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The Board Bulletin — Summer 2014


After each regular meeting of the Board of Directors of The Board of Pensions of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the Board of Pensions publishes The Board Bulletin, providing a record of actions taken at the meeting. This Board Bulletin reports actions taken at the summer 2014 meeting that affect plans and programs administered by the Board.

Frank Spencer Engages Directors at His Inaugural Meeting as President

The annual meeting of the Board of Directors, which marked the first for Frank C. Spencer as President of the Board of Pensions, was July 12 in Philadelphia. During the meeting, the 2013 audited financial statements were distributed, satisfying the annual meeting requirements of the Board’s bylaws. (The Board’s audited financials are available in the 2013 Annual Review, on pensions.org.)

Mr. Spencer was elected President by the Board of Directors on February 28, 2014. The 221st General Assembly (2014) confirmed his election on June 18, and he assumed the position on July 1.

Mr. Spencer assured the Directors that the Board of Pensions will remain focused on its good works while it seeks to engage the denomination in positive and creative ways. He added, “You have my commitment that we will continue to be an active partner in interagency collaborations. It strengthens the Body and us as an organization.”


Balanced Investment Portfolio Returns 4.1 Percent for Five Months Ended May 31, 2014

Jacqueline D. Jenkins, Chair of the Investment Committee, provided an overview of the work of the Investment Committee on behalf of members of the Benefits Plan and their beneficiaries.

The Committee affirmed the long-term strategic asset allocation ranges and the May 31, 2014, asset allocation of 35.6 percent in U.S. stocks, 21.5 percent in international stocks, 30.0 percent in fixed income, and 12.9 percent in other assets. The Committee reviewed the fixed-income component of the Balanced Investment Portfolio and approved additional allocations to existing managers. The Investment team provided an overview of the historical impact of inflation on investment portfolios as well as a review of potential inflation protection strategies. 

Ms. Jenkins reviewed the 2014 year-to-date performance of 4.1 percent within the framework of global economic and political events that resulted in volatile investment performance for many asset classes. The Balanced Investment Portfolio exceeded the return of the asset mix policy benchmark for the one, three, five, 10, 15, and 20 years ended May 31, 2014. The policy benchmark assumes passive management of the portfolio using index funds. 

The Balanced Investment Portfolio is the investment fund for the Pension Plan, Death and Disability Plan, Endowment Fund, and Assistance Program, as well as for restricted gifts made to the Board of Pensions. On May 31, 2014, the portfolio had a market value of $8.7 billion.


Dues for Affiliated Benefits Program and Seminary Students To Rise in 2015; Dues Action for Medicare Supplement Plan Deferred

Affiliated Benefits Program (ABP)

The Directors approved an increase in monthly dues of approximately 3 percent, on average, for active ABP participants and ABP early retirees. This increase, which takes effect January 1, 2015, reflects the claims experience for this population during the past year.

Through the ABP, churches and other employing organizations may offer medical coverage only — or medical with death and disability coverage — to employees who are in non-installed positions and are scheduled to work 20 hours a week or more. This program does not include a pension plan, although ABP participants are eligible to participate in the Retirement Savings Plan of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) where offered by the employing organization. Employers may require covered employees to share in the cost of their medical coverage. 

2015 ABP MEDICAL DUES (MONTHLY)
Coverage Level
Active
 
Continuation (Post-Employment)
& Early Retiree
Member
  $643
  $656
Member + children
  $954
  $973
Member + covered partner
$1,319
$1,345
Member + family
$1,718
$1,752

Seminary Students

The Directors approved the following 2015 monthly medical dues for seminary students:

2015 SEMINARY STUDENT MEDICAL DUES (MONTHLY)
Coverage Level
Monthly Dues
 
Member
$503
Member + children
$781
Member + covered partner
$781
Member + family
$889

Medicare Supplement Plan

Board staff and the Medical Plan’s actuary, Milliman Inc., presented a summary of historical actuarial forecasts for the Medicare Supplement Plan and an analysis of the plan’s more recent medical and prescription drug experience, in which they noted trend volatility and continued Medicare Part D subsidy income uncertainty.

The Healthcare Committee recommended that staff be authorized to establish the 2015 Medicare Supplement Plan subscription charges for all participants in the fall so that rates can be set using the most current information possible. The Committee stipulated that any dues increase for the 2015 Medicare Supplement Plan may not exceed $14 per participant per month.


Consultant and Counsel Engagements and Contract Renewals Approved

The Directors authorized Board staff to renew retention of the following consultants and counsel:

  • Deloitte and Touche LLP, for independent audit services
  • Towers Watson, for pension actuarial counsel
  • Milliman Inc., for medical actuarial counsel
  • Ballard Spahr LLP, for legal counsel

They also authorized the Board to renew contracts for one year with the following Medical Plan service providers:

  • Anthem Blue Cross of Kentucky
  • Cigna Global Health Benefits
  • Cigna Behavioral Health

Timeline Set for Relief of Conscience on Same-Gender Partner Benefits

The Social Responsibility and Church Relations Committee agreed to a timeline for developing a relief of conscience approach (or approaches) for churches and employing organizations for whom the extension of benefits to same-gender partners of Benefits Plan members causes a moral dilemma.

According to the timeline, the Committee will consider various approaches at the Board of Directors meeting in October. The church relations implications of any approach will be part of that consideration.

The Committee will then recommend an approach to the full Board of Directors at its meeting in March 2015. If approved, the recommendation will be reported to the 222nd General Assembly (2016). That report would likely be as a Final Response to Referral, as it would stem from the urging of the 219th General Assembly (2010) that the Board of Pensions provide such relief.

This Board Bulletin account and a Board of Pensions website posting with the same content will serve as the interim progress report on the relief of conscience issue that the 221st General Assembly (2014) asked the Board of Pensions to provide after this Board of Directors meeting. The request was part of the Assembly’s consideration of Item 12-12.


New Directors Join Board of Directors

Bringing demographic and geographic diversity to their roles, 10 new Directors were welcomed at the July 12, 2014, meeting of the Board of Directors. The names, home locations, and committee assignments of the new Directors follow: 

Philip D. Amoa (Philadelphia)
Board Development & Governance; Legal; Pension
Rev. Wendy S. Bailey (Hamilton, N.J.)
Assistance; Social Responsibility & Church Relations
Fredric J. Bold Jr. (Lilburn, Ga.)
Assistance; Board Development & Governance; Legal
Richard R. Clark, MD (Racine, Wis.)
Healthcare; Social Responsibility & Church Relations
Rev. Amy W. Fowler (Rochester, N.Y.)
Healthcare; Social Responsibility & Church Relations
Rev. Arlene W. Gordon (Sunrise, Fla.)
Assistance
Claude C. Lilly III (Clinton, S.C.)
Audit & Compliance; Pension
John D. Mitchell (Fort Worth, Texas)
Audit & Compliance; Healthcare
Roger L. Myers (Canton, Mich.)
Audit & Compliance; Pension
Paul Vikner (Allentown, Pa.)
Audit & Compliance; Investment

Elected by the 221st General Assembly (2014), the new Directors replace members of the outgoing Class of 2014, whose terms expired at the conclusion of the General Assembly (see The Board Bulletin, Spring 2014).  


Gifts to the Assistance Program

The Assistance Program of the Board of Pensions has been the grateful recipient of two special gifts in the past several months:

  • At the March Board meeting, the outgoing Directors of the Board of Pensions (Class of 2014) demonstrated their support of the ministry of the Assistance Program to PC(USA) church workers by presenting a Class Gift, carrying on a tradition begun by the prior two classes.
  • At the July Board meeting, John W. Hamm, Chair of the Board, announced that many gifts had been received in honor of the retirement of Robert W. Maggs Jr. as President and CEO of the Board of Pensions. Gifts were given by many current and former Directors and Board staff, and other colleagues and friends throughout the denomination, including several churches.

Questions or Comments?

  • Write communications@pensions.org or
    The Board of Pensions of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
    2000 Market Street
    Philadelphia, PA 19103-3298
  • Call 800-773-7752 (800-PRESPLAN)

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