Commentary

Chris Burnham Commentary in Institutional Investing in Infrastructure: Institutional investors don’t always see eye-to-eye on how to implement ESG

The trend toward implementing ESG — environment, social and governance — has hit critical mass, and most investment organizations are at various stages of either installing or preparing these policies. But could the hype get in the way of an organization’s mission? That is a question that is on the minds of many people with a fiduciary […]

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Chris Burnham Commentary in Barron’s: ESG Investing Suffers a Setback in California

A funny thing happened recently in the left-leaning Golden State. In a board election last month, members of the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, or Calpers, the biggest pension fund in the nation, threw out their president and gave ESG investing a bloody nose. ESG is the increasingly popular asset-management style that applies environmental, social, and […]

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Chris Burnham Commentary in Fox & Hounds Daily: CalPERS Must Focus on Fiduciary Responsibility, Not Social Issues

Recently California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) – whose former board president, Priya Mathur, was discarded as a board member by a landslide vote of 57% to 43% – signed a letter asking the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to develop metrics for requiring listed companies to report on their compliance with environmental, social, and […]

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Ken Blackwell Op-Ed in The Toledo Blade: Treasurer candidate playing politics with state funds

The trouble we run into during campaign season is candidates making emotional promises that yield harmful policy. One of the state Treasurer candidates has essentially promised to use state investments as a political tool. This misguided approach is harmful to Ohio’s financial future. Democratic state Treasurer nominee Rob Richardson said (”Attorney pushes investing changes; Richardson […]

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IPFI in Finance et Investissement: Tobacco reportedly cost CalPERS $ 3 billion

Are environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria generating alpha? Not always, says the US Institute for Pension Fund Integrity (IPFI) according to which the institutional manager California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) would have lost more than US $ 3 billion in potential returns following its withdrawal from the sector. tobacco in the year 2000. […]

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Firehouse News Op-Ed by Kevin O’Connor: Fire Politics: Protecting Your Future

When someone raises their hand and takes an oath to become a firefighter or EMS professional, they knowingly assume the risks associated with one of the nation’s most dangerous professions. Very few young firefighters think about the future in terms of needing a pension and/or disability benefits. There are almost 3,000 public sector pension plans […]

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Forbes Column by Chris Burnham: What Does Being A Fiduciary Really Mean?

Thirty-eight years ago this fall, on a parade deck in Quantico, Virginia, my mother pinned on me the gold bars of a new Lieutenant of Marines. From my earliest moments in the Marine Corps, we were inculcated with the motto of the Corps, Semper Fidelis—”Always Faithful.” That sacred oath, to the U.S. Constitution, to the […]

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Forbes Column by Chris Burnham: States Should Re-Evaluate Their Assumed Rates Of Return

The assumed rate of return is one of the major actuarial assumptions underlying pension fund valuations. It influences the calculation of a plan’s total liabilities and drives the required annual contributions to the plan. A high assumed rate will result in lower levels of estimated liabilities and allow politicians to appropriate lower annual contribution to […]

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Chris Burnham in New York Daily News: Stop politicizing pensions: The sole duty of politicians should be to deliver maximum return to retirees

A secure retirement built on a strong pension has always been the ultimate reward and “thank you” for a lifetime of service by our public servants. Unfortunately, massive unfunded liabilities in pension systems across the country threaten that security. This is not only because of chronic underfunding, but also because of politically driven calculations. Now, […]

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Connecticut Post: An old pension warrior’s new mission

Don’t say the words “socially responsible investing” to Christopher Burnham. He’s a man on a mission — to take politics out of public pension fund investing.   Anything that smacks of a city or state directing its pension money for the purpose of advancing an agenda — like, say, Connecticut divesting from gun companies — […]

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