Archive for the ‘Public Pensions – General’ Category

Actuarial Outpost Hijacked

The link to the right of this blog for Actuarial Outpost Pension Forum, from which I often get useful links on what’s going on with public pensions, has been broken for a couple of days now and apparently, according to STUMP:

People who have been reading me for a long time know that I like to keep a record on the Actuarial Outpost, but that site’s nameservers seem to have gotten hijacked by a domain-squatting operation.

I know one workaround: go directly to their IP address of 204.232.242.165. I don’t know if/when they’ll get the site’s nameserver working again and in the meantime, I may do all my article round-up here on STUMP.

This link works now but not much activity since Tuesday.

Ask The Experts: State and local pension reform

With special guest Andrew Biggs, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, Truth in Accounting last month held this webinar:
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Familiar stuff to most of you here but a couple of interesting excerpts on actuaries setting assumptions and political hacks as trustees of public plans.

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Filling (and Ranking) State Holes

If the Democrats sweep, states and their pension holders will be bailed out, either through direct financial support from the federal government or at the expense of bondholders, or both (“The Trillion Dollar Hole,” Cover Story, Aug. 28). If the Republicans retain the Senate, there will be little if any bailout money going to the states and various municipalities, but instead an emphasis on providing financial support to large-scale employers to get people back to work to make them self-sustaining.

If presidential election coverage ever moves beyond teleprompter gaffes and distaste for dead soldiers maybe we can get to a financial issue of importance to every American that divides Biden and Trump as delineated in the perspicacious comment above on barrons.com in response to an article on trouble brewing in the municipal bond market.

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Chicago Police Pension

There is supposedly a rush to retire for police in Chicago:
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Will there be enough money to pay them?

Looking through the 12/31/19 regular valuation and GASB reports we see that the plan is horribly underfunded (by about $12 billion even when using an unreasonably high 6.75% interest rate for valuing liabilities) but, based on past history, 59 retirements per month is about average.

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State of Pensions 2020

A “group of world-class analysts, organizers, and former executives, with a few ex-politicians thrown into the mix” came out with their first annual report on the state of public pensions.

Excerpts including charts (with some embellishment) follow.

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Will COVID-19 Trigger Teacher Retirements?

The question was posed in a webinar last Friday focused on California. Some clips of interest (to me) follow with the full webinar at bottom.

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Breaking News: California Supreme Court Rules on Pension Spiking

Per the Orange County Register some spiking can go but California rule stays:

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Potential Deal for State Pension Reform

With states eager for federal bailout money for, among other things, making their severely underfunded public pension plans whole Andrew Biggs and Sheila A. Weinberg put out an article with some useful historical information (excerpted below) proposing “that if a state requests and receives federal aid for pension funding, then the state must agree to bring that public pension under federal regulation that was qualitatively similar to what private pensions work under.”

Three reasons why I don’t see it happening:

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BEA State Pension Analysis

The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) is an agency in the United States Department of Commerce that has economic statistics like the gross domestic product of the United States. Its stated mission is to “promote a better understanding of the U.S. economy by having the most timely, relevant, and accurate economic data in an objective and cost-effective manner.”

This month the BEA did an analysis of defined benefit pension plans for state and local government employees which included comparative ratings that had New Jersey figuring prominently, primarily as a warning to others.

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Some COLAs Protected

Rhode Island’s Supreme Court ruled this week that Providence violated the U.S. and state constitutions in 2012 when it suspended cost-of-living adjustments on retiree pensions for an indefinite amount of time, something the New Jersey Supreme Court saw differently in 2016.

So what was it that New Jersey jurists got that Rhode Island’s didn’t (aside from tenure)?

Let’s look at excerpts from the Rhode Island decision:

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