Antonio Rodriguez, CFA, CIPM, director of investment strategy for the New York City Board of Education Retirement System (BERS), speaks to Paul Kovarsky, CFA, about the challenges public pension trustees face in the United States and how they can better inform one another's efforts.
The author, a thought leader in the pension industry, covers a broad spectrum of pension management topics. He focuses on changes the industry needs to make in order to overcome its challenges — in particular, its failure to achieve its goals of affordability and retirement security. The solutions already exist; the problem is one of implementation.
Keith P. Ambachtsheer, long an outspoken advocate for pension reform, gave a sober assessment of the state of the world’s workplace retirement plans, praising the relative strength of plans in northern Europe while declaring those in southern Europe to be a “disaster.”
Retirement security is a key area of focus for the Future of Finance initiative at CFA institute, and we hosted an online forum featuring a panel of experts with varied backgrounds and perspectives to examine the size and scope of the public pension funding gap, debate its causes, and to consider potential solutions.
Over the past decade, the funding gap for US public pension plans has widened considerably, and many state and local plans today find themselves in desperate straits, facing an aggregate shortfall in excess of $4 trillion.
In the United States, state and local governments’ defined benefit pension plans are underfunded by more than $4 trillion, threatening the financial security of approximately 8 million retirees and 14 million workers, and taking a fiscal toll on states and municipalities.
In the first five days of October 2008, large corporate pension funds lost more than $100 billion of pension assets. And at the end of 2011, the aggregate funding shortfall for Fortune 1000 companies amounted to $343 billion. In examining the decisions that defined benefit plan sponsors made, Xuanjuan Chen, Tong Yu, and Ting Zhang argue that moral hazard and tax benefits play a significant role.