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Alltel's $235 million pension plan tops the list.

Alltel's $235 Million Pension Plan Tops The List

Bewildering Number Of Pension Plans Available For Saving Employee Nesteggs

This week's list is a sampling of pension funds and the companies that manage those funds at some major corporations and government facilities in the state.

"Most people think of retirement plans and pension plans and basically think of them as all being pretty much the same things," says Randy Looney, a tax attorney with the Friday Eldredge & Clark firm. "But there are different types and they can be tailored to the needs of the clients."

A true pension plan, he notes, provides for mandatory contributions to be made by the employer each year, while a profit sharing plan is more flexible and can provide the employer a choice of whether or not, and how much, to contribute each year.

Then there is the 401 (k) plan which is a feature of a profit sharing plan, according to Looney, and allows employees to place funds into a tax deferred trust where they grow, tax free.

From this variety of tax exempt plans available to employers--retirement, pension, profit sharing, 401 (k), thrift, retirement trusts, deferred compensation funds--we pulled all of those designated "pension funds" for our list.

That put Alltel's pension plan, with $235 million in assets, at the top of our list.

Because we list only so-called "pension plans" some of the state's major retirement plans with assets in the billions, do not show up on our list.

Worthen Bank & Trust Co. is custodian for two such major plans -- the Arkansas Public Employees System with more than $1 billion in assets, and the Arkansas State Highway Employees with assets of more than $219 million.

First Commercial Bank is the custodian for two other such funds -- the funds of the Arkansas State Police Retirement System with assets of more than $77 million and the benefit fund of the Arkansas Teacher Retirement System with assets of more than $2 billion.

Another large tax exempt fund based in Arkansas, with almost 150,000 participants, is the employee stock ownership plan of Wal-Mart Stores with assets of more than $800 million. Custodian of that fund is First Wachovia Trust Services of Winston-Salem.

Several Arkansas banks and investment companies show up on our list as acting, or having acted, or managing the investments of Arkansas pension funds. Worthen Bank & Trust shows up several times along with Simmons First National Bank, First Commercial Bank, Union National Bank and Stephens Inc.

Defining The Benefits

Almost all the plans on our list are defined benefits plans, that is payments are fixed as opposed to defined contribution plans where payments vary according to the return of the plan investments.

Most of the information for this article and our chart came from "The Money Market Directory of Pension Funds and Their Investment Managers 1991" which is available at the Little Rock branch of the Central Arkansas Library system.

The directory list tax-exempt funds from every state.

Also available at the library is "The Money Market Directory of Pension Funds-Southern Region 1991" for more specific, regional information. Both of these are good sources for anyone wanting to do further research on the the assets and investment managers of pension and retirement funds in Arkansas.
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Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Arkansas Business
Date:Apr 29, 1991
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