Retirement Fund contribution levels ‘sufficient’ to cover benefits and costs


An actuary report on the ASG Employees Retirement Fund says the current contribution levels by employer and employee to the pension plan is “sufficient” to pay for benefits of the fund and administrative costs.

The actuary report, by U.S. based Sage View Consultant Group is included in the ASGERF Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for fiscal year 2011—from Oct. 1, 2010 through Sept. 30, 2011.

“In our professional opinion, the employer policy contribution rate of 8% of total pay, in conjunction with employee contribution of 3% of pay, is sufficient to support the benefits of the fund and administrative costs and achieve financing objective ... for the 2011-2012 fiscal year,” says the actuary’s certification letter.

Information in the annual financial report states that the Retirement Fund includes 4,461 active employee participants and 1,729 retirees and beneficiaries. Additionally, total retirement benefits paid out in the last fiscal year was $18 million, an increase of 18% from FY 2011.

Additionally, employers contributed $7.47 million ($7,474,397) and members contributed $2.91 million ($2,918,502) for FY 2011. Net assets held in trust were $181.7 million as of Sept. 30, 2011.

Employers contributing to the Fund in addition to ASG include semi autonomous agencies as well as the American Samoa Visitor’s Bureau, the Retirement Fund office, Feleti Barstow Public Library and the Development Bank of American Samoa.

According to the report, all employee contributions are used to reduce the normal cost liability before the employer’s required contribution rate is calculated.

The audit report also says that in FY 2011, the board approved a 4% cost of living adjustment, or COLA, to all retirees, who retired on or prior to Sept. 30, 2008 and this is an increase of 2% from the prior year COLA.

The report also provides the names of the Retirement Fund board of trustees: Aleki Sene Sr. (chairman); Fanene Morris Scanlan (vice chair); Magalei Logovi’i (secretary); Lt. Gov. Faoa Aitofele Sunia (member); and Brant Judy (member).

The Senate has long called for the administration to either submit new appointees or re-nominate current board members because all of their terms have long expired. It remains to be seen if the governor will submit new names or re-appoint current members before he leaves office.

Luatua Filosouaiga F.P. Ta’afua is executive director of the Retirement Fund Office while Caroline Wendt is the assistant executive director.


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