Showing posts with label Pension-Cut-Delay-Power. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Pension-Cut-Delay-Power. Show all posts

Aug 24, 2010

Pension Cut Delay Power

The coverage ratio (=  A / DFB = Assets / Discounted Future Benefits) is probably seen as the most important indicator of the health of a pension fund. Due to fair value accounting, low interest rates and the continuing credit crisis, the average coverage ratio dropped from 150% to  percent to 85-95% in the Netherlands. On basis of the Dutch pension law, Minister Donner and the Dutch Regulator (DNB) are now forcing some (major) pension funds to (unwillingly) cut  pension rights as from January 1, 2011.

Cutting pension rights now is premature
Although it looks certain that some major changes in the Dutch pension system will be necessary in the near future, pension cuts like proposed by DNB and the Dutch minister of Social Affairs seem inappropriate and unwise.

Board members like Dick Sluimers (APG/ABP Pension fund) argue that steering and judging a pension fund solely on basis of a 'day to day' (high volatility) coverage ratio is unprofessional. I would agree with Sluimers that a longer term average coverage ratio would be more appropriate to judge whether  a pension fund is on the right track...

Looking from a pension board captain's perspective: having just one  Coverage Ratio Indicator (CRI) on your pension dashboard is simply not enough to safely navigate your pension ship into the next harbor . Besides the day-to-day CRI and the Average long term CRI, a more dedicated indicator is needed....

Just like in case of a half full tank it's necessary to know the remaining distance and the the gas mileage of your car, in case of navigating your pension fund in heavy weather (i.c. relatively low coverage rates (70-100%)) it's important to know the the Pension-Cut-Delay-Power (PCDP ) of your pension fund.
The PCDP of a fund can be defined as the approximate maximal number of years that a fund is able to delay a required pension cut rate without ending up with a substantial (P%) higher required pension cut rate afterwards. In (an approximating*) formula:

P = Justifiable extra charge (in %) on top of required pension cut rate after PCDP years in case the coverage ratio is still insufficient at the same level as before.
DFB = Discounted Future Benefits (source : annual report)
ABP = Annual Benefit Payment (source : annual report)

Example: Pension Fund Dutch Metal scheme PME
Coverage Ratio ult. June 2010: CR=95%
From the annual report: DFB= €20bn, ABP= € 1bn
Set (choose) P=10%
Pension cut rate (without delay) as of 2011, suppose : PCR= 5% (=100%-95%)
*) approximating: Mature Pension Fund


Pension-Cut-Delay-Power = PCDP = P * DFB / ABP = 0.1*20/1 = 2 year
Pension cut rate (with 2 year delay) as of 2013: 5.5% (=5%*(1+10%))

Of course, the choice of P an PCR is up to the pension board within the limits set by the regulator.

As is clear from the above example, a two year delay relieves pension fund FME from the burden to put all energy, emotion and costs into an operation with minimal financial effects in the next two years, while at the same time it puts FME in the position to develop a new policy and new models to cope with the new market situation.

It's time for new pension dash board parameters like PCDC.

Actuaries are in the unique position to help pension fund members to regain control. Pick up your responsibility.

Related Links & Sources:
- PF APG (ABP) boss Dick Sluimers on the volatility of coverage ratios (2009)
- Dutch CPB: Who bears the pension loss?
- The great recession. CPB about the credit crisis
- Approximation PCDP Formula