Central States Pension Annual Financial: $15.3 billion

The Central States Pension Fund Financial Report (4th Quarter 2016) shows that the fund ended 2016 with $15.3 billion in assets, down from $16.1 billion a year earlier. Due to healthy returns on bonds and in the stock market, this was not as bad as 2015 but still shows the fund headed steadily downward.

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That fourth quarter report and the Report of the Independent Special Counsel include some updates to report to members

  • The fund had 59,479 actives and 203,415 retirees in November 2016. The number of retirees is very slowly declining.

  • The fund made 8.5% on investments in 2016.

  • The fund projects that it “will be insolvent within ten years” unless a solution is found. With that in mind, the fund’s investment manager, Northern Trust, plans to “gradually increase allocation of the fund’s asset to fixed income investments [bonds].”

  • The Government Accounting Office (GAO) investigation of the Central States Fund and its oversight, which was demanded by the pension protection movement, is ongoing. The GAO will likely issue reports in July or August. In March 2016, the GAO interviewed the fund’s Trustees, Northern Trust, and fund advisors.

  • The fund’s investment income was $1.22 billion and employer contributions totaled $774 million, for a total income of $2.0 billion. This was $800 million short of benefits paid of $2.8 billion. In the prior year, 2015, employer contributions were higher because Republic Services (waste) paid $139 million and US Foods paid $97 million in withdrawal liability in 2015, to exit the fund.

  • The fund claims that “the trustees have also resolved to cooperate with Congress, regulatory agencies, unions, employers, and private parties and organizations to search for a solution….”

It is high time for the fund to not only cooperate, but put on a full-court press to find a legislative solution to the pension crisis.

The Hoffa administration has done almost nothing to help, and the crisis is spreading to member Teamsters. As the report makes clear, the IBT has even sided with Kroger Corp. against the Fund to try to pull 7,000 more members out of fund.

The Financial Report of the Health and Welfare Fund continues to show a completely different picture. The H&W Fund (TeamCare) continues to grow in assets, and has enormous reserves of $5.0 billion, up nearly a billion dollars over a year ago.

The Central States Financial Reports are available to members and retirees only because TDU won a victory in federal court which ended a financial cover-up by the fund.

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