Both Chicago Police and Chicago Fire plans have active-to-beneficiary ratios of about 90%, and have been at that level for some years. Chicago Police, specifically, had such a ratio starting in 2012.
So, there are more people taking police pensions than are active employees already. If I take the numbers given, and shift 38% from active to beneficiaries, that gives one an active-to-beneficiary ratio of 52% (assuming you don’t get new actives, which you would, but still… this is a point-in-time estimate).
The visualizations display how private equity investments have grown in popularity. Private equity allocations are now the third-largest asset class for public pension plans, growing from 3.62 of nationwide plan portfolios in 2001 to 9.15 percent in 2019.
Portfolio managers should be free to pursue whatever investment philosophies they believe are in the best long-run interests of their plan members. However, policymakers, pension plan members, and taxpayers should be aware of these trends and the risks that come with them. Pension systems and lawmakers need to address the growing risk of volatility in ways that maintain a plan’s resiliency to unpredictable market factors. Also, plan stakeholders should be wary of a situation where the tail wags the dog—with pension systems swapping safety for risk and volatility as they chase outdated and overly optimistic investment return assumptions.