NCPERS 73rd Annual Conference comes to a close
The last day of the Annual Conference concludes
NCPERS last general session of the 73rd Annual Conference & Exhibition began with a discussion on the future of retirement in America with Cathie Eitelberg and Leon “Rocky” Joyner from Segal Consulting. Eitelberg and Joyner discussed the current situation for the Pew Center for the States and their connection with the Laura and John Arnold Foundation. Pension reform and the balance between cost and risk was also discussed; even well funded plans are considering reductions because they are concerned about future risk. Lastly, the two options for the future of retirement balance and adequacy; continue down the current path without direction or revive the dual concepts of adequacy and balance.
Brian Singer with William Blair and Company presented on building portfolios in a new world; in order to navigate new waters, trustees will be pulled away from traditional asset allocations toward prudent dynamic risk capital allocations. Robert Wilson from the Missouri Local Government Employees Retirement System presented ways to reframe the public pension debate. Wilson advised trustees to steer the conversation back to the real goal- building communities with quality employees, a modest, earned retirement security for everyone, and how defined benefit systems work well and should be learned from and modeled.
The last session was from Dan Pedrotty of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) on holding Wall Street accountable. Pedrotty discussed how money managers sit on the boards of organizations who seek to destroy public pensions, and how these managers will use public pension funds to fuel these campaigns. The AFT report Ranking Asset Managers (available on the NCPERS Website here) shows 29 investment firms that manage members' money, but also contribute to: Manhattan Institute, Illinois is Broke, Students First, and the Show Me Institute; all organizations who wish to end public pensions. Pedrotty also shared organizations who the AFT has had successful engagement: Dimensional Fund Advisors, Court Square, AQR Capital Management, Aon Hewitt, Donald Smith & Co, and KKR. Through pointing out leadership who sits on the boards of these organizations, these firms actively sought to fix the problem and recommit their support of defined benefit plans.
After the general session, attendees went to breakout sessions with more specific educational information. The last Lunch & Lecture series of the conference was from Tim Moss, with the Illinois Public Pension Fund Association and Jay Rehak with the Chicago Teachers' Pension Fund. Moss and Rehak gave attendees an update on Illinois and Chicago pension reform. To finish out the Annual Conference, attendees were invited to a closing reception and dinner for the last networking opportunities of the conference. Check out the NCPERS website for information on future conferences.