Tkach To Terminate Canadian Plan, $1.1 Million Short; Can Tkach Be Trusted?

Dateline Surrey - The WCG-CGI ministerial pension plan covering Canada, according to a reliable source, is today $1.1 million dollars short of getting a final termination by the church.

Under financial pressure, the rather costly Canadian church defined benefit plan is to be terminated as soon as is financially possible, once the million dollar plus shortfall is overcome. To come up with that amount of cash shortfall, WCG-GCI Canada now has few if any remaining “aces” up its sleeve to overcome the shortage. It did convert church camp real estate into hard cash, to bring the ministerial pension plan back up to short-term solvency. Instead, it must hope on future upside gains in the stock and bond markets, subsequent to the current worldwide economic meltdown. (And to fix this pension shortfall preferably, the remaining ministry must think, before WCG-GCI Canada itself turns bankrupt. The ministry may already see the handwriting on the wall.)

Should the Canadian sect survive in the long-term as an ongoing concern, new ministerial hires, if any, would be put into a new, much less costly defined contribution scheme. The present pension plan is under financial pressure due to a shrinking church, with fewer donating income, resulting in an underfunding of the plan; and significant recent decline in stock and bond market yields. In the meantime, more recent Ambassador grads and fossils in the tenured ministry want to get everything they possibly can out of the defined benefit plan before it absolutely has to be terminated.

Not to worry, though, everyone in the ministry will get a monthly old age check from the Canadian government with medical for sure, regardless of what apocalyptic Rod Meredith predicts will happen prophetically in the next three to five years. They would get those basic government pension benefits, even if WCG-CGI Canada goes completely bankrupt and has to pay out any remaining pension plan money on an apportioned basis to its remaining ministry. However, that's not necessarily so for the ministry unlucky enough to be serving since 1986 in other countries, such as the Philippines, who get not one dime from the Tkachs for all the millions in tithe money that flowed directly into Pasadena back in the day.

At the direction of the Tkachs, Mr. Frank Brown (himself since retired on pension, in B.C.) put the Canadian ministerial pension plan into place in the the early nineties. The first year Mr. Brown funded the defined benefit plan, (termed Pension Plan for Employees of WCG Canada, 86130-1) he placed $500,000 in church assets irrevocably in the plan; on that date, future long-term pension liabilities were actuarially estimated at $4 million. Back at that time, the high returns in the stock and bond markets made it relatively easy to fully fund most any defined benefit pension plan. Besides getting relatively high returns on church investments in the nineties, WCG-CA would benefit from the fact that on average, the ministry was twenty years younger then. It therefore had much more time – using the power of compound interest- for church assets invested to gradually accumulate in the plan and snowball over time to fully fund all plan payment liabilities to the ministry.

By the time 1995 rolled around, with the tremendous boom in investment returns on average, the plan was back on track with $4.3 million in assets and owed just $3.9 million in long-term future liability payments to the ministry.

Yet another helpful factor the defined benefit plan has remained solvent over time is Tkach began shrinking the Canadian church and ministry. As member contributions to the church plummeted, Tkach shrunk the church ministry not in his good standing. He terminated many in ministry, or they left WCG-CA under pressure for greener pastures. Thus, the millions required for funding future liability for ministerial pension payouts also shrank over time, because fewer in the ministry will be around to collect those payments. Of course, each one in the ministry gets a different defined benefit or monthly check amount based on start date, length of service, highest salary, and other compensation factors.

WCG-GCI Canada 2009 Pension Plan Balance Sheet

Total plan assets................. $6,600,000
Total pension liability........... $7,700,000

Total over (under)............... $(1,100,000)

As of 2009, the WCG-GCI pension plan is underfunded with a total of $6.6 million in cash assets. Liabilities of the defined payout plan total $7.7 million. So total pension liabilities (if the plan were closed down and terminated today from going forward) total more than the assets can produce. The pension plan is as of now insolvent, or short to the amount of $1.1 million dollars. If the Canadian church could raise the level of assets in the plan to $7.7 million, the pension plan would be immediately closed off to any new hires. Ministerial pensions would then be paid out to the old guard as promised.

In other words, that means the pension plan has been underfunded by the Canadian church by approximately -14 percent. By Canadian regulation, WCG-GCI Canada has five years to make up the $1.1 million dollar shortfall. It could be granted an extension by the Canadian government to stretch the 1.1 million shortfall over a longer period, if necessary, to come up with the necessary cash. Either plan investments have to grow by $1.1 million, or the Canadian members have to cough up the cash to retire their ministry as promised.

Currently, cash payments required to keep the Canadian defined benefit pension plan alive as a long-term, ongoing concern are costing the Canadian membership $78,000 annually. Todd Martin ('85) Abbotsford, and Eric Warren ('82) Regina, question if their account was properly funded for those ten years or so they had worked prior to the time the Canadian pension was initiated under Frank Brown. Given the history of the WCG in ripping off people, perhaps both could well benefit from getting individualized expert advice from a specialist in defined benefit pensions. WCG-Canada simply no longer has the donation income to afford this and the long-term liabilities of funding the plan as an ongoing operation.

Of course, the WCG/GCI USA pension plan is an entirely different story from the Canadian. United States oversight and funding requirements of pension plans are far more lax than those in Canada. Even company plans going through a bankruptcy are treated more leniently than those in Canada. Company CEOs with pension plans know how lenient government funding requirements are. They certainly know how to take advantage of lax pension funding requirements (and corporate bankruptcy law) to shift pension liabilities over to the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation to break their promises of a pension to current and retired employees.

Multimillionaire Tkach says he thinks his USA pension plan is “four million underfunded now.” But Tkach himself may not even be in the WCG-USA pension plan! He doesn't want to disclose his secret deal nor his appointed lifetime salary, nor his lifetime pension. But even if he is in the employee plan, there are compensation schemes to get around paying CEO Tkach far more than the pittance he would take under the defined contribution plan set up for his at-will employees.

The WCG-GCI USA plan may have several different classes of members, but the details of the plan have yet to be gracefully disclosed to the congregations that actually fund it. Some aged ministers or former employees may be on an entirely discretionary scheme, where Tkach ultimately decides which employee doesn't maintain their “good standing” to qualify for another monthly support check from the church. This helps to keep the mouth of former employees shut. It could bridle those who may want to express their opinions about WCG-GCI publicly, or write a candid book about the Armstrong-Tkach family dynasty.

While part of Tkach's pension plan is discretionary for those in good standing, part of Tkach's plan could also be discriminatory for another class of ministers. WCG trainee Joe Tkach Jr. goofed around in a government job he took with the state of Arizona doing casework on the retarded. Fellow Pasadena alumnus Dennis Diehl labored full-time in the ministry since graduation. Diehl wound up getting basically nothing from Tkach for his laudable WCG efforts over all the miles, moves, and years. So much for Tkach's obviously phony reconciliation (see Canadian Q and A with Tkach - judge for yourself) with all those situated like Dennis Diehl, who were run over by Tkach's changes.

Yet another aspect of Tkach's WCG-USA retirement plan could consist of matching contributions. Glendora could decide to match ministerial contributions at a given percentage. It's all money coming from the collection plates anyway. At its own annual discretion, the sect could match employee paycheck set asides (depending the amount of money siphoned away from local meetings (up to 20% weekly!) by Glendora) for those ministers and employees current in its employ in WCG-USA. It's a defined contribution carrot, to coerce those feigning loyalty to Tkach to stick around a while longer, while the show can still go on.

“Australia is dealing with it, the UK is dealing with it, and just think some of our employed pastors in some places don't have a retirement program. The Philippines has been trying to set one up in the last few years.”