Prescriptions for OPEB - Options and Implications of GASB 45

Holland & Knight Webinar
November 3, 2008

On Monday, November 3 from 12-1:30 Eastern, Holland & Knight's Employee Benefits and Public Finance Groups, along with Foster & Foster, host a webinar focused on understanding and implementing action plans to deal with governmental liabilities under GASB 45.

The Governmental Accounting Standards Board’s Statement 45 requires that state and local governments account for retiree healthcare costs and other similar post-employment benefits (OPEBs) during an employee’s active working career, and that they disclose the accrued liability for these benefits. The Statement is now effective for larger governments, and many smaller governments have seen preliminary valuation results. As a result, many governments are re-assessing the OPEB benefits promised and searching for ways to contain costs and reduce their liability.

We will answer and discuss the following important questions in real-world terms:

  1. What is the excitement about GASB 45 and how does it apply to me?
  2. What approaches are other governments taking and with what success?
  3. What actuarial valuation results have been delivered thus far?
  4. How can I continue with pay-as-you-go and not show the liability on my books?
  5. What reimbursements are available from the federal government to fund a local government's OPEB liability?
  6. Are OPEB Bonds a good idea and what are the risks associated with them?
  7. What should I disclose about my OPEB liability in a public offering of bonds?

Speakers include:

Chip Eady is a partner at Holland & Knight with more than 30 years of experience in public and project finance, both as a lawyer and investment banker. Eady is known nationally as a thought leader on the funding and preservation of retirement health care benefits for municipal employees and their dependents. He has worked with some of the largest global financial institutions and health insurers on new capital market structures and strategies engineered specifically for OPEB problem.

Robert Friedman is a lawyer who practices in the area of ERISA, employee benefits, and executive compensation. Since 1996, he has been the head of Holland & Knight's national Benefits and Executive Compensation practice. Mr. Friedman’s clients include private, non-profit, and governmental employers.

Michael Merlob is a consulting actuary with Foster & Foster Inc. in Coral Springs. He is a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries, with more than 20 years' experience assisting clients with the design, financing and administration of their benefit plans. His clients include several Florida cities, towns and counties. He has particular expertise in retiree medical benefit accounting and valuation, which is the topic of his talk today.

Michael Wiener is a lawyer at Holland & Knight and practices in the areas of public finance, ERISA and employee benefits for private and public employers, including governmental entities and tax-exempt organizations. Mr. Wiener also has an extensive practice in assisting local governments in managing liabilities associated with their OPEB Plans. Mr. Wiener served as bond counsel to the City of Gainesville’s OPEB Bonds, which are believed to be the first bonds in the country issued in response to GASB 45.

Brad Heinrichs is a consulting actuary at Foster & Foster Consulting Actuaries, Inc. in Fort Myers. His firm specializes in providing actuarial and administrative support to over 170 local ordinance public retirement plans in the state of Florida. Brad has extensive actuarial experience working with pension and post-retirement welfare plans. The size of Brad’s clients have ranged from as few as 5 to as many as 200,000 participants. He is one of the few Fellow of the Society of Actuaries consulting in the public sector of Florida. He is also a Member of the Academy of the Actuaries and is an Enrolled Actuary per ERISA.

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