Variable Annuity Pension Plans: A Balanced Approach to Retirement Risk

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1 Variable Annuity Pension Plans: A Balanced Approach to Retirement Kelly Coffing, EA, FSA, MAAA Principal and Consulting Actuary Milliman, Seattle, Washington Grant Camp, EA, FSA, MAAA, Consulting Actuary Milliman Seattle, Washington The opinions expressed in this presentation are those of the speaker. The International Society and International Foundation disclaim responsibility for views expressed and statements made by the program speakers. 14B-1

2 Introduction DB Plan Sponsors:» Do you have pension volatility blues? DC Plan Sponsors:» Are you struggling with the difficulties of 401(k) plans? 14B-2

3 Introduction Senator Harkin reports on America s retirement readiness: $6.6 Trillion Retirement Deficit DB Plan >50% <$10,000 14B-3

4 Introduction 2012 Aon Hewitt Survey of HR Professionals: Employees Will Have Sufficient Retirement Assets 4% Employees Will Take Accountability for Retirement Success 10% Employees Will Be Able to Manage Income in Retirement 18% 14B-4

5 Today s Agenda Retirement risks Variable Annuity Pension Plan (VAPP) Basics» Benefit examples» Pros and cons» Funding, FASB, PBGC premiums» Inflation protection VAPPs with benefit stabilization Plan feature comparison Transition considerations 14B-5

6 Retirement s Retirement is a risky business: promising retirement security in a future we can t predict» Investment markets have been more volatile than predicted» Bond yields are at near historic lows» People are living longer than anticipated» What s next? Four main retirement risks: these are timeless» Investment» Interest Rate» Longevity» Inflation 14B-6

7 Retirement s Investment The risk that assets will decline due to losses in the investment markets Example 40% Returns for Portfolio of 60% Large Cap Equities / 40% Long Bonds Major Market Events in Blue 0% Results -40% » Large volatility in asset balances from year to year» DB benefit promises that are difficult to fund» DC balances that reduce retirement security 14B-7

8 Retirement s Interest Rate The risk that the price of bond type instruments will change (because interest rates change) Example 15% Long Term Corporate Bond Yields 10% 5% Results 0% » Annuity purchase prices are very high now» Bond rates and bond purchase prices vary from year to year 14B-8

9 Retirement s Longevity The risk associated with not knowing how long you will live Example Probability of Living to Very Old Age 100% 75% 50% 50% 25% 25% 5% 0% » This risk is borne alone for a participant with a 401(k)» A pension plan pools this risk across all plan participants Pooled longevity risk is relatively easy to manage 14B-9

10 Retirement s Inflation The risk associated with loss of purchasing power over time Example» Over the last 86 years, inflation has averaged 3% Purchasing Power $1,000 $412 Year of Retirement 30 Years into Retirement 14B-10

11 Retirement s Traditional Defined Benefit Plan Plan Sponsor bears most of the risks Investment risk Interest rate risk Longevity risk Inflation risk 14B-11

12 Retirement s Defined Contribution Plan Plan Sponsor bears none of the risks Participants bear all of the risks Investment risk Interest rate risk Longevity risk Inflation risk 14B-12

13 Retirement s Variable Annuity Pension Plan (VAPP) s are shared Longevity risk Investment risk Inflation and interest rate risks (significantly reduced) 14B-13

14 Traditional Plan Strengths Traditional DB Longevity pooling Lifelong income Bigger benefits to long service employees Professional asset management Increased preference by younger workers Traditional DC Portable benefits Predictable employer cost Participants enjoy the market upside Provides vehicle for employee savings No concern with plan maturity 14B-14

15 Variable Annuity Pension Plan Longevity Pooling Predictable Employer Cost Lifelong Income Expected Inflation Protection Professional Asset Management VAPP Eliminate Maturity Concern 14B-15

16 VAPP Basics Variable annuity pension plans (VAPPs) have controllable employer costs, like DC plans AND provide employees lifelong retirement income, like DB plans. VAPP Variable Annuity Pension Plan Currently legal, has been legal since 1953 Plans with this design» Major League Baseball has a plan that is part VAPP and part more traditional DB» Aerospace Employees Retirement Plan» There are others, they are hard to track (no flag on Schedule SB)» Most are single employer plans 14B-16

17 VAPP Basics Career average or flat dollar type accumulation Hurdle Rate, usually set between 3% - 5% When return < hurdle rate, Underlying benefit decreases, BUT reserve prevents benefit decrease When return > hurdle rate, Benefit increases If the return = hurdle rate, there is no change to the monthly accrued benefit. Earned benefits fluctuate annually based on actual investment return of the plan Keeps assets and liabilities in balance by adjusting liabilities 14B-17

18 VAPP Basics Active Benefit Example 2% career average VAPP 2014 Pay: $60,000» $3,000 per year pay increases 2014 accrual: 2% x $60,000/12 = $100 per month 2015 accrual: 2% x $63,000/12 = $105 per month Hurdle Rate = 4% 14B-18

19 VAPP Basics Active Benefit Example Plan Year Investment Return (I) 10.2% 2.9% -8.7% 14.3% Hurdle Rate (H) 4.0% 4.0% 4.0% 4.0% Benefit Increase (Decrease)* 6.0% -1.1% -12.2% 9.9% Monthly Benefit Plan Year Pay 12/31/ /31/ /31/ /31/ /31/ $60,000 $ $ $ $92.04 $ $63,000 $ $ $91.18 $ $66,000 $ $96.58 $ $69,000 $ $ $72,000 $ Total Accrued Benefit $ $ $ $ $ Sum of Accruals $ $ $ $ $ *Calculated as (1+I)/(1+H) B-19

20 VAPP Pros Plan maintains 100% funding» Funding not subject to investment risk» Liabilities not subject to interest rate risk Predictable employer costs» Funding: Minimum = Normal Cost» PBGC: No Variable Rate Premium» FASB Dampened balance sheet volatility If pay related, currently have to use salary scale projection which may cause some underfunding 14B-20

21 VAPP Pros Longevity pooling» Easier for a group to manage Difficult for an individual» Mortality Need small funding reserve for experience not matching assumptions Periodically update assumption Expected inflation protection» Return in excess of the hurdle increases benefits resulting in expected COLA» Professional asset management» Maintain balanced, diversified portfolio 14B-21

22 VAPP Pros Inflation Protection Expected Retiree Benefit Example 4% hurdle rate, 70% Stocks / 30% bonds from 1926 to 1955 $7,000 $6,000 Flat $1,000 $1,000 Adjusted for Inflation 4% Hurdle VAPP ($1,000 Initial Benefit) Monthly Benefit Over Time $5,000 $4,000 $3,000 $2,000 $1,000 $0 '26 '28 '30 '32 '34 '36 '38 '40 '42 '44 '46 '48 '50 '52 '54 14B-22

23 VAPP Pros Inflation Protection Expected Retiree Benefit Example 4% hurdle rate, 70% Stocks/30% bonds from 1955 to 1984 $7,000 $6,000 Flat $1,000 $1,000 Adjusted for Inflation 4% Hurdle VAPP ($1,000 Initial Benefit) Monthly Benefit Over Time $5,000 $4,000 $3,000 $2,000 $1,000 $0 '55 '57 '59 '61 '63 '65 '67 '69 '71 '73 '75 '77 '79 '81 '83 14B-23

24 VAPP Pros Inflation Protection Expected Retiree Benefit Example 4% hurdle rate, 70% Stocks/30% bonds from 1984 to 2013 $7,000 $6,000 Flat $1,000 $1,000 Adjusted for Inflation 4% Hurdle VAPP ($1,000 Initial Benefit) Monthly Benefit Over Time $5,000 $4,000 $3,000 $2,000 $1,000 $0 '84 '86 '88 '90 '92 '94 '96 '98 '00 '02 '04 '06 '08 '10 '12 14B-24

25 VAPP Cons Benefits are volatile (see stabilization)» Get the good returns with the bad» Long term expected growth» Potential for short term pain Communication difficulties» 1990s easy» 2008 hard» Can be overcome Not common but increasing in number Contribution each year like DC no holiday 14B-25

26 Benefit Stabilization Possible Strategies Asset allocation changes Plan modifications» Floor benefit» Fixing retiree benefits» Caps on returns to shore benefits up in a down market by protecting high water mark There remain questions on how IRS and FASB could treat modifications 14B-26

27 Benefit Stabilization Reserve Building One time contribution or a policy» More difficult as plan matures Limit benefit increases» Cap increases at 10% a year (so returns above 14.4% build reserve)» Build reserve to desired level» Can build reserve in any maturity Plan could get overfunded to reduce overfunding:» Increase all benefits» Reduce employer contributions 14B-27

28 Benefit Stabilization Reserve Spending Protect High Water Mark Determined on year by year basis» Poor returns in the prior year» Reserve used to keep benefit from dropping» Only paid if reserve is sufficient» Plan not to drop below 100% funded Underlying VAPP not changed» Paid if reserve runs out» Paid if increases above prior high water mark 14B-28

29 Benefit Stabilization: Cap and Shore-up Cap increases at 10%, limit funded status to 125%, 4% hurdle» 70% Stocks / 30% bonds from 1926 to 1955; 115% funded at 1926 Monthly Benefit Over Time $7,000 $6,000 $5,000 $4,000 $3,000 $2,000 Flat $1,000 $1,000 Adjusted for Inflation 4% Hurdle VAPP ($1,000 Initial Benefit) Stabilized VAPP Benefit Methods $1,000 $0 '26 '28 '30 '32 '34 '36 '38 '40 '42 '44 '46 '48 '50 '52 '54 14B-29

30 Benefit Stabilization: Cap and Shore-up Cap increases at 10%, limit funded status to 125%, 4% hurdle» 70% Stocks / 30% bonds from 1955 to 1984; 115% funded at 1955 Monthly Benefit Over Time $7,000 $6,000 $5,000 $4,000 $3,000 $2,000 Flat $1,000 $1,000 Adjusted for Inflation 4% Hurdle VAPP ($1,000 Initial Benefit) Stabilized VAPP Benefit Methods $1,000 $0 '55 '57 '59 '61 '63 '65 '67 '69 '71 '73 '75 '77 '79 '81 '83 14B-30

31 Benefit Stabilization: Cap and Shore-up Cap increases at 10%, limit funded status to 125%, 4% hurdle» 70% Stocks / 30% bonds from 1984 to 2013; 115% funded at 1984 Monthly Benefit Over Time $7,000 $6,000 $5,000 $4,000 $3,000 $2,000 Flat $1,000 $1,000 Adjusted for Inflation 4% Hurdle VAPP ($1,000 Initial Benefit) Stabilized VAPP Benefit Methods $1,000 $0 '84 '86 '88 '90 '92 '94 '96 '98 '00 '02 '04 '06 '08 '10 '12 14B-31

32 Plan Feature Comparison Defined Benefit Cash Balance Guaranteed benefit never decreases Yes Yes Defined Contributio n Variable Annuity Lifelong income (if no lump sum) Yes Yes Yes Professional investment management and longevity pooling provide larger benefits Yes Yes Yes Supports retention and orderly retirement Yes Yes Yes Allocates contributions to long service Yes Yes Plan design protects older employees Yes Yes Stable cost Yes Yes Prevents investment losses and interest rate changes from creating contribution volatility Designed to provide post-retirement inflation protection 14B-32 Yes Yes Yes

33 Transition Considerations Current plan liabilities» May have legacy underfunded liabilities» Still need to manage that risk» De-risking options Could convert the current plan to a VAPP» From DC Plans» From Traditional DB Plans 14B-33

34 Questions? 14B-34

35 Resources Variable Annuities: A retirement plan design with less contribution volatility, by Mark Olleman, Ladd Preppernau and Kelly Coffing, Milliman White Paper, 2012 Asset Driven Liabilities: The Variable Annuity Plan, Donald Fuerst, Enrolled Actuaries Meeting, Session 103, April 7-10, The Retirement Crisis and a Plan to Solve It, by Senator Tom Harkin, July Hot Topics in Retirement: Waning Confidence and the Need for Continued Innovation, Survey Highlights, Aon Hewitt, Attraction and Retention: What Employees Value Most, by Steve Nyce, Towers Watson Insider, March Defined Benefit vs. 401(k) Investment Returns: The Update, Towers Watson Insider, December B-35

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