Pension Funds on Track for Market Value Conversion

11/27/1996 12:00:00 AM

     MINNEAPOLIS (ELCA) -- Balanced and bond funds managed by the
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's Board of Pensions are
"on track" for converting to market value Jan. 1, 1997, staff
reported to the board's trustees at their quarterly meeting here
Nov. 2-3.  Market value is a price at which both buyers and
sellers are willing to do business.
     The purpose of the pension plan is to provide the means for
ELCA pastors and other church employees to accumulate funds in a
tax-efficient manner for retirement income.  Over the years,
contributions made by the employer are collected and investment
earnings are added.  At the plan member's direction, the money is
invested in stocks, bonds or balanced funds of both stocks and
     Currently the funds are valued on a "contributions plus
credited interest" basis.  Investment earnings are credited to
members' accounts based on a multi-year performance formula.
     Earlier the board decided to convert to market value on Jan.
1 if funded ratios were at least 100 percent.  As of Sept. 30,
the three bond funds (Bond, Social Purpose Bond and the former
Lutheran Church in America's Fixed Income Pension Bond) and three
balanced funds (Balanced, Social Purpose Balanced, and the former
American Lutheran Church's Balanced) involved were above the 100
percent mark, ranging from 102 to 118 percent.
     The board also decided that if any of the funds drops below
100 percent by Dec. 31, 1996, the conversion for that fund will
take place when it rises above that threshold.  The stock funds
are already reported at market value.  About two-thirds of the
board's $3.4 billion in assets is now in bond and balanced funds.
     Management also reported that so far this year all asset
classes of board investments were performing ahead of their
benchmarks.  For the past five-year period the equity pools have
averaged 13.82 percent (annually net of fees and expenses), the
fixed income pools 7.77 percent, the high yield pool 11.77
percent and the real asset pool 10.22 percent.
     The trustees approved a report on a customer service
strategy that would focus the board's communication and products
on the needs of plan members and sponsoring employers.  Board of
Pensions President John Kapanke said, "The customer service
strategy is an opportunity to take the board to a new level of
service and commitment in the ELCA."
     In other action, the board proposed amendments:
* To the ELCA Regular Pension Plan allowing members to move funds
into a "deferred pension reserve" prior to annuitization but
after 30 years of service or age 60.
* To the ELCA Welfare Benefits Plan for Government Chaplains to
allow chaplains to purchase only disability and survivor benefits
coverage when the chaplain has health insurance from another
* To pension plans permitting members who work past age 70.5 to
defer receipt of pensions or withdrawals until retirement to take
advantage of a recent federal law change.
The ELCA Church Council approved the amendments when it met Nov.
8-11 in Chicago.

For information contact:
John Brooks, Director (773) 380-2958 or


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