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PBGC Blog: Retirement Matters

Weekly Pension News Round-Up

  |   March 15, 2013

Here's what made headlines this week in pension news:  

The Journal Gazette publishes, "Retiring securely a rising concern."

HeraldNet runs, "Pensions part of system that actually works right." 

SmartHR Manager blogs about "More Pension Sponsors Considering Lump-sum Payouts." 

Do you have any idea where the United States ranks when it comes to retirement security? You guessed first place? No, that's not it.

Second? Not that either.

In fact, the U.S. barely made the top 20 ranking. The U.S. ranked number 19, among 150 countries listed by retirement security, behind many Eastern and Western European countries, according to Natixis Global Asset Management firm.

The Natixis Global Retirement Index "gauges how well retired citizens live in 150 nations" based on 20 measures of health, wealth, quality of life and "material well-being" that affect citizens' retirement security.

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Here's what made headlines this week in pension news: 

Crain's Detroit Business writes, "PBGC to take over Metavation pension plans before supplier is sold."

PLANSPONSOR.COM offers PBGC perspectives on multiemployer plan issues in "Gotbaum Offers Suggestions for Multiemployer Plan Crisis."

PBGC will pay retirement benefits for more than 1,500 current and future retirees of Metavation LLC, an auto parts supplier based in Southfield, Mich. 

The agency is stepping in because the company's parent, Revstone Transportation LLC, is selling its ownership interest. The transaction will further compromise Metavation's underfunded pension plans, which will be unable to pay retirement benefits.

Formally known as Hillsdale Automotive LLC until 2008, Metavation sponsors two pension plans: the Hillsdale Salaried Pension Plan and the Hillsdale Hourly Pension Plan. Both plans will end as of March 1, 2013.

PBGC will pay all pension benefits earned by the company's retirees up to the legal limit of about $57,500 a year for a 65-year-old.

Until PBGC becomes trustee, the plan remains under Metavation's control. Plan participants will be notified by letter when the agency takes responsibility. At that time, retirees will continue to get benefits without interruption, and future retirees can apply for benefits when eligible.

Metavation makes powertrain and chassis components for the automotive industry. The company also provides other parts for engines, drivelines, and transmissions.

According to PBGC estimates based on information provided by Metavation, the plan is 50 percent funded with $47 million in assets to pay $93 million in benefits. The agency is expected to cover most of the $46 million shortfall.

Participants with questions about their pension benefits should contact the plan administrator. The agency won't be able to address concerns about benefits until it takes responsibility for the plan.

From Sandy Rich, Chief of Negotiations and Restructuring:

Beechcraft, previously known as Hawker Beechcraft, emerged from bankruptcy February 21. Despite the company's original plan to terminate three pension plans, we at PBGC were able to work with the company, its employees, and company creditors to preserve one of the three plans while providing the safety net of PBGC trusteeship to the two terminated pension plans.

Beechcraft will continue a pension plan that will provide benefits to 8,300 participants. PBGC will provide guaranteed level benefits to the 9,500 beneficiaries of the terminated plans. In addition, PBGC supported a $2.5 million settlement with Beechcraft that will provide salaried retirees additional benefits exceeding those paid by PBGC under rules set by Congress.

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Image of a check with the word bank

Millions of Americans take advantage of direct deposit. Whether it's their payroll checks, tax refunds, or benefit payments, many are opting out of paper checks and opting in to convenience.

We want you to know that PBGC offers that same convenience.

Undecided about whether you should switch to direct deposit? Our most recent studies show:

  • 8 out of 9 payment delays affect people who get paper checks
  • More than one in every 200 paper checks is delayed, usually because of postal issues

Paper checks can also be lost or stolen.

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