|ANNUAL FUNDING NOTICE
for the National Electrical Benefit Fund
This notice includes important information about the funding status of your pension plan (“the plan”) and general information about the benefit payments guaranteed by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (“PBGC”), a federal insurance agency. All traditional pension plans (called “defined benefit pension plans”) must provide this notice every year regardless of their funding status. This notice does not mean that the plan is terminating. In fact, despite the difficult economic times and the market losses in 2008, the plan has substantially rebounded. As a result, the plan is in sound financial condition and is considered a “green zone” plan (rather than a plan in endangered or critical status). This notice is provided for informational purposes and you are not required to respond in any way. This notice is for the plan year beginning January 1, 2011 and ending December 31, 2011 (“plan year”).
How Well Funded Is Your Plan?
Under federal law, the plan must report how well it is funded by using a measure called the “funded percentage.” This percentage is obtained by dividing the plan’s assets by its liabilities on the Valuation Date for the plan year. In general, the higher the percentage, the better funded the plan. Your plan’s funded percentage for the plan year and each of the two preceding plan years is set forth in the chart below, along with a statement of the value of the plan’s assets and liabilities for the same period.
The funded percentage and value of assets shown above reflect the election of funding relief under the Preservation of Access to Care of Medicare Beneficiaries and Pension Relief Act of 2010.
Year-End Fair Market Value of Assets
The asset values in the chart above are measured as of the Valuation Date for the plan year and are actuarial values. Because market values can fluctuate daily based on factors in the marketplace, such as changes in the stock market, pension law allows plans to use actuarial values that are designed to smooth out those fluctuations for funding purposes. The asset values below are market values and are measured as of the last day of the plan year, rather than as of the Valuation Date. Substituting the market value of assets for the actuarial value used in the above chart would show a clearer picture of a plan’s funded status as of the Valuation Date. The fair market value of the plan’s assets as of the last day of the plan year and each of the two preceding plan years (to match the Valuation Dates) is shown in the following table:
Critical or Endangered Status
Under federal pension law a plan generally will be considered to be in “endangered” status if, at the beginning of the plan year, the funded percentage of the plan is less than 80 percent or in “critical” status if the percentage is less than 65 percent (other factors may also apply). If a pension plan enters endangered status, the trustees of the plan are required to adopt a funding improvement plan. Similarly, if a pension plan enters critical status, the trustees of the plan are required to adopt a rehabilitation plan. Rehabilitation and funding improvement plans establish steps and benchmarks for pension plans to improve their funding status over a specified period of time.
The plan was not in endangered or critical status in the plan year.
The total number of participants in the plan as of the plan’s Valuation Date, January 1, 2011, was 488,864. Of this number, 216,081 were active participants, 114,533 were retired or separated from service and receiving benefits, and 158,250 were retired or separated from service and entitled to future benefits.
Funding and Investment Policies
Every pension plan must have a procedure for establishing a funding policy to carry out plan objectives. A funding policy relates to the level of assets needed to pay for benefits promised under the plan currently and over the years. The funding policy of the plan is to ensure that the employer contributions to the plan, coupled with long-term investment returns, will keep the plan financially secure and permit the plan to meet all current and future liabilities. The Trustees have determined that the 3% of gross labor payroll contribution rate will continue to satisfy this funding policy.
Once money is contributed to the plan, the money is invested by plan officials called fiduciaries, who make specific investments in accordance with the plan’s investment policy. Generally speaking, an investment policy is a written statement that provides the fiduciaries who are responsible for plan investments with guidelines or general instructions concerning investment management decisions. The investment policy of the plan is to select a diversified investment portfolio designed to balance risk and return, and to hire or contract with professional investment staff and advisers to ensure that the allocation of investments are prudent and that the individual investment funds and managers are achieving the goals established by the plan.
Under the plan’s investment policy, the plan’s assets were allocated among the following categories of investments, as of the end of the plan year. These allocations are percentages of total assets:
For information about the plan’s investment in any of the following types of investments as described in the chart above — common / collective trusts, pooled separate accounts, master trust investment accounts, or 103-12 investment entities — contact the Trustees of the National Electrical Benefit Fund, who are the plan administrators, at 2400 Research Boulevard, Suite 500, Rockville, Maryland 20850-3266, or (301) 556-4300.
Right to Request a Copy of the Annual Report
A pension plan is required to file with the US Department of Labor an annual report called the Form 5500 that contains financial and other information about the plan. Copies of the annual report are available from the U. S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration’s Public Disclosure Room at 200 Constitution Avenue, NW, Room N-1513, Washington, DC 20210, or by calling (202) 693-8673. For 2009 and subsequent plan years, you may obtain an electronic copy of the plan’s annual report by going to www.efast.dol.gov and using the Form 5500 search function. Or you may obtain a copy of the plan’s annual report by making a written request to the plan administrator. Individual information, such as the amount of your accrued benefit under the plan, is not contained in the annual report. If you are seeking information regarding your benefits under the plan, contact the plan administrator identified below under “Where to Get More Information.”
Summary of Rules Governing Plans in Reorganization and
Federal law has a number of special rules that apply to financially troubled multiemployer plans. The plan administrator is required by law to include a summary of these rules in the annual funding notice. Under so-called “plan reorganization rules,” a plan with adverse financial experience may need to increase required contributions and may, under certain circumstances, reduce benefits that are not eligible for the PBGC’s guarantee (generally, benefits that have been in effect for less than 60 months). If a plan is in reorganization status, it must provide notification that the plan is in reorganization status and that, if contributions are not increased, accrued benefits under the plan may be reduced or an excise tax may be imposed (or both). The plan is required to furnish this notification to each contributing employer and the labor organization.
Despite these special plan reorganization rules, a plan in reorganization could become insolvent. A plan is insolvent for a plan year if its available financial resources are not sufficient to pay benefits when due for that plan year. An insolvent plan must reduce benefit payments to the highest level that can be paid from the plan’s available resources. If such resources are not enough to pay benefits at the level specified by law (see Benefit Payments Guaranteed by the PBGC, below), the plan must apply to the PBGC for financial assistance. The PBGC will loan the plan the amount necessary to pay benefits at the guaranteed level. Reduced benefits may be restored if the plan’s financial condition improves.
A plan that becomes insolvent must provide prompt notice of its status to participants and beneficiaries, contributing employers, labor unions representing participants, and PBGC. In addition, participants and beneficiaries also must receive information regarding whether, and how, their benefits will be reduced or affected, including loss of a lump sum option. This information will be provided for each year the plan is insolvent.
Benefit Payments Guaranteed by the PBGC
The maximum benefit that the PBGC guarantees is set by law. Only benefits that you have earned a right to receive and that can not be forfeited (called vested benefits) are guaranteed. Specifically, the PBGC guarantees a monthly benefit payment equal to 100 percent of the first $11.00 of the plan’s monthly benefit accrual rate, plus 75 percent of the next $33.00 of the accrual rate, times each year of credited service. The PBGC’s maximum guarantee, therefore, is $35.75 per month times a participant’s years of credited service.
Example 1: If a participant with 10 years of credited service has an accrued monthly benefit of $500.00, the accrual rate for purposes of determining the PBGC guarantee would be determined by dividing the monthly benefit by the participant’s years of service ($500.00 / 10), which equals $50.00. The guaranteed amount for a $50.00 monthly accrual rate is equal to the sum of $11.00 plus $24.75 (.75 x $33.00), or $35.75. Thus, the participant’s guaranteed monthly benefit is $357.50 ($35.75 x 10).
Example 2: If the participant in Example 1 has an accrued monthly benefit of $200.00, the accrual rate for purposes of determining the guarantee would be $20.00 (or $200.00 / 10). The guaranteed amount for a $20.00 monthly accrual rate is equal to the sum of $11.00 plus $6.75 (.75 x $9.00), or $17.75. Thus, the participant’s guaranteed monthly benefit would be $177.50 ($17.75 x 10).
The PBGC guarantees pension benefits payable at normal retirement age and some early retirement benefits. In calculating a person’s monthly payment, the PBGC will disregard any benefit increases that were made under the plan within 60 months before the earlier of the plan’s termination or insolvency (or benefits that were in effect for less than 60 months at the time of termination or insolvency). Similarly, the PBGC does not guarantee pre-retirement death benefits to a spouse or beneficiary (e.g., a qualified pre-retirement survivor annuity) if the participant dies after the plan terminates, benefits above the normal retirement benefit, disability benefits not in pay status, or non-pension benefits, such as health insurance, life insurance, death benefits, vacation pay, or severance pay.
Where to Get More Information
For more information about this notice, you may contact the Trustees of the National Electrical Benefit Fund, who are the plan administrators, at 2400 Research Boulevard, Suite 500, Rockville, Maryland 20850-3266, or (301) 556-4300. For identification purposes, the official plan number is 001 and the plan sponsor’s name and employer identification number or “EIN” is Trustees of the National Electrical Benefit Fund, 53-0181657. For more information about the PBGC, go to PBGC's website,.