Taft-Hartley | Cowden Associates

Multiemployer Retirement Plans

We provide actuarial expertise to Trustees of Multiemployer plans through working with trustees to ensure that pension plans operate smoothly in today’s market conditions. Zone reporting and forecasting comes via our proprietary software ZoneCast.

Multiemployer Health and Welfare Plans

Cowden will assess your benefits offerings, including funding methods, plan design, market competitiveness, costs, and cost drivers, to assist in the development of a short and long-term strategic plan that aligns with your benefits and Fund objectives.

Pension Fund Actuarial Consulting


Retirement Strategy We know that a retirement program is a valued benefit that can be a large portion of the wage package, and is therefore a frequent topic of conversation with both Union members and Employers. We assist in the development of strategic plans that align your retirement goals (defined benefit, defined contribution and retiree medical) with your business and membership objectives. Our focus is on understanding the concerns and goals of both Labor and Management, and then working with the Trustees to develop a strategy that provides the greatest opportunity for success. ZoneCast has been designed for Multiemployer pension plans to project future zone status under a wide range of benefit design, asset return, contribution, and industry activity scenarios. The tool allows Trustee Boards to review current and projected plan funding in order to make decisions in a single meeting, which has proven to be especially useful for developing Funding Improvement or Rehabilitation Plans. The tool also includes measures of stochastic projections, illustrating the likelihood of future zone status, so decisions can be made reflecting the investment risk of the Fund.

Monitoring Risk

  • Risks are continually monitored and communicated proactively so that decisions can be made at the most opportune time.

Contribution and Benefit Strategies

  • How does the contribution level support the benefits promised, in light of the various risks?
  • Can alternative plan designs better meet the trade off between benefits, contributions, and risk?

Investment Return

  • Does the investment return assumption appropriately reflect the Board’s risk tolerance?
  • How would the balance between contributions and investment return differ if less (or more) investment risk was taken?
  • What would the funding picture look like if returns are less (or greater) than expected?

Work Hours

  • How does the funding outlook change if work activity is higher (or lower) than expectations?
  • How reliant is funding to incoming contributions?


  • What happens if memberships live longer in retirement?

Changing Legislation

  • How do changing rules affect the way benefits are earned or funded?

Additional Services

  • Cowden regularly assists plan sponsors with various compliance related matters such as plan communications, required notices, benefit calculations, and government filings.

Health and Welfare Financial Management


Benefits Plan Financial Management

  • Ongoing Financial Evaluation and Forecasting
  • Monitoring Risk
  • Benchmarking and Plan Design Alternatives
  • Cost Containment Recommendations

Renewal Evaluation and Analysis

  • Budget Annual Benefit Costs
  • Renewal Projections
  • Renewal Analysis
  • Funding Analysis

Vendor Management

  • Vendor Management and Market Assessment
  • Ongoing Vendor Management

Wellness Consulting

  • Program Development
  • Vendor Assessment

Compliance Support

  • Compliance Assistance

Document Preparation and Review

Services Working Together

Combined Services Working Together Cowden’s exceptional, interactive approach is what sets us apart from similar consulting firms. To deliver a tailored resolution to your specific needs, we first identify the overall attributes exclusive to your Fund. We build an understanding of your Fund by asking questions, observing and listening. In this manner you are not merely receiving a pre-fabricated answer, rather a unique solution for your circumstances. Cowden is unique in that, our practices of compensation, benefits, and retirement work jointly to provide a total compensation approach to our clients understanding of their benefits programs – how they work together and how changes reflect within an organization, across their benefits programs. We fully understand that success within the trade and union, depends on the balance between strong, well-funded fringe benefits and a competitive wage package that builds projects with union labor. We focus on helping Boards understand the stress points of the various benefits programs, so that they can best allocate money to the benefit fund that provides the greatest value for both the Union member and the Employer.

Fund Benefits

  • Contract Negotiation Assistance
  • Cross Funding
  • Welfare Fund Actuarial Services
  • Pension Fund Disability Benefit Services

Ongoing Financial Evaluation & Forecasting