Institute for Pension Fund Integrity (IPFI) Launches to Address the Public Pension Crisis and the Politicization of Pension Fund Management
Arlington, VA – The Institute for Pension Fund Integrity (IPFI), a project which seeks to ensure that state and local leaders are held responsible for their choices in public pension investment, launched today with the unveiling of its website and first white paper – “Fiduciary Responsibility; Getting Politics out of Pensions.” Former Connecticut State Treasurer and former Under Secretary General at the United Nations Christopher B. Burnham will serve as IPFI’s president.
IFPI’s mission is to help pension plan beneficiaries understand the true unfunded liabilities in their pension system, and to keep plan managers from placing politics ahead of prudent investment. In doing so, it advocates four core principles in public pension management: adherence to fiduciary responsibility; balanced economic, social, and governance factor investments; long term pension fund return; and data-driven investment.
IPFI will provide resources and commentary from thought leaders in the public investment and retirement fields, serving as a base of knowledge and accountability for public pension investment leadership.
“At a time when public pensions are dramatically underfunded, and both inside and outside stakeholders push for politically-driven divestment, something has to be done,” said Burnham. “Public pension fund managers have a fiduciary responsibility to their beneficiaries to make rational decisions based on risk and return, not politics. As the former State Treasurer of Connecticut and sole fiduciary of the Connecticut pension system, I know the importance of keeping politics out of fiduciary decisions. I started IPFI to help inform beneficiaries and policy leaders, and to bring this issue to the forefront.”
Along with announcing its website, IPFI released an inaugural white paper, which examines the state of public pension funds suffering from the most underfunding, even a decade after the Great Recession. The solution is clear: get politics out of public pension management. If a fund manager is investing based on political decisions and not purely on the risk or return, then they are weakening the fund, and undermining its integrity.
“The primary responsibility of a public pension fund manager is to manage the fund investment in a way that guarantees the best possible retirement benefit,” the paper concludes. “Even though many are managed by politically appointed or elected managers, those individuals must ensure separation of politics from pension benefits. Pension funds must be handled responsibly, free of politics and any personal agenda.”
Please visit www.IPFIUSA.org to learn more about the project and to read the white paper, “Fiduciary Responsibility, Getting Politics out of Pensions.”
The Institute for Pension Fund Integrity seeks to ensure that local, state and federal leaders are held responsible for their choices in investment, led not by political ideation and opinion but instead by fiduciary responsibility. IPFI is a non-partisan, non-profit organization based out of Arlington, Virginia, and spearheaded by former Connecticut State Treasurer Christopher B. Burnham.