Free database of public plans exists

In a format and with a level of transparency that public plan sponsors and the Center for State and Local Government Excellence (SLGE) are comfortable with. From an email sent out by SLGE this morning:

Pensions and Investments published SLGE President/CEO Elizabeth Kellar’s letter to the editor (August 22, 2016) explaining that free, accurate pension data is already available at www.publicplansdata.org.  An earlier commentary had argued that there was no comprehensive public pension database and that Congress should pass legislation to require state and local governments to file an annual report with the U.S. Treasury. 

For those without the online subscription to P&I here is that letter to the editor:

PI-LETTER

SLGE does have a website where you can get selected Actuarial Valuations (AV) and Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports (CAFR) which saves some time if you happen not to have  a link to those reports on your own blog but what has to be understood is that the data in those reports comes from the public plan sponsors themselves and is mostly …

  • incomplete,
  • selective,
  • obtuse (how many bar graphs does a CAFR need), and
  • based on actuarial principles generally accepted in the public plan community*.

I suspect that Sheila Weinberg was not calling for accessible public plan data to save her some time in googling CAFRs but rather to be able to see a uniform measure of liabilities (which presumably would come in with 5500 forms for public plans) rather than the race to the bottom (literally) that valuing benefits for public plans has devolved into.

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* i.e. you can do anything. Is there an amortization method, mortality table, or discount rate that a public plan actuary can use that would generate even a warning letter from the AAA or SOA? But mention financial economics and…..

 

 

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