Maryland State Retirement System Loses 3% in Fiscal Year 2022

Lik: https://www.ai-cio.com/news/maryland-state-retirement-system-loses-3-in-fiscal-year-2022/

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Excerpt:

The Maryland State Retirement and Pension System’s investment portfolio lost 2.97%, net of fees, for the fiscal year ending June 30, but beat its policy benchmark’s loss of 3.48%. As they have been for many pension funds, the results were a sharp turnaround from last year, when the MSRPS earned record returns of 26.7%.

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Although the fund missed its new assumed actuarial rate of 6.8% for the fiscal year, which became effective July 1, the portfolio’s three-, five- and 10-year returns were 8.4%, 7.9% and 7.8%, respectively.

Author(s): Michael Katz

Publication Date: 17 Aug 2022

Publication Site: ai-CIO

NY Common to Review Net-Zero Readiness of Oil and Gas Firms

Link: https://www.ai-cio.com/news/ny-common-to-review-net-zero-readiness-of-oil-and-gas-firms/?oly_enc_id=2359H8978023B3G

Excerpt:

The New York State Common Retirement Fund is evaluating 28 publicly traded oil and gas companies to determine if they are ready to transition to a low-carbon economy, according to a release from the state comptroller’s office.

The $272.1 billion pension fund is asking each company, which includes energy giants BP, Chevron, Exxon Mobil and Shell, to provide information on how prepared it is to transition to a net-zero economy.

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The assessment of the pension fund’s integrated oil and gas holdings is part of its broader review of energy sector investments that it believes face significant climate risk. When DiNapoli announced in late 2020 that the pension fund would transition its portfolio to net-zero by 2040, he said the process would include completing a review of energy sector investments within four years to assess transition readiness, as well as a divestment of companies that don’t meet its climate-related investment risk standards.

Less than two years into that review process, which has so far included an evaluation of shale oil and gas, oil sands and coal companies, the pension fund has decided to divest from 55 firms that it determined were not prepared to transition to a net-zero economy.

Author(s): Michael Katz

Publication Date: 15 Aug 2022

Publication Site: ai-CIO

Average Public Pension Assumed Rate of Return Hits 40-Year Low

Link: https://www.ai-cio.com/news/average-public-pension-assumed-rate-of-return-hits-40-year-low/

Excerpt:

The average investment return rate assumption for U.S. public pension funds has fallen below 7.0%, to its lowest level in more than 40 years, according to the National Association of State Retirement Administrators.

Among the 131 funds that NASRA measured, more than half have reduced their investment return assumption since fiscal year 2020 as rising interest rates and other factors have contributed to more volatile investment returns. 

For the 30‐year period that ended in 2020, public pension funds accrued approximately $8.5 trillion in revenue, according to NASRA, of which $5.1 trillion, or 60%, came from investment earnings. Employer contributions accounted for $2.4 trillion, or 28%, and employee contributions totaled $1 trillion, or 12%. 

Author(s): Michael Katz

Publication Date: 1 Aug 2022

Publication Site: ai-CIO

Justice Department Ends Investigation of Pennsylvania PSERS

Link: https://www.ai-cio.com/news/justice-department-ends-investigation-of-pennsylvania-psers/

Excerpt:

The Department of Justice has dropped its investigation into the Pennsylvania Public School Employees’ Retirement System, said Chris Santa Maria, chairman of the $75.9 billion pension fund’s board of trustees, in a statement. PSERS made no further comment on the matter.

The pension fund had been under investigation by the Justice Department since at least May of last year, when subpoenas indicated that the FBI and prosecutors were seeking evidence of kickbacks and bribes at PSERS.

The subpoenas were reportedly looking for information from the pension fund, its executive director, chief financial officer, chief auditing officer and deputy CIO. The court orders reportedly showed that the FBI and prosecutors were probing possible “honest services fraud” and wire fraud.

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According to a report released earlier this year following an internal investigation, PSERS investment consultant Aon took responsibility for the accounting error. The report includes a letter from Aon to Grossman that said the firm had become aware of data corruption in some sub-composite market values, cashflows and returns for April 2015.

Aon attributed the data corruption to an error by an analyst in uploading net asset value and cashflow data into the performance system it uses. The company said the data corruption impacted “a few asset class composites” in the public markets.

Author(s): Michael Katz

Publication Date: 3 Aug 2022

Publication Site: ai-CIO

Canadian Pension Giant Makes Its First Foray Into Colombian Private Equity

Link: https://www.ai-cio.com/news/canadian-pension-giant-makes-its-first-foray-into-colombian-private-equity/

Excerpt:

The C$539 billion ($431.7 billion) Canada Pension Plan Investment Board has invested $334 million to acquire a 19.3% stake in Colombia-based discount grocery store chain D1, formerly known as Koba Colombia. The deal marks the pension giant’s first direct private equity investment in the country.

D1, which first opened for business in 2009 and officially took on its new name last month, recently announced it has become Colombia’s main food retailer. Citing findings from Nielsen, the company said it had a 9.7% share in the retail market and a 74% share in the so-called “hard discount” sector at the end of 2021. D1 has over 2,000 stores and reported 2021 operating income of more than $10.9 billion, which was a 32% increase from 2020. It also said this year.

Author(s): Michael Katz

Publication Date: 14 July 2022

Publication Site: ai-CIO

Court Rejects Legal Challenge to Illinois Pension Consolidation

Link: https://www.ai-cio.com/news/court-rejects-legal-challenge-to-illinois-pension-consolidation/

Excerpt:

An Illinois Circuit Court judge has denied a lawsuit that sought to stop the consolidation of the state’s 650 firefighter and police officer pension funds, rejecting the plaintiff’s claims that a law enacting the move violated the state’s constitution.

In 2019, the Illinois General Assembly passed a bill that allows for the consolidation of 650 police and firefighter pensions in order to pool their funds into two statewide funds for investment purposes—one for police and one for firefighters. The move is intended to help improve the financial stability of the pension funds and ease pressure on local governments to raise taxes to fund those pensions.

However, in February 2021 18 police and firefighter pension funds, including active and retired members, filed a complaint against Illinois Governor J. B. Pritzker, who signed the bill into law. The lawsuit alleged that the consolidation violates two provisions of the Illinois Constitution: the pension protection clause and the takings clause.

The plaintiffs claimed that they had a contractual and enforceable right to exclusively manage and control their investment expenditures and income, including interest dividends, capital gains and other distributions on investments, which they said the consolidation infringed upon.

Author(s): Michael Katz

Publication Date: 27 May 2022

Publication Site: ai-CIO

PBGC Approves Bailouts for Five More Multiemployer Plans in May

Link: https://www.ai-cio.com/news/pbgc-approves-bailouts-for-five-more-multiemployer-plans-in-may/

Excerpt:

The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation has approved applications submitted to the Special Financial Assistance Program by five more struggling multiemployer plans in May alone. The PBGC has now approved more than $6.2 billion in bailout funds to plans covering close to 120,000 workers and retirees.

The PBGC said it will provide $210.4 million in SFA funding to the Local 365 UAW Pension Fund Pension Plan of Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, which covers 3,736 participants in the manufacturing industry.

The Local 365 UAW Plan became insolvent in December 2020, at which time the PBGC began providing the plan with financial assistance. As required by law, the plan reduced participants’ benefits to the PBGC guarantee levels, which were approximately 20% below the benefits payable under the terms of the plan.

Author(s): Michael Katz

Publication Date: 23 May 2022

Publication Site: ai-CIO

Teamsters Pension Applies for Bailout After $58 Million Legal Appeal Dismissed

Link: https://www.ai-cio.com/news/teamsters-pension-applies-for-bailout-after-58-million-legal-appeal-dismissed/

Excerpt:

A Teamsters pension fund has applied to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation for a bailout after a circuit court denied its appeal in a lawsuit seeking $58 million in withdrawal liabilities from C&S Wholesale Grocers Inc.

The New York State Teamsters Conference Pension and Retirement Fund, a multiemployer plan based in Syracuse, New York, has applied to PBGC for special financial assistance under the American Rescue Plan Act to improve its financial health and restore benefits previously suspended under the Multiemployer Pension Reform Act. The pension fund said the restoration of suspended benefits would be retroactive and prospective, which means participants would be repaid for benefits reduced previously, while also having benefits restored to pre-suspension levels.

Author(s): Michael Katz

Publication Date: 14 Feb 2022

Publication Site: ai-CIO

PBGC Approves $100.5 Million Bailout of New Jersey Pension Plan

Link:https://www.ai-cio.com/news/pbgc-approves-100-5-million-bailout-of-new-jersey-pension-plan/

Excerpt:

The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) has approved a $100.5 million bail out of the Local 408 International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Warehousemen and Helpers of America Pension Plan. It is the fifth plan approved by the PBGC under the Special Financial Assistance (SFA) program, which was enacted under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARP).

The Union, New Jersey-based plan, which covers over 1,000 participants in the transportation industry, was certified to be in critical and declining status in the plan year that began in 2020 and became insolvent last September. The plan was required by law to reduce its participants’ benefits to the PBGC guarantee level, which was approximately 60% below the benefits payable under the terms of the pension.

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Struggling pension plans are required under the SFA program to demonstrate eligibility and to calculate the amount of assistance per ARP and PBGC guidelines. Funds provided under the program may be used only to pay plan benefits and administrative expenses, and plans receiving aid are also subject to certain terms, conditions, and reporting requirements.

Author(s): Michael Katz

Publication Date: 28 Jan 2022

Publication Site: ai-CIO

Pacific Life Fined for Unlicensed Pension Risk Transfers in New York

Link: https://www.ai-cio.com/news/pacific-life-fined-for-unlicensed-pension-risk-transfers-in-new-york/

Excerpt:

Pacific Life Insurance Co. has agreed to pay a $3 million fine after a New York Department of Financial Services (DFS) investigation found that the firm had conducted pension risk transfer (PRT) business in the state without a license.

It is the third enforcement action by the DFS against a major insurance company for unlicensed PRT business. In April 2020, the regulator fined Athene $45 million, and in February it fined AIG $12 million, both for conducting unauthorized pension risk transfer transactions in New York.

Author(s): Michael Katz

Publication Date: 14 Jan 2022

Publication Site: ai-CIO

Massachusetts PRIM Proposes $1 Billion Investment to Boost Diversity in Managers

Link:https://www.ai-cio.com/news/massachusetts-prim-proposes-1-billion-investment-to-boost-diversity-in-managers/

Excerpt:

Massachusetts’ $95.7 billion state pension fund has preliminarily approved a plan to invest up to $1 billion in emerging-diverse managers over the next two years. The move is part of the Massachusetts Pension Reserves Investment Management (PRIM)’s initiative to abide by the state’s investment equity law, which contains a target of at least 20% diversity among PRIM’s vendor base.

“The PRIM team, by investing $1 billion into its emerging-diverse managers program, is taking important steps in addressing the inequities endemic in the financial services sector,” State Treasurer Deborah Goldberg, who is also the chair of PRIM’s board, said in a statement. “This is real and tangible progress that will reduce barriers and expand opportunities for diverse investment managers.”

Author(s): Michael Katz

Publication Date: 1 Dec 2021

Publication Site: ai-CIO

Ohio Teachers Pension Faces Special Audit Over Scathing Report

Link:https://www.ai-cio.com/news/ohio-teachers-pension-faces-special-audit-over-scathing-report/

Excerpt:

The $95 billion Ohio State Teachers Retirement System (STRS) is facing a special state audit over a report that accuses the pension fund of secretly collaborating with Wall Street firms, lacking transparency, and wasting billions of dollars.

In June, Benchmark Financial Services released preliminary findings of a forensic investigation of Ohio STRS titled “The High Cost of Secrecy.” The report ripped into the retirement system, saying it “has long abandoned transparency, choosing instead to collaborate with Wall Street firms to eviscerate Ohio public records laws and avoid accountability.”

The Ohio Auditor of State’s Office recently sent a letter to Ohio STRS Executive Director William Neville saying it has received “numerous complaints” regarding the report and that it had conducted a preliminary examination into the matter.

Author(s): Michael Katz

Publication Date: 25 Oct 2021

Publication Site: ai-CIO