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Public Pensions Online Spotlight

PPO's spotlighted articles.

Zeno Consulting Group’s Trade Cost Oversight Initiative for FPPTA Member Funds
Once minimum participation requirements are met, Zeno will waive the minimum fee for its Sponsor Review service and charge FPPTA members a discounted fee on a per portfolio basis. . . .
SPOTLIGHT: FPPTA Infographic Series
The Florida Public Pension Trustee Association has initiated a new effort to educate state and local representatives, pension professionals, and the general public about the importance of defined benefit pension plans. This effort includes a series of infographics or, visual representations of information, data or knowledge intended to present complex information quickly and clearly. . . . more
Where Does the Money Come From, Where Does It Go?
Public sector pension funds continue to face increased scrutiny that they are devouring state and local budgets. This FPPTA infographic investigates state and local revenues and how they are allocated to pension benefits for public workers. . . . more
Introducing “The Public Pension Institute”
For years, . . . more
Does Your Pension Board Need Help Meeting Its Fiduciary Liability? – Create a Funding Policy
Pete Strong, Gabriel Roeder Smith & Co.
Does Your Pension Board Need Help Meeting Its Fiduciary Liability? – Create a Funding Policy Would you ever try to drive from Florida to Alaska without first looking at a map? What would you do if you got halfway there and realized a bridge was closed or a long stretch of the highway was under construction? Would you not get out that same map (or GPS device) and find the best alternate route? You’d probably feel pretty lost on such a long trip if you didn’t bring a road map (or a GPS device) along with you, right? . . . more
This Time They Really Mean It: Why QE3 Will Drive Even More Money Into Real Estate
This Time They Really Mean It: Why QE3 Will Drive Even More Money Into Real Estate Conventional wisdom holds that the third round of quantitative easing (QE) may be less effective at stimulating U.S. economic growth than previous rounds. Perhaps. Yet, when it comes to the impact on commercial real estate, there are many reasons to think that this round might matter even more than previous ones. . . . more
Tough Love
Tough Love A reporter once asked George Raft late in his career what happened to all the money he made as an actor in the 1930s, 40s and 50s. George replied that he spent some on women, some on wine, some at the race track and the rest he spent foolishly. Now let’s suppose you are Mr. and Mrs. Middle Class. You have a pretty good job, but your wife was recently laid off from her job. You have a daughter, who is a sophomore in high school and a son starting the seventh grade. You just maxed out your credit card buying clothes and school supplies for your kids. Now, along comes a major shoe manufacturer introducing a $315 tennis shoe endorsed by a major league athlete, who makes a mega-million dollar salary. Your son, of course, really wants this pair of shoes. You are obviously hesitant, but reflect on the sacrifices your parents made in order for you to have a better life than they had. You reflect on the state of the economy and the odds of maintaining your job. You know realistically it would be foolish to buy those shoes and that it would be difficult to rationally explain to your seventh grader the economic principles involved. In the end, you and your wife decide it is time for tough love. You say no to the shoes knowing it is best for your son in the long run, if he can learn the discipline of your actions. You also know that you will be dealing with an angry child in the near-term, but you will accept that in the hope that your son (and daughter) will learn the lessons of responsibility and discipline that will make them better parents and more productive citizens. That is just a microcosm of the macrocosm now playing out in the world. . . . more
As Time Goes By
As Time Goes By Last week, my three kids started school. As I walked them to their new classrooms, I couldn’t believe the new school year had started. Time Flew. I then realized it has been some time since my last investment letter. Time really flew! . . . more
Dog Days
Dog Days The Romans associated the dog days with the star Sirius. They considered Sirius to be the “Dog Star” because it is the brightest star in the constellation Canis Major (Large Dog). Sirius is also the brightest star in the night sky. The dog days were originally the days when Sirius rose just before or at the same time as sunrise (no longer true owing to the precision of the equinoxes). The Romans believed the Dog Star was the hot, sultry weather. Dog Days were popularly believed to be an evil time when the sea boiled, the wine turned sour, dogs grew mad and all other creatures became languid, causing in humans, among other diseases, burning fever, hysterics and phrensies (a study of the skull to determine mental imbalances). We are no longer superstitious about this time period and do not sacrifice dogs at the altar during this period (July 24 thru August 24). Nevertheless, people do suffer from the heat and flock to beaches or the theatre to cool themselves off. New Yorkers of course leave the city en masse to the beaches on Long Island. The result is lower volume of trading on the stock exchange. This does sometimes lead to volatility in the market place. . . . more
State Pension Reforms: Are New Workers Paying for Past Mistakes?
When state pension plans are underfunded, someone eventually has to pay for the shortfall. Many reforms shift burdens to the young, particularly by making many new employees net contributors to—rather than beneficiaries of—these plans. How? Essentially, states require higher levels of employee contributions, invest them in somewhat risky assets, and then, like a bank or financial intermediary, pay back many employees less in benefits than what they contributed and expected to earn on those contributions. . . . more
Grocery-Anchored Centers: Why Average Isn't Good Enough
Grocery-Anchored Centers: Why Average Isn't Good Enough Planning for the worst and hoping for the best might be good life advice, but it’s not much of a real estate investment strategy. That’s because planning for the worst in real estate portfolios, also known as “modeling downside scenarios,” can easily suffer from a lack of imagination...and a lack of imagination will always get investors into trouble, particularly when making retail investments. . . . more
Recession, Weak Economy Behind Revision of Social Security's Projected Shortfall to 2033
According to the latest Social Security Trustees' report released today, the projected shortfall in the financing of Social Security over the 75-year planning period is 2.67 percent of taxable earnings, compared with 2.22 percent in last year's report. By far the largest factor in this change is the Trustees' assumptions regarding the current and future economy, which accounted for nearly half of the total change. In particular, the Trustees revised down their projections of average hours worked. Last year, the intermediate assumption was that average hours would not change over time, while this year they are assumed to fall 0.05 percent per year. Over the 75-year planning period, this implies an eventual fall in hours by about 4 percent. As a result, growth in average annual earnings was similarly revised downward. . . . more
English Mandatory
Welcome to the global community in 2012! English has increasingly become the international language of business. Within more and more nations, businesses are demanding their executives become fluent in English. Some ignore such a requirement at their own peril. . . . more
Pensionomics: Measuring the Economic Impact of State & Local Pension Plans
Pensionomics: Measuring the Economic Impact of State & Local Pension Plans A new national economic impact study finds that the benefits provided by state and local government pension plans have a significant economic footprint: 2.5 million American jobs and $358 billion in economic impact. The analysis finds that the benefits provided by state and local government pension plans have a sizable impact that ripples through every state and industry across the nation. . . . more
U.S. Market Structure: Is This What We Asked For?
U.S. Market Structure: Is This What We Asked For? This paper examines the current state of the U.S. equity markets. It explores how changes to market structure and regulation over the years have led us to where we are today and asks, is this really what we asked for? . . . more
Renaissance Manufacturing (Part One)
Ahhhh, the “common wisdom” in America…so easy to pass on to associates, to family, and to friends. The common wisdom is that we have lost our ability to “make things” in this country….lost it to China, Mexico, etc. Our nation is now a place where we simply trade information with each other...and serve each other hamburgers . . . more
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