From the Executive Editor

By Norman Levinrad • November 12, 2015 • 0 Comments

Wow, the days sure roll by fast from one content submission deadline to another! Here we are in mid-November, with year end soon upon us. I never realized when I accepted the Executive Editor position that essentially I’d be the pension equivalent of a streetcorner beggar, holding a cardboard sign that says, “Hungry, need articles! Anything helps.”

I’ve mentioned before (actually I have mentioned it in every edition so far) what an excellent resource the ACOPA list serve is for us actuaries. Think about it: There are about 10,000 years of accumulated experience and expertise out there for you to tap… for free! And in real time! On Oct. 13 I used this resource myself, as I often do. I had a situation where I was not sure if I could sign a Schedule SB for a Dec. 31, 2014 year end. I posted this question on the list serve: 

An actuary at a TPA firm left and I was brought in to help them on their plans. On one particular plan, I duplicated exactly their 1/1/14 val, which used two tiers of benefits. Problem is that no one seems to have a copy of the amendment that changed from one tier for everyone to the two tier formula. I do have a copy of a 204(h) notice which references a June 2013 amendment, and the notice says it’s being provided to the affected participants under the 2nd tier, but does not detail who those participants are or what job classes tier 2 applies to. A few months ago when I sent out the 1/1/14 val which I duplicated, I said in the cover email it was based on the 2013 amendment but said I’d need a signed copy of the amendment to sign the ’14 SB. Of course here we are on 10/13 and of course the TPA firm is asking me to sign the SB. I said, “Sorry, I can’t do that without the signed amendment.” Do you agree? Would you sign this based on these facts? 

Within an hour I had about 20 detailed responses from other experienced actuaries supporting my instinct that I could not sign this SB — tremendous advice, all provided for free and within an hour! If you are not using the list serve, I urge you to give it a try. I know many of you out there are too shy to post questions because maybe you are embarrassed asking a question or afraid someone will question your judgment — if this is the case, just email me your question and I will post it for you as if it’s from me. After all, I have never been accused of being shy.

My job was made easy this month with two excellent submissions. I asked Jim Holland to give me a writeup of the final §430 regulations and Jim agreed to do this. We’re doing this in two parts — Part 1 is here and Part 2 will follow in our December edition.

Our second article this month is from James Turpin. James writes about an apparent conflict between the standard under ASOP 35 and the §430 regulations for recognizing an event after the valuation date. This excellent article is here.

As always, I ask our Executive Director Judy Miller to give us a regular update on the big things happening in DC. Judy’s update on some of the proposals being discussed to improve our system is here. I for one sure hope some of these get implemented!

Lastly, I have included our monthly update from our Leadership Council from ACOPA’s President Karen Smith. I am always keen to hear what our leaders are working on, and if you want to know too, then you have this information from Karen here.

Have a fantastic Thanksgiving, everyone! Don’t let me spoil the day for you, but note this: According to news reports, the average person consumes approximately 3,700-4,200 calories during the entire day. Thinking of doing some exercise to burn it off? No problem, you’d only need to jog for about six and a half hours. Here’s a list of 10 different ways to burn off those Thanksgiving calories.