Commentary

COMMENTARY: Take Politics Out Of Public Pension Plans

This op-ed originally appeared in Forbes on November 4th, 2019.  Ahead of the Great Recession of 2008-2009, housing prices were increasing by about 5% every year between 1998 and 2006. Yet major publications and almost all pundits missed the signs of impending disaster. More than seven million Americans lost their homes and millions more lost […]

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COMMENTARY: Safeguarding the pensions of public employees; With proxy reforms the SEC takes a first step in improving the health of U.S. pension funds

This op-ed originally appeared in The Washington Times on October 8th, 2019. Nearly a year after it held a roundtable on the topic, the Securities and Exchange Commission on Aug. 21 issued “an interpretation that proxy voting advice provided by proxy advisory firms generally constitutes a ‘solicitation’ under the federal proxy rules.” This is a […]

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Opinion/Letter: NY pensions deserve protection – Richard Brower in New York Daily News

This Letter to the Editor originally appeared in New York Daily News on September 21, 2019. Rockville Centre, L.I.: Re “Don’t be fuelish, Tom,” (Sept. 2): New York’s retirees served the state all of their lives. As a former vice chairman of the FDNY Pension Fund and advisory board member for the Institute for Pension Fund […]

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Opinion/Letter: Divestment vote was doubly wrong – Christopher Burnham in the Charlottesville Daily Progress

This letter to the Editor originally appeared in the Charlottesville The Daily Progress on August 13, 2019 Charlottesville voted to divest from fossil fuels and national defense companies. The City Council of Charlottesville seeks to disassociate itself from companies that fuel our cars, heat our schools and businesses, or support our armed forces. As a Virginian and […]

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COMMENTARY: It’s Proxy Season And Here’s Why That Matters For Public Pensions

This op-ed originally appeared in Forbes on June 13, 2019. This is the time of year when publicly traded companies host their annual shareholder meetings. During these meetings the shareholders vote their shares on various issues impacting the company. The company’s proxy statement will include shareholder resolutions on everything from executive pay to proposals that impact how the company […]

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COMMENTARY: State Pension Funds Shouldn’t be Captive to Politics

This op-ed originally appeared in The Buffalo News on June 09, 2019. The politicization of pensions continues plaguing our state. In a misguided effort to fight climate change, State Sen. Liz Krueger introduced Senate bill 2126, the Fossil Fuel Divestment Act, earlier this year. This prompted an open letter from New York Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, urging Krueger to reconsider […]

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Be a faithful fiduciary — keep politics out of your decisions when investing other people’s money

This recent op-ed originally appeared in The Washington Examiner on May 21, 2019. Amid growing calls for divestment from several industries, Milton Friedman’s view on the role of business in politics bears repeating. Friedman explained that corporate executives are agents of the companies to which they are employed, acting on behalf of the company’s owners and tasked […]

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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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