Pension Fund Board of Directors Updates Timing of Good Experience Credits & Special Apportionments
KANSAS CITY (November 20, 2017) - The Board of Directors of Pension Fund of the Christian Church made significant decisions for the benefit of our current and future members. Rev. Thaddaeus Allen opened our meeting with a reminder of our call for compassionate care of those in need, particularly servants of the church. During the three-day board meeting Directors met in four committees: Governance, Finance and Audit, Investments, and Membership and Benefits.
The Finance and Audit Committee met with Grant Thornton, external auditors, and Dawn Cooper, Internal Auditor, to receive reports and launch the 2017 audit cycle. Chair, Josh Santana, led the committee in a review of the 2017 operational performance of Pension Fund and recommended approval of the 2018 budgets, including the expansion of Ministerial Relief and Assistance.
The Governance Committee, chaired by Rev. Dr. William Lee, proposed the re-election of Rev. Thaddaeus Allen (West Virginia), Charlene Butz (Iowa), Brenda Cline (Texas), Rev. Dr. William Lee (Virginia), and Rev. Janet Long (Ohio) to the board. The board approved new members: Jabari Butler (Georgia), Greg Smith (Indiana), and Linda Hernandez Williams (California). Additionally, the Governance Committee completed the annual evaluation of President Rev. Dr. Todd A. Adams and received a legal update on legislative matters from Tara Sciscoe, General Counsel.
The Membership and Benefits Committee, chaired by Rev. Janet Long, reviewed the programs of Ministerial Relief and Assistance, seeking ways we can better serve members in their time of need. The Committee affirmed the process for the selection of Willis Towers Watson (WTW) as Pension Fund’s actuarial firm. WTW serves as the actuaries for the six largest church benefit plans. The Committee approved updates to the Pension Plan document, including merging the Puerto Rico plan back with the U.S. plan. The Puerto Rico plan was separated in order to receive standing from The Hacienda. Now that the plan has been approved, it can be merged back with the U.S. plan., The committee also approved a plan change for the Benefit Accumulation Account (BAA). As of Dec. 1, spouses of members may now open a BAA without having to open an IRA.
The Investment Committee, chaired by Camilla Lindsey, reviewed the Fund’s performance, the results of stress testing, and charted a course for the review of our investment guidelines. Most importantly, the committee recommended a new timeline for the authorization of Good Experience Credits and Special Apportionments.
Beginning in 2018, Good Experience Credits (GECs), additional interest which may be added to specific accounts upon board approval, will be determined based on Sept. 30 funding levels for approval at the November board meeting and payment on or before Dec. 31. The calculation will continue to use a member’s 12-month average daily balance. In 2018, Pension Fund will have the opportunity to award two GECs based on investment performance. The first opportunity is in February 2018 based on 2017 market performance and paid on or before March 31. The second opportunity will be on the new schedule. The shift will allow members to receive the funding, the year in which the money is earned.
Beginning in 2019, Special Apportionments (SAs), additional pension credits which may be added to accounts upon board approval, will be determined at the April board meeting, based on audited financials. SAs will continue to be applied on the July 1 pension payment. There were no proposed changes to the calculations or funding level requirements to award GECs and SAs.
Rev. Esteban Gonzalez-Doble, expressed words of appreciation for Pension Fund’s partnership, care, and concern during Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Dr. Adams shared a moving letter from Rev. Miguel Morales, General Pastor of the Christian Church in Puerto Rico. Through Ministerial Relief and Assistance, Pension Fund provided over $367,000 in assistance, including sending 100 generators to the island.
The board reviewed the new Pension Fund website (www.pensionfund.org) which is now mobile friendly and available in all languages through Google Translate. Through the new website, members can donate to Ministerial Relief and check their account balances. The board is scheduled to meet in 2018 via conference call in February and in person in April (St. Louis, MO) and November (St. Augustine, FL).