Pensions (11 - 20 of 463 items)
Pension Plan Valuation: Views on Using Multiple Measures to Offer a More Complete Financial Picture
GAO-14-264: Published: Sep 30, 2014. Publicly Released: Oct 30, 2014.
Public and private sector defined benefit pension plans are subject to different rules and guidance regarding discount rates—interest rates used to determine the current value of estimated future benefit payments. These differences can result in significant implications:Sponsors of public sector plans generally use discount rates using a long-term assumed average rate of return on plan assets. T...
Individual Retirement Accounts: Preliminary Information on IRA Balances Accumulated as of 2011 [Reissued on October 22, 2014]
GAO-14-878T: Published: Sep 16, 2014. Publicly Released: Sep 16, 2014.
For tax year 2011 (the most recent year available), an estimated 43 million taxpayers had individual retirement accounts (IRA) with total reported fair market value of $5.2 trillion. About 99 percent of those taxpayers had aggregate IRA balances (including inherited IRAs) of $1 million or less. As shown in the table below, few taxpayers had aggregated balances exceeding $5 million as of 2011. Gene...
401(K) Plans: Improvements Can Be Made to Better Protect Participants in Managed Accounts
GAO-14-310: Published: Jun 25, 2014. Publicly Released: Jul 29, 2014.
GAO's review of eight managed account providers who, in 2013, represented an estimated 95 percent of the industry involved in defined contribution plans, showed that they varied in how they structured managed accounts, including the services they offered and their reported fiduciary roles. Providers used varying strategies to manage participants' accounts and incorporated varying types and amounts...
Pension Advance Transactions: Questionable Business Practices Identified
GAO-14-420: Published: Jun 4, 2014. Publicly Released: Jul 7, 2014.
GAO identified at least 38 companies that offered individuals lump-sum payments or “advances” in exchange for receiving part or all of their pension payment streams. Eighteen of these companies were concentrated in one state, and 17 offered a range of other financial products in addition to pension advances. The 38 companies used multistep pension advance processes that included various other...
Private Pensions: Targeted Revisions Could Improve Usefulness of Form 5500 Information
GAO-14-441: Published: Jun 5, 2014. Publicly Released: Jul 7, 2014.
In a two-phase online GAO survey, stakeholders identified problems with the usefulness, reliability, and comparability of data from the Form 5500 (see table). Despite longstanding concerns with the Form 5500—the annual report that employee benefit plans file with the federal government—agency officials have made only minimal changes over the last 3 years.Key Challenges Identified with Form 550...
Private Pensions: Pension Tax Incentives Update
GAO-14-334R: Published: Mar 20, 2014. Publicly Released: Apr 21, 2014.
To encourage private-sector employers to sponsor new pension plans and U.S. workers to save for retirement, federal law authorizes a variety of tax incentives, such as the ability to defer taxes on contributions to qualified plans until the funds are distributed, up to certain limits. Since 2000, the dollar amount of these limits has increased over time. However, from 2009 through 2011, the number...
Retirement Security: Trends in Marriage and Work Patterns May Increase Economic Vulnerability for Some Retirees
GAO-14-33: Published: Jan 15, 2014. Publicly Released: Feb 26, 2014.
Over the last 50 years, the composition and work patterns of the American household have changed dramatically. During this period, the proportion of unmarried and never-married individuals in the population increased steadily as couples chose to marry at later ages and live together prior to marriage. At the same time, the proportion of single-parent households more than doubled. These trends were...
Private Pensions: Clarity of Required Reports and Disclosures Could Be Improved
GAO-14-92: Published: Nov 21, 2013. Publicly Released: Dec 17, 2013.
Sponsors of private sector pension plans are required to submit various reports to federal agencies and disclosures to participants depending on the plans' type, size, and circumstances. GAO identified more than 130 reports and disclosures stemming from provisions of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as amended (ERISA), and the Internal Revenue Code, as administered largely by t...
401(k) Plans: Other Countries' Experiences Offer Lessons in Policies and Oversight of Spend-down Options
GAO-14-9: Published: Nov 20, 2013. Publicly Released: Dec 16, 2013.
The six countries GAO reviewed can offer U.S. regulators lessons on how to expand access to a mix of spend-down options for 401(k) participants that meet various retirement needs. Five of the six countries generally ensure that participants can choose among three main plan options: a lump sum payment, a programmed withdrawal of participants' savings, or an annuity. In the last several decades, all...
Private Pensions: Revised Electronic Disclosure Rules Could Clarify Use and Better Protect Participant Choice
GAO-13-594: Published: Sep 13, 2013. Publicly Released: Nov 5, 2013.
Federal statutes and regulations under the purview of the Department of Labor (Labor) and the Department of the Treasury (Treasury) allow employers who sponsor private pension plans to furnish all pension disclosures to participants electronically:as the default delivery method if participants meet specific criteria regarding access, orif affirmative consent is obtained.When neither of these condi...