Four Southern District carpenters' union pension funds are discussing merging in order to consolidate administrative operations, said Jay Youngdahl, partner at The Youngdahl Law Firm, who represents the pension funds.
He would not identify the pension funds, but said they consist of two defined benefit plans in Louisiana, one in the Houston area and one that covers Oklahoma, Arkansas, northern Texas and parts of other states.
Among the more visible carpenters pension funds in those areas are the Carpenters & Millwrights of Houston & Vicinity Pension Fund (which had $198 million in assets as of Dec. 31, 2021, according to its most recent Form 5500 filing), the New Orleans Carpenters' Pension Plan (which had $109 million) and the Louisiana Carpenters Pension Fund (which had $78 million).
Mr. Youngdahl said the pension funds have been doing due diligence on the merger, a common actuary has shown a number of benefits to merging the plans, and the board of trustees are meeting to vote on approving the merger by the end of August.
Upon a vote, a request for approval of the merger will be sent to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp., which has 120 days to approve the merger. He said this means any merger would likely not occur until the end of the year at the earliest.
One merger that occurred earlier this year was the merger of the Northeast Carpenters Funds and the Carpenters Funds of Philadelphia & Vicinity, effective Jan. 1, into the newly created Eastern Atlantic States Carpenters Funds.
Southern District carpenters' pension funds have Southern Benefit Administrators in common as a third-party administrator. Kristin Reeds, a pension administrator there, could not be immediately reached for further information.