside to pay for them

• The dollar value of the benefits is actuarially determined each year

• Unfunded liability is paid off over a period of years

Employer Normal Cost

Amortization Payment of the UAL

Employer Contribution

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Why Unfunded Liabilities Develop• Actual experience is different than assumed (liabilities

and assets)– Market performance

– Demographic experience

– Rates of retirement

• Benefit enhancements adopted and not entirely funded – Early retirement windows

– Increased benefit multiplier

– Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA)

• Higher than projected Final Average Compensation• Granting prior service for benefits without funding

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Paying Down Unfunded Liability

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Unfunded liability is paid off over a fixed period of time known as the amortization period.

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Plan Funding• While funding ratio may be a useful measure,

understanding a pension plan’s funding progress should not be reduced to a single point in time

• Pension plans should have a strategy in place to reach or maintain a 100% funded level or greater over a reasonable time frame

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Distribution of Funded Percentage• Our Defined Benefit Plan is a

multiple-employer plan

• Assets are pooled for investment purposes only

• Separate accounts are maintained for each individual employer

• We do not borrow from one municipality’s account to cover another municipality’s obligation

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As of 12/31/2016

61

101

162

159

112

61

65

Under 50%

50 - 59%

60 - 69%

70 - 79%

80 -89%

90 - 99%

100% & Over

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Best Practices

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Experience Study• Part of MERS’ fiduciary responsibility

• Conducted with our actuarial firm every five years, with the last study covering 2009-2013

• Compares actual experience of the plan with the current assumptions to determine if changes are necessary

• The next study will be conducted in the fall of 2019

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Sound Funding Policies• Encourage extra contributions through

market volatility scenarios

• Establish a minimum funding threshold that prevents plans from running out of assets

• Implement a fixed amortization policy that gives plans a specific date by which all known obligations will be fully funded

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Benefit Enhancement Modeling• For any benefit enhancements, municipal

plans must be fully funded

• Actuarial reports illustrate financial impacts of benefit changes by providing cost projections of at least 5 years

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Pension Spiking Mitigation• Avoid “pension spiking” by limiting lump

sum payouts into final compensation

• Actuarial loads are applied to groups that have demonstrated a history of Final Average Compensation increases

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Ready to Learn More about Unfunded Liability?

• MERS works in partnership with our members to ensure that each municipality is making reasonable progress to achieve full funding

• We offer many options to help reduce UAL, with a variety of programs and provisions to fit each municipality’s unique needs

• Attend Pension Funding & Plan Design Part 2 – A Deeper Dive

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Contacting MERS of Michigan

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MUNICIPAL EMPLOYEES’ RETIREMENT SYSTEM

1134 Municipal WayLansing, MI 48917

800.767.MERS (6377)www.mersofmich.com

This presentation contains a summary description of MERS benefits, policies or procedures. MERS has made every effort to ensure that the information provided is accurate and up to date. Where the publication conflicts with the relevant Plan Document, the Plan Document controls.