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» E. J. McMahon

Author E. J. McMahon

To hedge or not to hedge

The $300 billion California Public Employees’ Retirement System (Calpers), America’s largest public pension fund, is eliminating its $4 billion stake in hedge funds due to their “complexity, cost, and the lack of ability to scale,” the fund’s interim chief investment officer has just announced. But the …

The Big Apple’s big pension bite

A front-page story in The New York Times last week at least briefly pierced the fog of complacency that seems to have once again surrounded the issue of public pensions in New York.
Despite a huge increase in pension outlays since 2000, the hole in New York City’s pension …

NY Legislature OKs more alternative pension investments

Both houses of the New York State Legislature have now approved a bill expanding the share of public pension funds that can be invested in complex, high-risk alternative assets such as private equity and hedge funds.
Wednesday’s vote in the Assembly was 121-15 in favor of the measure …

Will NY lock in retiree health costs?

New York State and its government subdivisions have unfunded liabilities of $250 billion for promised public-sector retiree health coverage — a disproportionate share of at least $1 trillion in other post-employment benefits (OPEB) benefits promised by states and local governments throughout the country.
Incredibly, with days …

New York’s transit pay train

Employees of New York’s sprawling Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) make a good buck — and top salaries are by no means limited to the white-collar brass at the state-run agency’s midtown Manhattan headquarters.
In 2013, one in seven MTA workers pulled down at least $100,000 in …

Court strikes a blow for pension transparency in NY

New York’s highest court today ruled that the names of state and local government employees receiving public pensions must be disclosed under the state’s Freedom of Information Law.
By a 6-0 margin, the state Court of Appeals sided with the group I head, the Empire Center …

Litigating pensions in the Land of Lincoln

Illinois has become the latest legal battleground in the nation’s ongoing public pension reform wars.
Newly enacted changes to pension benefits in Illinois would, among other things, reduce cost-of-living increases in benefits for already retired employees.  But a suit filed last week by public school administrators …

As goes Illinois, so goes New York?

Cross-posted from NYTorch.com
The expected state court battle over newly enacted public pension changes in Illinois will bear close watching throughout the country–especially in New York. That’s because, when it comes to protecting pension benefits, the 1970 Illinois State Constitution closely follows the wording of New York’s 1938 …

A timely webinar on public pensions

Just in time for the Detroit bankruptcy ruling aftermath, Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business (GSB) will host a webinar on Thursday featuring some of the nations leading experts on the crisis in public pension financing.
The webinar, part of Stanford GSB’s online course on the …

Cuomo OKs a local bailout in NY

New York State—unlike California, Michigan and some other states recently —has long sought to prevent municipal bankruptcies. Starting with the New York City fiscal crisis of the mid-1970s, Albany dealt with isolated local insolvency threats by creating state financial control boards, armed with extraordinary powers …