Matthew Lickona 2:45 p.m., Dec. 10
Copley Pension System Solid, Strategy Intelligently Conservative
Copley Press (Union-Tribune) employees and retirees got good news Friday: the pension plan is in sound shape, and is following a conservative investment strategy. The plan was 111% funded in 2006 and 103% in 2007. At yearend 2008, assets were $202.8 million and liabilities $202.6 million -- a very good performance given the current market megrims. The investment policy is to strive for a portfolio of 30% stocks and 70% bonds -- a very intelligent strategy. By contrast, the plans for both City and County employees are more than 50% stocks. At the end of 2008, the portfolio had 35% U.S. government securities, 37% corporate debt instruments, 21% stocks, 1% cash and some funds in other miscellaneous categories. It is not clear how long the company, whose plan is handled by the Vanguard investment management complex, has employed this sound strategy. On Dec. 14, the beleaguered company said it would no longer put money into the defined benefit pension programs, and new employees would not be able to get in. On Jan. 16, it said it would no longer match employees' contributions to the defined contribution plan 401(k). The company put itself up for sale last July and on March 18 finally said it has a buyer: Beverly Hills private equity firm Platinum Equity, which will rely on help from David Black, who controls a troubled Vancouver firm consisting of almost entirely small papers. Black has been interested in Copley since last summer. Union-Tribune employees expected further personnel cutbacks in February, but they didn't come. There were rumors that the axe would fall April 15. It didn't happen. Now the rumors point to April 24 or early May. But few rumors flying around that company ever turn out to be accurate.