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Category Archives: Pension

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Educational Webinar About Pension Risk Management

Posted in ERISA, Pension, Risk Management, Susan Mangiero
Please join Dr. Susan Mangiero on November 2, 2016 for a one hour online program about pension risk management. The webinar is sponsored by the Professional Risk Managers’ International Association (“PRMIA“) in recognition of the importance of the subject. This learning event qualifies for one Continuing Professional Education (“CPE”) credit. A program description is shown below. You can… Continue Reading

Unicorns, Valuation and the Search for Investment Returns

Posted in Investment Management, Liquidity, Pension, Private Equity, Valuation, Venture Capital
Thanks to Matthew Crow, President of Mercer Capital, for an interesting analysis of regional venture capital trends. In his blog post entitled “Are VC trends the canary in the RIA coal mine?” he points out that valuations in New York, Silicon Valley and Boston are deemed by many as “too high.” As a result, venture… Continue Reading

Litigation and Due Diligence of Investment Service Providers

Posted in Litigation, Pension, Regulation, Risk Management
According to “Firms at risk of losing pension business because of LIBOR convictions” (Pensions & Investments, August 28, 2015), the U.S. Department of Labor “is tentatively denying” certain organizations the okay to work with ERISA retirement plans. Given the billions of dollars at stake, a failure to secure a Qualified Professional Asset Manager (“QPAM“) exemption… Continue Reading

Good Players Pay For Other People’s Bad Investment Compliance

Posted in Compliance, Financial Crisis, Governance, Investment Management, Municipal Bonds, Pension, Regulation
Much to my chagrin, I am told that it is my responsibility to pay for the removal of my neighbor’s tree after it fell in my backyard. Never mind that the tree is old and was left untended for many years until a bad storm destroyed its ability to stand. Ignore the fact that I… Continue Reading

Investment Transparency Now Required in Rhode Island

Posted in Disclosure and Transparency, Fees, Hedge Fund, Investment Management, Pension
Just a few days after the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) voted to officially propose that certain registered funds provide a lot more information about their operations, the State of Rhode Island has followed suit. In a May 26, 2015 press release, General Treasurer Seth Magaziner describes the Ocean State as a leader in… Continue Reading

Electronic RFP Process and Fiduciary Duty

Posted in Compliance, Fiduciary Liability, Financial Expert, Investment Management, Pension
As I have mentioned on other occasions, my work as a forensic economist (and sometimes testifying expert witness) has frequently focused on how service providers were selected and then monitored. Always interested in knowing about industry innovations as they occur, I was intrigued to recently learn about a firm called InHub. Founded in 2014 by… Continue Reading

Excessive Fee Litigation and Public Pension Plans

Posted in Disclosure and Transparency, Fees, Investment Management, Pension, Private Equity, Susan Mangiero
Having just returned from a two-day ERISA litigation conference in Chicago, the topic of fee benchmarking is top of mind. During a rousing session about excessive fee allegations, plaintiffs’ counsel Greg Porter (partner with Bailey Glasser LLP) and defense counsel Eric S. Mattson (parter with Sidley Austin LLP) discussed fiduciary litigation, the Exclusive Benefit Rule,… Continue Reading

More About Fiduciary Outsourcing

Posted in ERISA, Fiduciary Liability, Pension
In an earlier commentary entitled “Fiduciary Outsourcing Considerations” (March 4, 2015), I talked about the expectations gap that arises when “a plan sponsor thinks that certain activities are going to be done by a fiduciary adviser, but the fiduciary adviser does not believe they are obliged to do such work…” I mentioned the work of… Continue Reading

ERISA Litigation Conference Addresses Timely Fiduciary Issues

Posted in ERISA, Governance, Litigation, Pension, Regulation
Dr. Susan Mangiero announces the sponsorship of a forthcoming conference about ERISA litigation and regulatory issues by Fiduciary Leadership, LLC. Produced by the American Conference Institute (“ACI”), this mid-April event pairs attorneys (including corporate counsel) with jurists to address timely topics that include, but are not limited to, the following: Excessive fees; Church plan lawsuits; Fiduciary… Continue Reading

Expert Networks and Fiduciary Duties

Posted in Disclosure and Transparency, Financial Expert, Hedge Fund, Insider Trading, Pension, Regulation
I was recently asked by an attorney I know for my governance opinion about the use of expert networks. He has a pension fund client that is pondering whether to allocate money to a hedge fund that is a frequent user of expert network services. As is typically the case, I answered “It depends.” Is… Continue Reading

Using Leverage to Chase Returns

Posted in Derivatives, Disclosure and Transparency, Financial Reporting, Investment Management, Leverage, Liquidity, Litigation, Municipal Bonds, Pension, Regulation, Risk Management
It is no secret that pension economics is becoming the topic du jour in public finance land. On August 11, 2014, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) made known its allegations of securities fraud against the State of Kansas. According to the official cease-and-desist order, information made available to municipal bond investors “failed to… Continue Reading

ACI ERISA Litigation Conference – New York City

Posted in ERISA, Litigation, Pension
I have the pleasure of announcing that Fiduciary Leadership, LLC is one of the sponsors of this recurring educational conference. For a limited time only, I am told that interested parties can register early and receive a discount. Contact Mr. Joseph Gallagher at 212-352-3220, extension 5511, for details. Besides two full days of interesting and timely presentations, the American Conference… Continue Reading

Investment Fees and Portfolio Returns

Posted in Disclosure and Transparency, ERISA, Fees, Investment Management, Mutual Funds, Pension, Regulation
Although Whole Foods is one of my favorite grocery stores, I experienced sticker shock today when I bought fresh fish from Stop n’ Shop. Wild flounder at the former recently cost me $14.99 per pound in contrast to $7.99 at the latter. When I asked for comments, I was told that organic status might account… Continue Reading

Muni Bonds, Pensions and Financial Disclosures

Posted in Compliance, Derivatives, Disclosure and Transparency, Financial Reporting, Hedge Fund, Liquidity, Litigation, Municipal Bonds, Pension, Regulation
I had the pleasure of co-presenting on February 19 with senior attorney Elaine Greenberg as part of an educational briefing for the Practising Law Institute. A partner with Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP and the former chief of the Municipal Securities and Public Pensions Enforcement Unit, part of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), Attorney… Continue Reading

New Report Examines State of Public Section Defined Benefit Plans

Posted in Disclosure and Transparency, Municipal Bonds, Pension
Thank you to Pullman & Comley senior attorney, George J. Kasper, for sharing a “hot off the press” report about employee benefit plans that are offered by state and local governments. Entitled “The Blinken Report: Strengthening the Security of Public Sector Defined Benefit Plans“(The Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government, State University of New York,… Continue Reading

Big News in Muni Bond Land About Public Pensions

Posted in Disclosure and Transparency, Financial Crisis, Municipal Bonds, Mutual Funds, Pension, Regulation
No doubt yesterday’s decree that pensions can be slashed as part of a bankruptcy filing for the City of Detroit have left some persons gasping for air, wringing their hands and generally caught by surprise that contractual retirement obligations may no longer be sacrosanct. As the result of a historic decision to possibly curtail pension benefits,… Continue Reading

Fitch Downgrades Chicago, Citing Large Unfunded Pension Obligations as a Factor

Posted in Municipal Bonds, Pension
I like Chicago. When I worked there for what was then known as the First National Bank of Chicago, I lived near Lincoln Park. I remember taking long walks as a way to explore the Windy City.  Whenever I return now for business, I do so with pleasant anticipation. Unfortunately, local taxpayers may be less upbeat, now that Fitch… Continue Reading

Muni Bond Public Pension Disclosures – Still High Priority For Regulators

Posted in Compliance, Derivatives, Disclosure and Transparency, FINRA, Litigation, Municipal Bonds, Mutual Funds, Pension, Regulation
According to a November 8, 2013 press release, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) has appointed LeeAnn Ghazil Gaunt as head of the Municipal Securities and Public Pensions Unit of its Enforcement Division. She is credited for overseeing pay-to-play actions and investigations that range from inappropriate hedge accounting disclosures and market timing. No doubt… Continue Reading

Pension Risk Governance Blog In Its Seventh Year

Posted in ERISA, Governance, Pension, Risk Management
For those readers of who work with or for pension funds, you may be interested to know that our sister site,, is in its seventh year. With over a million visitors, this educational resource for the $30+ global retirement industry addresses a variety of topics to include, but not limited to, the following:… Continue Reading