AFTRA Retirement Plan Gains 5.9% Value

The AFTRA-Producers Retirement Plan gained 5.9% to $1.86 billion in fair market value of its assets last year and continues to operate with more than 80% funding of its liabilities.

The plan, which operates independently of the SAG-AFTRA performers union, made the disclosures this week on its website and as part of a bare-bones summary sent to its 43,099 participants, (those included 17,287 who were active participants, 8,747 who were retired and receiving benefits and 17,065 retirees entitled to future benefits).

The funding percentage as of Dec. 1, 2011, was 89.4% — well above “endangered” status of 80%, but slightly below the 2010 figure of 90.8%. The 2012 percentage was not disclosed in the report other than saying it was not “endangered.”

Asset allocations included 34.6% in corporate stocks, 23.6% in corporate debt and 11.1% in real estate.

The SAG and AFTRA plans — which are funded by employers contributing 16.5% of performer earnings — were at the center of the debate over the merger between SAG and AFTRA, which members approved a year ago. Merger backers asserted that the SAG-AFTRA combo would increase bargaining strength and represent a first step toward solving the problem of performers not qualifying for coverage under separate plans.

That issue was a key in the merger campaign, with opponents complaining unsuccessfully that SAG leaders had not performed an audit on the impact of merging the plans.

SAG-AFTRA leaders requested last summer that trustees of SAG pension and health plans and the AFTRA health and retirement plans hold discussions on how to merge the plans. SAG-AFTRA national exec director David White, who was already a trustee on the SAG plan, was appointed earlier this year to the AFTRA health and retirement board of trustees with the aim of aiding the process of merging the plans.

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