This excerpt taken from the PNC 10-K filed Mar 1, 2007.
We have a noncontributory, qualified defined benefit pension plan (plan or pension plan) covering eligible employees. Benefits are derived from a cash balance formula based on compensation levels, age and length of service. Pension contributions are based on an actuarially determined amount necessary to fund total benefits payable to plan participants. Plan assets are currently approximately 60% invested in equity investments with most of the remainder invested in
fixed income instruments. Plan fiduciaries determine and review the plans investment policy.
We calculate the expense associated with the pension plan in accordance with SFAS 87, Employers Accounting for Pensions, and we use assumptions and methods that are compatible with the requirements of SFAS 87, including a policy of reflecting trust assets at their fair market value. On an annual basis, we review the actuarial assumptions related to the pension plan, including the discount rate, rate of compensation increase and the expected return on plan assets. Neither the discount rate nor the compensation increase assumptions significantly affect pension expense.
The expected long-term return on assets assumption does significantly affect pension expense. We decreased the expected long-term return on plan assets from the 8.50% used for 2005 to 8.25% for determining net periodic pension cost for 2006. Under current accounting rules, the difference between expected long-term returns and actual returns is accumulated and amortized to pension expense over future periods. Each one percentage point difference in actual return compared with our expected return causes expense in the following year to change by approximately $3 million.
The table below reflects the estimated effects on pension expense of certain changes in assumptions, using 2007 estimated expense as a baseline.
We currently estimate a pretax pension benefit of $33 million in 2007 compared with a pretax benefit of $12 million in 2006.
In September 2006, the FASB issued SFAS 158, Employers Accounting for Defined Benefit Pension and Other Postretirement Plans an amendment of FASB Statements No. 87, 88, 106 and 132 (R). This statement affects the accounting and reporting for our qualified pension plan, our nonqualified retirement plans, our postretirement welfare benefit plans, and our postemployment benefit plans. SFAS 158 requires recognition on the balance sheet of the over- or underfunded position of these plans as the difference between the fair value of plan assets and the related benefit obligations. To the extent that a plans net funded status differs from the amounts currently recognized on the balance sheet, the difference, net of tax, will be recorded as a part of accumulated other comprehensive income or loss (AOCI) within the shareholders equity section of the balance sheet.
This guidance also requires the recognition of any unrecognized actuarial gains and losses and unrecognized prior services costs to AOCI, net of tax. Post-adoption changes in unrecognized actuarial gains and losses as well as unrecognized prior service costs will be recognized in other comprehensive income, net of tax. The year-end 2006 adjustment to our plans funded status for all unamortized net actuarial losses and prior service costs was $132 million after tax. SFAS 158 was effective for PNC as of December 31, 2006, with no restatements permitted for prior year-end reporting periods.
Plan asset investment performance has the most impact on contribution requirements. However, contribution requirements are not particularly sensitive to actuarial assumptions. Investment performance will drive the amount of permitted contributions in future years. Also, current law, including the provisions of the Pension Protection Act of 2006, sets limits as to both minimum and maximum contributions to the plan. In any event, any large near-term contributions to the plan will be at our discretion, as we expect that the minimum required contributions under the law will be minimal or zero for several years.
During the second quarter of 2005, we acquired a frozen defined benefit pension plan as a result of the Riggs acquisition. Plan assets and projected benefit obligations of the Riggs plan were approximately $107 million and $116 million, respectively, at acquisition date. The $9 million funding deficit was recognized as part of the Riggs acquisition purchase price allocation. For determining contribution amounts to the plan, deficits are calculated using ERISA-mandated rules, and on this basis we contributed approximately $16 million to the Riggs plan during the third quarter of 2005. We integrated the Riggs plan into the PNC plan on December 30, 2005.
We maintain other defined benefit plans that have a less significant effect on financial results, including various nonqualified supplemental retirement plans for certain employees. See Note 17 Employee Benefit Plans in the Notes To Consolidated Financial Statements in Item 8 of this Report for additional information.