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  #651  
Old 04-15-2018, 06:15 PM
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WISCONSIN

https://www.usnews.com/news/best-sta...ion-in-bonuses

Quote:
Wisconsin Pension Fund Managers Get $11.6 Million in Bonuses
Wisconsin pension fund managers and those who work directly with the state's investments will receive bonuses totaling $11.6 million this year, down from nearly $14 million last year.
Spoiler:
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin pension fund managers and those who work directly with the state's investments will receive bonuses totaling $11.6 million this year, down from the record-high of nearly $14 million last year.

The State of Wisconsin Investment Board announced the bonuses Friday.

The highest bonus, topping out at nearly $530,000, went to managing director Charles Carpenter. The next highest, $507,500, was paid to chief investment officer David Villa. Michael Williamson, the investment board's executive director, was paid $450,000.

All but 10 of the board's 161 employees will receive bonuses, said SWIB spokeswoman Vicki Hearing. The exact amounts for each employee was still being finalized and wouldn't be released until next week, she said.

The board said the bonuses follow a pay-for-performance compensation model that is based on the employee's contribution to the overall success of the organization, trust fund performance and costs.

The board ended 2017 beating one-, three-, five- and 10-year performance benchmarks. Over the past five years, investment performance above market returns has added $759 million to the retirement system, the board said.

Last year the "Core Fund," a diversified group of investments that all retirees have some money in, saw 16 percent growth while "Variable Fund" investments rose by 23 percent.
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  #652  
Old 04-15-2018, 06:16 PM
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LAWSUIT

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-p...-idUSKBN1HK1UL

Quote:
U.S. funds file suit alleging banks' collusion in Mexico bond market
Spoiler:
MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Two U.S. pension funds filed a proposed class action in New York on March 30 against financial institutions in the market for Mexican government bonds, alleging they conspired to fix prices.

The lawsuit was filed by the Oklahoma Firefighters Pension & Retirement System and the Electrical Workers Pension Fund Local.

The banks named in the lawsuit are Banco Santander, Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria, JP Morgan Chase & Co, HSBC, Barclays, Citigroup, Bank of America and Deutsche Bank.

The lawsuit, first reported by Mexican newspaper Reforma, stems from an investigation announced by the Federal Commission for Economic Competition, or Cofece, in April 2017, into possible breaches of competition laws in the public debt market.

The case, which Cofece described as its largest probe to date into public debt sales, reflects the Mexican government’s halting efforts to increase market oversight.

The lawsuit comes amid a wave of private litigation in New York federal court accusing big banks of conspiring to fix interest rate benchmarks and prices for bonds, commodities and currencies at ordinary investors’ expense.

Spokesmen for Barclays and JP Morgan and a spokeswoman for Citi declined to comment. The other banks did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The pension funds, which said in the complaint that they had purchased tens of millions of dollars’ worth of Mexican government bonds, allege that they overpaid as a result of the banks’ pricing scheme.

The pension funds allege that prices for the bonds rose significantly after Cofece announced its investigation, suggesting the banks had been colluding previously.

Vincent Briganti, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, declined to comment further on the case.
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  #653  
Old 04-15-2018, 06:17 PM
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NEW JERSEY

https://burypensions.wordpress.com/2...s-like-a-hawk/
Quote:
Actuary Watching NJ Politicians Like a Hawk
Spoiler:
Not that it will penetrate thick skulls with other priorities, especially coming from a rookie legislator in the minority (and declining) party but Assemblyman (and pension actuary) Ned Thomson took a shot…with a bullseye on the interaction between a plan’s funded ratio and funding interest rate:
.

[go to link to original post for video]
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  #654  
Old 04-15-2018, 06:18 PM
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PENNSYLVANIA

https://observer-reporter.com/news/g...08dbc3f9a.html

Quote:
Greene County settles pension lawsuit brought by Judge Toothman

Spoiler:
WAYNESBURG – Greene County and Farley Toothman have settled a lawsuit the president judge filed last year in his capacity as a former county employee regarding issues involving his pension.

Toothman sued the county retirement board last year claiming the county failed to notify him he had to apply for pension benefits when he became eligible for those benefits at age 60 June 5, 2015.

He claimed he failed to collect about $10,728 in retirement benefits for the 13 months from the date he became eligible for benefits until the date he made application in July 2016.

Toothman, who was a county commissioner and county solicitor for more than 13 years before becoming judge in 2009, argued his benefits should have been calculated from the date he became eligible.

The county retirement board, however, determined Toothman’s benefits would be calculated from the date he made application, not from his date of eligibility.

+2Judge Toothman files paper indicating he may sue pension board
Judge Toothman files paper indicating he may sue pension board
WAYNESBURG – Greene County President Judge Farley Toothman, in his capacity as a former coun…

Retirement board members said earlier the board decision was in keeping with provisions of Act 96, county pension law, and Toothman was being treated the same as all plan participants.

They also noted Toothman had been informed about the application requirement during an exit interview at the time he left county employment.

Toothman’s lawsuit, initiated last April, had been turned over to the county’s insurer, Travelers Insurance, as are all lawsuits filed against the county, solicitor Cheryl Cowen said.

Under the settlement agreement, Toothman will be paid $9,729.84, she said.

The settlement agreement reached March 22 includes a confidentiality clause that did not, however, prohibit the county from releasing the details, Cowan said.

Toothman, reached before the settlement details were released Friday, declined to comment because of the confidentiality agreement.

Toothman said earlier he began the court proceeding only to clarify the pension issue, believing it also might be relevant to other former county employees.

However, Cowen said, the settlement is only “particular” to Toothman and “has no impact on any other pension claims.” She also noted the county didn’t believe Toothman’s circumstances applied to any other plan participants.

Toothman also said he believed at the time of eligibility he should have been provided with information regarding what his payment would be then, as well as what it would be if he deferred receiving benefits until later.

Former Greene Co. employees to get annual pension statements
Former Greene Co. employees to get annual pension statements
WAYNESBURG – Greene County Retirement Board agreed Thursday to begin sending annual statemen…

Though monthly payments increase the longer an employee defers taking benefits, Toothman said he was not given any information on which to make a decision. Because he didn’t apply at the age of eligibility, he said, the board assumed he was deferring benefits. He had no choice in the matter.

The county had responded that the board followed provisions of the county pension law in making its determination. It also maintained all county employees are notified of the application requirement when they leave county employment and sign documents indicating they understand those conditions.

After Toothman brought the matter to the board’s attention, the board voted to begin sending former county employees notice when they reach the age of eligibility about the application requirement.
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  #655  
Old 04-15-2018, 06:22 PM
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separately, here's your station call sign --

my blog (mostly dealing with public pensions/finance)
http://stump.marypat.org/

and I've been doing a weekly video series:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...GiAfdLveSWoBJE
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  #656  
Old 04-16-2018, 10:57 AM
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Originally Posted by campbell View Post
I forgot to link the actual report:
http://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research...nding-gap-2016
How do you feel about the quality of work Pew does? This is a general question coming from ignorance, I really don't know anything about their work on pension analysis.

Also, thank you for the continued updates to this thread.
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  #657  
Old 04-16-2018, 12:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Locrian View Post
How do you feel about the quality of work Pew does? This is a general question coming from ignorance, I really don't know anything about their work on pension analysis.

Also, thank you for the continued updates to this thread.
I'm okay with their stuff. They start out with the official measures for funded ratio, and then they show this:



and then they do this:

Quote:
Assuming 6.5% return provides useful perspective

To better understand the risk exposure of public funds, policymakers need access to stress testing or sensitivity analyses, which simulate scenarios that can measure the fiscal impact of lower investment performance or other missed assumptions. The most basic approach is to evaluate pension liabilities at alternative assumed rates of return. The median return assumption used by state pension plans to calculate liabilities in 2016 was 7.5 percent, according to data collected by Pew. However, state plans generated just 6 percent returns over the past decade, and various projections suggest that returns will be around 6.5 percent a year for the next 10 years or longer.6

To illustrate the impact of lower-than-expected returns, Pew estimated the total and net pension liabilities at a 6.5 percent assumed rate of return. The return assumptions were not changed if already below 6.5 percent. (See Figure 5.)

As shown in Figure 5, states’ pension liabilities would grow to nearly $4.4 trillion using a 6.5 percent return assumption. That equals a $1.7 trillion funding gap between assets and liabilities.
and then I really like this part:

Quote:
A new indicator: Operating cash flow ratio
Most pension analyses focus on actuarial measures, which are designed to look at a fund’s long-term balance sheet. Financial metrics such as cash flow, however, can provide early warnings of liquidity concerns and insolvency risk, particularly for state pension plans in severe distress. Cash flow measures also can highlight the annual impact of volatility for plans with comparatively healthy fiscal situations.

A new indicator, the operating cash flow ratio, represents the difference between financial outflows (primarily benefit payments) and cash coming in before investments (primarily employer and employee contributions) divided by the level of assets at the beginning of the year. A plan with an operating cash flow ratio of 3 percent, for example, would need to achieve investment returns of at least 3 percent that year to keep assets from dropping.

Most public pension plans are long-standing and mature, and are therefore likely to have negative ratios because they see more money going out in benefits than coming in from current workers. However, the aggregate trend for this ratio has worsened since 2000—some plans falling to 5 percent or lower—indicating that state pension plans are growing more dependent on investments to pay anticipated benefits. The operating cash flow ratio has improved slightly since hitting a low in 2010, but the recovery after each recession since 2000 has not been as great as the decline during the financial downturn. (See Figure 7.)


This is a huge problem, and there's plenty of room for analysis. It's not just Pew that does these sort of annual looks.
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Old 04-16-2018, 12:37 PM
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Speaking of -- what with the NYT piece from the weekend & the Pew report, I'm getting a bunch of reaction pieces coming up in my news feed:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/modeled.../#7d1389578dbe

Quote:
Public Sector Pensions Are A Problem

Spoiler:
The New York Times has a great story on how government pensions are a big problem*that are crowding out spending. The article discusses a*retired college president who has a $76,000 a month pension as an example, but the problems go far beyond the top 1% of government employees.
Consider Scranton, PA. This small city has a serious pension funding problem, like a lot of cities in Pennsylvania.*Aside from the usual problems like not making enough annual contributions and subpar stock market performance, Scranton*illustrates how poorly designed pensions can be. In Scranton 58% of police and firefighters are on a disability pension, which means they were able to retire before the mandatory minimum age. In 2012, the average age of retired*Scranton police officers was 44.9 years old. Some of these "disabled" cops go on to get second jobs as cops in nearby areas.
While there should be obvious agreement that retiring at 44 is a problem, it seems like an under-appreciated problem to me that the standard retirement age for many public sector jobs is 55. I understand that we don't want senior citizens kicking down doors and chasing down robbers, but it's a big logical jump to go from there to saying that we should just pay them to do nothing. Maybe everyone out there claiming it would be easy*for the government to create a Jobs Guarantee program should first focus on putting 55 to 65 year old police officers to work instead of letting them*simply retire.
Another problem is pension spiking, which pays pensions according to the highest annual incomes rather than average incomes. This leads workers to log tons of unnecessary overtime for a few years to boost their*pensions far above what their base salary would command. In fact it can lead to pensions that are actually larger than a worker's salary was. This is a big problem in Philadelphia, which has*a pension system that is underfunded by more than $5 billion.*A recent article reports that 80% of recently retired state police had spiked their pensions with overtime hours.
Many liberals*look around and see schools struggling to pay for books and give teachers raises and they blame conservatives who won't raise taxes. In many places, however, lucrative and poorly designed pensions that public sector unions have bargained for are crowding out spending in a significant way.
These pension problems are just one issue where public sector unions have bargained for bad policies.*In a sane world, there would be a bipartisan movement of black lives matter, libertarians, and small government conservatives to ban police unions.

https://www.motherjones.com/kevin-dr...cs-of-funding/
Quote:
The Problem With Public Pensions Isn’t Size, It’s the Politics of Funding – Mother Jones

Spoiler:
The New York Times ran a piece this weekend about the growing burden of paying public pensions. Naturally it features a few examples of outrageously high pensions, but the overall gist is that the cost of pensions is getting so high that it’s crowding out spending on other things. Dean Baker comments:
Workers sign contracts that specify compensation. Most of it is in direct pay, but benefits like pensions are often part of the contract….Taking back pensions for which people worked is like taking back a portion of their pay after the fact.
….As far as the claim that public employees are overpaid, most research shows that they are actually paid less than their private sector counterparts, when controlling for education and experience….While the piece implies that public employees typically get generous pensions, this is not true. The Detroit pension system, which is referenced in the piece, pays an average annual benefit of $20,000 a year, or less than $1,700 a month. Most other public pension systems provide comparable benefits to typical employees as opposed to highly paid doctors and football coaches.
For the most part, public pensions are fairly ordinary. The biggest exception is police and firefighters,¹ who are often allowed to retire after only 20 years; are allowed to spike their pensions; are able to take part in special semi-retirement programs that boost their pensions even more; frequently take disability pensions; and just generally have pensions that pay them a high percentage of their working salaries.
But put that aside. If they can negotiate all that stuff, then bully for them. The real issue, as everyone knows, isn’t so much the size of public pensions as the fact that they’re almost never fully funded. Politicians, who mostly work on timeframes no further out than the next election, are simply more willing to negotiate generous pensions than they are to negotiate higher salaries that might require tax hikes on their watch. It’s like Wall Street’s IBGYBG: “I’ll be gone, you’ll be gone.” And sure enough, now that the pension bills are coming due, all the politicians who passed the buck—literally—are safely out of office.²
The real answer all along has been simple: negotiate any pension you want, but you have to fully fund it with no wild-ass investment return assumptions. Done properly, an extra $1,000 in pension income would cost about the same as a $1,000 salary increase, so politicians would have no special incentive to prefer one over the other.
It’s a little late for that, of course, and although lots of cities and states would love to take back a chunk of worker pensions, they can’t do it. It’s all specified in a contract, after all, and courts will enforce those contracts. One way or the other, paying out old pensions is probably going to require an average increase in state and local taxes of about 5-10 percent or so. Maybe more, depending on where you live. The sooner everyone owns up to this, the better off we’ll all be.

¹Although in Los Angeles the hot ticket is to work for the Metropolitan Water District. Hoo boy. Nobody shoots at them and they don’t have to fight fires. But they get paid a fortune and their pensions are sky high.
²And collecting a pension, of course.



http://cepr.net/blogs/beat-the-press...sions-continue
Quote:
The War on Pensions Continues | Beat the Press | Blogs | Publications | The Center for Economic and Policy Research
Dean Baker
Spoiler:
There has been an ongoing battle in major media outlets against public sector pensions. Papers like The New York Times and The Washington Post have regularly featured pieces telling readers that these pensions are unaffordable.
This crusade, carried on mostly in the news pages, has often taken bizarre twists. Back in 2011 the Washington Post had a front page article complaining about generous pensions that highlighted the story of former employer who was getting a pension of $520,000 a year. People who read through the article discovered that this former employee was a former administrator who was under indictment for fraud at the time, not the typical California employee.
In this vein, The New York Times had a piece on pensions in Oregon that highlighted the pension of an eye surgeon who had formerly been employed by the government who receives a pension of $76,000 a month. It then goes on to discuss the $46,000 a month pension of a former University of Oregon football coach.
While these pensions do sound exorbitant, there are two important points to keep in mind. First, pensions are part of worker's pay, just like their health care insurance and the money they get in their paycheck every month. The second is that these pensions are far from typical for either Oregon or public sector employees in general.
On the first point, workers sign contracts that specify compensation. Most of it is in direct pay, but benefits like pensions are often part of the contract. This means that people worked for their pensions. Taking back pensions for which people worked is like taking back a portion of their pay after the fact.
It is certainly possible that governments pay some of their workers too much. But governments also sometimes pay too much on contracts or sell land or give away various rights for too low a fee. No one suggests retroactively taking back excessive payments on generous contracts or charging an additional fee for land sold fifteen or twenty years ago. For some reason, the pension crusaders feel that workers uniquely should be able to have terms of their contract changed after the fact to their detriment.
As far as the claim that public employees are overpaid, most research shows that they are actually paid less than their private sector counterparts when controlling for education and experience. The examples highlighted in this piece are a highly paid doctor and football coach. Their claim is that they made concessions on pay which were offset by higher pensions. It requires more information to assess the accuracy of this claim, but the real question is whether Oregon is overpaying its top doctors and its football coaches, not the generosity of its pensions.
The second issue is the generosity of public pensions. While the piece implies that public employees typically get generous pensions, this is not true. The Detroit pension system, which is referenced in the piece, pays an average annual benefit of $20,000 a year, or less than $1,700 a month. Most other public pension systems provide comparable benefits to typical employees as opposed to highly paid doctors and football coaches.
There are several states and cities (such as Illinois and Chicago) where benefits are substantially more generous, often averaging over $30,000 a year. In these jurisdictions, workers do not contribute to Social Security, so their public pension is likely to provide the overwhelming majority of their retirement income. That fact is often left out of reporting on this topic.


https://burypensions.wordpress.com/2...ew-ranks-2016/
Quote:
Pew Ranks – 2016 | Burypensions Blog

Spoiler:
Last week the Pew Charitable Trusts released their annual funding gap study based on data from the CAFRs of over 230 public pension plans.* I did a review of last year’s study noting data glitches but it is a worthy project for the Pew people to undertake for academic reasons. However, for practical purposes, here is why it is useless.
1. CAFR data: supplied by state sponsors anxious to low-ball contributions it is unreliable but in unknown degrees among the states.
2. Benefits will not be paid: New Jersey, for one, is certainly going to default on more ‘promised’ benefits.
3. Too few understand enough to care: njspotlight did a blurb on the study noting that “New Jersey had only $75 billion in assets to cover nearly $244 billion liabilities, resulting in a $168 billion shortfall. This is an almost $33 billion increase over 2015, when the state reported a $136 billion funding gap.” That $33 billion increase in one year is about the size of the entire New Jersey state budget.
Anyway, here are the Pew numbers by state:



http://www.newsherald.com/news/20180...ainable-course
Quote:
OUR VIEW:Public pensions are on an 'unsustainable' course

Spoiler:
Left staring agape at the check are the taxpayers, most of whom have no access to the type of retirement benefits they are forced to fund for government workers.
For decades, politicians across the country have blissfully adopted an “If we ignore it, maybe it’ll go away” approach to the public-sector pension crisis. But it’s not going away.
The Pew Charitable Trusts this week released its latest report on the fiscal health of government pensions. The news remains grim — and continues to get worse.
“Many state retirement systems are on an unsustainable course, coming up short on their investment targets and having failed to set aside enough money to fund the pension promises made to public employees,” the study concludes. “Even as contributions from taxpayers over the past decade doubled as a share of state revenue, the total still fell short of what is needed to improve the funding situation.”
Among the findings for the year 2016:
■ States had a cumulative deficit of $1.4 trillion, up a whopping 27 percent from 2015. The trend has been ever upward since 2000.
■ The average pension system assumes an annual return on investment of 7.5 percent, a number that allows many states to disguise funding shortfalls by projecting overly optimistic gains. The systemwide average return in 2016 was 1 percent.
■ States are now taking on higher levels of investment risk in order to try to minimize shortfalls, an approach that could have major long-term consequences in the face of market volatility.
■ Only four states — New York, Tennessee, South Dakota and Wisconsin — had at least 90 percent of the assets needed to pay promised benefits. Florida was at 79 percent.
The crisis is directly tied to political decisions dating back decades to curry favor with government unions by increasing retirement payouts and benefits. In return, those same labor organizations donate generously to elected officials — largely Democrats — who support sweetheart pension deals.
Left staring agape at the check are the taxpayers, most of whom have no access to the type of retirement benefits they are forced to fund for government workers.
Democrats may want to rethink this dynamic. While some states and municipalities may have years until they face a day of reckoning, others are teetering at the edge of the abyss thanks to generous pension payouts. Short of bankruptcy, officials will have to make difficult decisions that could be tough to explain to voters.
“As states try to prop up their pension funds,” The Associated Press reported Thursday, “it means less money is available for core government services such as education, public safety and parks.” And absent reform, the possibility increases that current public employees won’t see the benefits they’ve been promised.
The market’s strong performance in 2017 might act as a tourniquet on this spurting wound. But this issue won’t just “go away.”
This editorial first appeared in the Las Vegas Journal Review, a News Herald sister paper with GateHouse Media.

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Old 04-16-2018, 04:23 PM
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PUERTO RICO

http://www.pionline.com/article/2018...pension-reform

Quote:
Puerto Rico board comes out for pension reform
Spoiler:
A fiscal recovery plan for Puerto Rico that is scheduled to be certified April 20 by its oversight board is expected to bring pension cuts, reduced payments to bondholders and even more legal and political skirmishing that will test the board's mettle.

Taking heat from all sides are members of the federal Financial Oversight and Management Board, which was created in June 2016 under the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management and Economic Stability Act. PROMESA calls for fiscal reforms that would also improve access to capital markets after the commonwealth racked up as much as $120 billion in outstanding debt, including $50 billion or more in unfunded pension liability. Title III of PROMESA created an avenue for Puerto Rico to file for bankruptcy in May 2017 amid competing claims from bondholders, retirees, insurers and others in what is one of the largest bankruptcies in American history.

PROMESA also gave the oversight board authority to certify and enforce a fiscal plan.

RELATED COVERAGE
Puerto Rico oversight board not doing enough for fiscal recovery, debt resolution, Bishop saysPuerto Rico oversight board calls on pension cuts, move to DC planPuerto Rico governor rejects board's pension benefit cuts
This will be the oversight board's second fiscal plan. The first, certified in 2017, was derailed by two hurricanes that further harmed the commonwealth's finances.

In a final version submitted to the board on April 5, Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello said the commonwealth and the board "have made good progress" toward ​ consensus, and are now only $100 million apart on projected annual savings from $1.5 billion in budget cuts sought by the board.

Getting consensus on pension reform is another matter, with the governor repeatedly and publicly refusing to consider it.

Pension fund freeze
Oversight board documents call for freezing pension benefit accruals by July 1, 2019, and enrolling all government employees in defined contribution plans. Benefits would be reduced progressively to an average cut of 10%, with no cuts for participants whose combined pension and Social Security benefits are below the poverty level of $1,000 per month. Police, teachers and judges younger than 40 would be enrolled in Social Security. (Employees in those groups are not currently in the Social Security system.)

The governor's fiscal plan does not include those pension reforms, and in a letter to oversight board Chairman Jose B. Carrion III, Mr. Rossello disputed the board's authority to unilaterally reduce pension benefits, which he said are recognized property rights under Puerto Rican law.

Oversight board officials and legal experts say the bankruptcy proceeding provisions in PROMESA supersede local law, similar to situations experienced by Detroit and Stockton, Calif.

Among the many lawsuits filed against the commonwealth and the oversight board is one filed by public employees to stop the pension cuts.

Before those claims can be addressed in bankruptcy proceedings, the first step is having a fiscal plan in place to determine how much money might be available to pay debtholders and retirees. PROMESA sets certain requirements for the fiscal plan, such as funding essential services, eliminating structural deficits, improving governance, achieving fiscal targets, providing debt-sustainability analysis, respecting liens and lawful priorities, as well as adequate funding of public pensions.

Puerto Rico's main retirement fund for government employees, the Employees Retirement System, Hato Rey, covers 245,000 participants. It ran out of assets in July 2017 and has been paying benefits out of commonwealth revenues and asset sales. The pension fund also had $3 billion in pension bonds outstanding as of December 2017. The Teachers Retirement System, with 80,000 participants, and Judicial Retirement System with 840 participants, are close to insolvent as well. Together, the three pension funds have combined liabilities of $55 billion and a combined funded ratio of 8%.

U.S. House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rob Bishop, R-Utah, who oversaw passage of PROMESA and retains oversight authority of the fiscal recovery process, wants the board to be more aggressive about striking a fiscal plan and begin making PROMESA-mandated structural reforms. Those must "provide adequate funding for public pension systems," he told Mr. Carrion in a letter.

Mr. Bishop also expressed frustration with the oversight board's "inability and unwillingness to reach consensual restructuring agreements with holders of Puerto Rico's debt," and warned of budget reductions for Puerto Rico if the government interferes with the oversight board's role as the sole representative of the commonwealth's debtors.

His committee will hold a hearing later this year to measure progress made by the commonwealth and the board.

Independent investigator
An independent investigator retained by the oversight board to look into factors behind Puerto Rico's debt crisis also plans to issue a final report this summer. The investigator, Miami-based law firm Kobre & Kim LLP, which specializes in disputes and investigations, has talked with more than 100 people involved in the issuance of debt securities in Puerto Rico over the past 20 years, including issuers, underwriters, advisers, rating agencies and other stakeholders, to understand management and bond issuance practices of public corporations and the pension system. Rather than finger-pointing, the report is aimed at restoring Puerto Rico's access to the capital markets and restructuring its finances to avoid another financial crisis.

Once finalized, the fiscal plan will be used to work out restructuring deals with bondholders, although the board might be forced to go to court to have it enforced if the governor declines to cooperate. In that case, the law requires commonwealth officials to explain to the U.S. Congress and the White House why they are not enforcing deals.

Without a fiscal plan and a budget for implementing it, the oversight board has exclusive authority to work on a debt adjustment plan. With that plan, all debt could be subject to an embargo, legal experts said. The board is focusing on a fiscal plan first.

For now, all eyes are on April 20, when the oversight board certifies a fiscal plan. "That's when the fireworks will start," said federal litigation expert John Mudd, of the Law Offices of John E. Mudd, San Juan.

"It's clear to everybody that whatever is written in the fiscal plan, good or bad, the board has control. It's just a matter of delaying the inevitable."
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Old 04-16-2018, 04:25 PM
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http://www.pionline.com/article/2018...r-transparency

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NCPERS honors public plans for transparency
Spoiler:
Public pension plans working to improve transparency and communication with the general public are being recognized by the National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems.

The Washington-based NCPERS awarded Certificates of Transparency to 164 public pension funds for their contributions to enhancing public understanding of retirement systems.

Hank H. Kim, executive director and counsel, said the plans being recognized "are going the extra mile" by participating in the 2017 NCPERS Public Retirement Systems Study, the results of which were released in January. The study details efforts by the plans' trustees, managers and administrators to improve finances and operations.

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The 2017 study included 62 state government pension funds and 102 local pension funds with a collective 15.5 million members and $1.8 trillion in assets. The study covers 22 topics, including current and target asset allocations, returns and governance practices. It is available on NCPERS' website.

Other pension plans can use the information to build their own models and evaluate their own data, said Mr. Kim, who encourages other plans to participate in the study and provide more transparency to the public. By recognizing the 164 plans, "we hope to stir others to do the same," he said.
https://www.businesswire.com/news/ho...-Contributions

Quote:
NCPERS Honors 164 Public Pension Plans for Contributions to Improved Transparency
Spoiler:
WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems is recognizing 164 public pension plans for their contributions to enhancing public understanding of retirement systems.

NCPERS recognizes 164 public pension plans whose data contributions enhance openness and knowledge.

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NCPERS said today it is awarding Certificates of Transparency to 164 plans that participated in the 2017 NCPERS Public Retirement Systems Study, which was released in January. The sweeping study takes stock of efforts by pension trustees, managers, and administrators to improve their finances and operations.

“State and local pension plans are committed to effective governance, fiscal practices, and disclosure,” said Hank H. Kim, executive director and chief counsel of NCPERS. “The plans that contributed to our study are going an extra mile by helping to improve transparency and enhance open discussion between public pension plans and the public at large.”

The data gathered for the 2017 NCPERS Public Retirement Systems Study provides insights into how public pension systems adapt in the face of constant change, including legislative and regulatory developments and ups and downs in financial markets.

Study participants completed a five-page study instrument covering 22 topics. The instrument included detailed sections on plan statistics, current and target asset allocation and investment returns, retirement benefits offered or planned, business practices, and oversight practices, among other topics.

“The business intelligence provided by the 164 study participants supports efforts by the public pension community as a whole to comprehend and analyze challenges and find opportunities for steady improvement,” Kim said. Pension plans can access the study in “dashboard” format, enabling them to build models and evaluate their own data against the study’s findings, he noted.

The 2017 study drew on responses from 62 state and 102 local government pension funds with more than 15.5 million active and retired memberships and market assets totaling $1.8 trillion. (The number of state plans exceeds 50 because some states have multiple plans.) NCPERS conducted the seventh annual study in September through December 2017 in partnership with Cobalt Community Research.

About NCPERS

The National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems (NCPERS) is the largest trade association for public sector pension funds, representing more than 500 funds throughout the United States and Canada. It is a unique non-profit network of public trustees, administrators, public officials and investment professionals who collectively manage more than $3 trillion in pension assets. Founded in 1941, NCPERS is the principal trade association working to promote and protect pensions by focusing on advocacy, research and education for the benefit of public sector pension stakeholders.
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