The PBGC is dumping its list of 50 worst-funded pension plans. Agency executives said law changes have provided them with other ways to keep up the pressure on companies. But James B. Lockhart III, the former PBGC executive director who began publishing the list in 1990, said its death might be premature.
``It was a useful reminder to participants and (other) people of the underfunding. On the other hand, I can't argue that the PBGC has had a very strong turnaround,'' and reported a surplus of around $1 billion this year, said Mr. Lockhart, now a partner and CFO at Net Risk Inc.
Regulators have issued a proposal to streamline and simplify Form 5500, the annual reports employers must file for pension plans under ERISA.
The proposal, published in today's Federal Register, has a common form for use by both large and small plan sponsors. It was issued jointly by the Labor Department, PBGC and IRS. It would consist of a single page of eight questions, along with a checklist to indicate supplementary schedules being filed that are applicable to the employer's type of pension plan.
The agencies are requesting public comments and plan a public hearing on Nov. 17.
Staff of the California State Teachers' Retirement System, Sacramento, is recommending the $80 billion fund begin internal management of passive domestic equity for the first time. Approval is expected next week. The first allocation, $1 billion, would be indexed to the S&P 500. CalSTRS would continue its $18 billion external passive domestic equity management program.
Testimony in the Harris Trust vs. John Hancock case concluded yesterday, after defendant Hancock's sole expert witness - David Babbel, a finance professor at Wharton - was cross-examined.
Judge Denny Chin, who has presided over the three-week U.S. District Court bench trial, asked both sides to submit post-trial briefs within 30 days. These will summarize the evidence and include legal arguments demonstrating whether Hancock complied with its fiduciary duties under ERISA or acted in its own interests.
VIA Rail Canada, Montreal, is getting closer to finishing an expansion of its managed futures allocation, and has begun interviews with potential money managers, said Chris Caswell, director-corporate financial services. The added commitment will be for C$16 million, and will complement its existing C$6 million allocation to a managed futures-linked structured note, he said.
Officials for the C$1.2 billion (U.S. $870 million) fund have interviewed six firms, and will be interviewing more in coming weeks, he said. VIA Rail executives are still determining what type of structure and product to use. A decision is expected by the end of October.