Committee Corner
News from ALPA's Committees

Customized Financial Planning for Members

R&I Committee

By Gavin Francis, Staff Writer
Air Line Pilot,
October 2004, p.28

Airline pilots generally tend to be a pretty savvy bunch when it comes to their retirement benefits, but the precarious state of some airline pension funds has recently prompted many to take a harder look at their expectations for financial independence after leaving the profession.

In this period of economic uncertainty, with companies’ withholding scheduled contributions to employee retirement programs becoming uncomfortably common, airline pilots have had to become more aggressive about their retirement planning to ensure a financially secure future. Some airline pilots, many rapidly approaching age 60, find themselves desperately seeking sound financial advice to cope with the economic challenges of their post-career lives.

ALPA planned for this need and in March 2002 selected Harris Trust and Savings Bank as its preferred provider of financial and investment services to its members. In partnership with Harris, ALPA has developed a program to help its members navigate the sometimes-confusing terrain of retirement planning. By participating in this program, ALPA members can take advantage of an assortment of financial-planning and investment-management services designed to help them reach their financial goals.

Harris offers two levels of service to ALPA members. For individuals with managed assets between $100,000 to $750,000, Harris provides a full-service investment program with Harris AdvantEdge Investing. This is a fee-based investment and account-management service with a personalized investment agreement that outlines the client’s investment goals and asset allocation strategy. Individuals with assets of $750,000 or more receive custom portfolio management and pre-retirement financial planning, which addresses a range of issues, including cash flow and tax-, investment-, and estate-planning needs.

Harris has a solid track record of serving the needs of retired airline pilots, and offers ALPA members a broad range of quality services at a competitive price. Members and their families receive special pricing on customized investment management with fees beginning at 0.95 percent annually for up to $1 million in assets, and 0.475 percent on assets exceeding $1 million.

ALPA members may also sign up for a brokerage service, Harris Direct. Private and online banking services with a choice of checking and money market accounts are also available, as well as bill-payment services, home equity lines of credit, and home mortgage and construction loans.

Harris regularly participates in ALPA-sponsored retirement seminars, giving on-site advice to pilot groups. "We’ve really been pleased with the way Harris has administered this program over the past two years," says First Officer Ken Rogers (Delta), chairman of ALPA’s Retirement and Insurance Committee. "They’ve been very responsive to our needs and have gone out of their way to be available to our members."

Information about the program can be obtained by contacting Andrew Wright, vice-president for private banking services, at 866-304-7627, or by e-mail at andrew.