Commentary

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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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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Bloomberg Law: ‘Do Good’ Investing by Retirement Plans to Be Part of New Report

The Labor Department’s shifting guidance also doesn’t appear to have an impact on ESG investing, Gotbaum said. Whether or not the DOL encourages economically targeted investing or proxy activity, the decision “has always been and will always be up to the fiduciaries themselves.” James Cole II, a lawyer with Groom Law Group in Washington, echoed […]

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The Financial Standard: US project to end pension politics

An American non-profit – led by a former state treasurer – is demanding pension plan managers stop putting politics before prudent investment. The Institute for Pension Fund Integrity (IPFI) says if a fund manager is investing pension money based on political reasons and not purely on the risk or return, they are weakening the fund […]

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Barron’s: Why Pensions and Politics Don’t Mix

While the U.S. stock market has produced one of the longest and strongest bull runs in its history over the past nine years, the financial condition of many of the country’s 6,000 or so state and municipal pension funds has deteriorated. Some are in bad shape. Yet, even as these pension funds grapple with a […]

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Chief Investment Officer: New Institute Challenges ESG-Minded Divestment Movement

A new pension-focused institute has been created that seeks to challenge nationwide efforts to convince public pension funds to divest from companies for environmental, social, or governance (ESG) reasons. The Institute for Pension Fund Integrity says many of the stocks that the ESG movement shuns generate good returns, so dumping them will harm pension portfolio […]

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Institutional Investor: New Pensions Group Says Forget About Climate Change

Pension funds should focus solely on getting the best investment returns and ignore issues such as climate change and other political issues, says a new group founded by a former Connecticut state treasurer. In a white paper released today, the new group, the Institute for Pension Fund Integrity, argued that prioritizing anything but returns is […]

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Press-Republican: Cuomo ignites pension fund debate with divestment push

But the governor’s move has spawned concerns that a green energy litmus test over investment decisions could end up limiting the fund’s growth should Cuomo’s prognostications regarding energy sector stocks prove to be flawed. “The comptroller needs to stick to his guns and understand that his fiduciary responsibility is to the beneficiaries” of the fund, […]

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