Fornia Presents to Federal Reserve Conference
on Public Pension Underfunding
PTA President Flick Fornia was invited by the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland to join leading scholars, attorneys, economists, academics, public officials, and other experts in their first Conference on Public Pension Underfunding. Fornia focused on his pension
reform review for the Ohio Retirement Study Council, but also discussed work done for the Alaska Public Pension Coalition and cited the fixed contribution design feature of long-time client Fire and Police Pension Association of Colorado.
For more information:
FRBC 2013 Conference on Public Pension Underfunding
Remembering the Arizona Fire Fighters
We would like to acknowledge our friends, the Professional Fire Fighters of Arizona, for their courageous efforts at battling the Yarnell Hill fire in Prescott, Arizona. Of the 350 fire fighters who were assigned to fight the fire, there were 19 members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots who lost their lives on June 30, 2013, when they were trapped by a
shift in the wind. Our condolences go out to their families.
For further information and ways to help the PFFA families, please visit
Fornia Presents Paper at Royal Statistical Society
The University of Warwick asked Flick Fornia to present the landmark paper "A Better
Bang for the Buck: The Economic Efficiency of Defined Benefit Plans" at their research conference "Economics of Pensions" in London. The other presenters were noted academics from throughout Europe and the US as well as UK financial and political leaders. "A Better Bang for the Buck" was co-authored by Fornia for the National Institute on Retirement Security in 2008. UK political leaders informed Fornia that it has been an important paper in the UK (as well as the US) in maintaining the defined benefit structure
for the UK social security system.
Connect InnovateUK: Economics of Pensions
"Bang for the Buck" Paper
Fornia Authors Disclosure and Funding Articles for NCPERS and Illinois CGFA
TheThe National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems (NCPERS) and the Illinois Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (CGFA) requested that PTA president Flick Fornia contribute to recent member newsletters. The NCPERS article entitled "Disclosure, Disclosure, Disclosure" covered the implications of recent public pension disclosure initiatives from GASB, PEPTA, and NABL, and explained the main components of disclosure in the context of changes to each set of standards. For the
CGFA Monthly Briefing, Fornia wrote a guest editorial on actuarially accepted funding methods for public pension funds.
NCPERS Newsletter, PERSist Winter 2012
CGFA Monthly Briefing, February 2012
NYC Comptroller Issues NIRS/PTA Report
The New York City Comptroller has released a report on a study conducted by Pension Trustee Advisors (PTA) and the National Institute on Retirement Security (NIRS), "A Better Bang for New York City's Buck." The analysis finds that the New York City defined benefit pension plans can deliver the same level of retirement income at nearly a 40% lower cost than a defined contribution 401(k)-type individual account, and that defined benefit savings come from three sources: superior investment returns, better management of longevity risk, and portfolio diversification. The study was based on the paper, "A Better Bang for the Buck: The Economic Efficiencies of Defined Benefit Pension Plans," co-authored by Flick Fornia and Beth Almeida and published by NIRS in 2008.
NIRS Press Release
Report: A Better Bang for New York City's Buck
PTA Active in Explaining GASB Implications
As President of Pension Trustee Advisors and Vice Chairman of the Conference of Consulting Actuaries (CCA) Steering Committee on Public Plans, Flick Fornia is active in consulting on the impact of the recent pension disclosure ruling by the Government Accounting Standards Board (GASB). Fornia testifies to GASB on October 21, 2011, on the CCA response to the proposals, and has been educating industry organizations on the GASB exposure draft and its implications. Fornia has developed webcast presentations to the National Council on Teacher Retirement (NCTR) and the National Institute on Retirement Security (NIRS) to shed light on pending changes
GASB Exposure Draft: Accounting and Financial Reporting for Pensions
PTA Response to GASB
CCA Response to GASB
NCTR Webcast presentation
NIRS Webcast presentation
Fornia Participates in NABL Task Force on DB Plan Disclosure
Flick Fornia was invited to join the National Association of Bond Lawyers (NABL) municipal market's Task Force on Defined Benefit Public Pension Plan Disclosure. Fornia participated in the Task Force's two meetings, May 2 and August 24, 2011, and will be participating again October 25 in Washington. The NABL Task Force focus has been on the Discussion Draft entitled "Considerations in Preparing Disclosure for Public Defined Benefit Pension Plan in Official Statements." As reported on the NABL Website, "...the Draft serves as guidance to counsel in addressing certain issues... includ[ing] the impact of annual contributions on current and future budgets of the issuer; any plans the issuer has adopted to address future payments; and any statutory provisions or positions of the executive or legislative branches regarding priorities of funding of debt service, contractual obligations, current payroll, and current pension payments."
NABL Website article
Conference of Consulting Actuaries
Fornia to Speak at the PPI 2011 Asian Pension Fund Roundtable
For the second year in a row, Flick Fornia was invited by the Pacific Pension Institute to
speak at the Asian Pension Fund Roundtable, most recently held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on November 10-11, 2011. The conference theme was Global Rebalancing: Investing When Change is Fundamental, with a "focus on factors of fundamental change and their implications for the global economy and institutional investors: 1) Demographics in Asian emerging markets; 2) Global economic and financial systems rebalancing; 3) Outlook and potential realignment of currency markets worldwide."
PPI Malasia conference info
PTA Leads Workshop for Fort Worth Employees Retirement Fund
PTA led Fort Worth City Council and Fort Worth Employees’ Retirement Fund in a three hour workshop at their Joint Pension Committee on October 18, 2011. PTA President Flick Fornia, working with consulting actuary Paul Schrader guided the Joint Pension Committee through a discussion of pension objectives in terms of benefit needs and financing needs. Fort Worth, like many cities and public pension funds, is under financial constraints and increased public scrutiny. PTA is assisting the City and Fund in working together to
establish common retirement objectives and metrics.”
A recent article on the meeting from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Fornia Paper Cited in Senate Testimony
Recent testimony before the US Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions frequently cited a paper co-authored by Flick Fornia and Beth Almeida . The Senate hearings on July 12, 2011, entitled "The Power of Pensions: Building a Strong Middle Class and Strong Economy" included expert witness Diane Oakley, Executive Director, National Institute on Retirement Security (NIRS). Ms. Oakley's testimony included several highlights of the paper,
"A Better Bang for the Buck: The Economic Efficiencies of Defined Benefit Pension Plans"
written by Almeida and Fornia and published by NIRS in 2008.
US Senate Committee Hearing July 12, 2011
Ms. Oakley's testimony
Press Release on NIRS Senate testimony
Fornia Presents at Fiduciary Responsibility Panel
Flick Fornia presented to a group of primarily attorneys at the American Conference Institute's National Summit on the Future of Fiduciary Responsibility at the Millennium UN Plaza in New York City on June 10, 2011. He was on a panel on "The State of the Public Pension System" with five pension trustees and attorneys. Fornia stressed the importance of pension plan sponsors contributing their actuarially calculated contributions in a consistent and diligent manner.
Future of Fiduciary Responsibility Summit
PTA Featured in Global Business Magazine
An article by Pension Trustee Advisors president Flick Fornia was published in the July 2011 issue of Global Business Magazine (GBM). The worldwide online and print magazine featured the piece entitled "The State of Public Pensions in the US."
Global Business Magazine article, July 2011
Norman Ruggles Named CEO of San Bernardino CERA
Norm Ruggles has been appointed Chief Executive Officer of the San Bernardino County Employees' Retirement Association, and will be leaving his position as vice president of trustee education at Pension Trustee Advisors. Ruggles takes the helm of the $5.5 billion, 32,000-member SBCERA after serving several important PTA clients including Alaska Public Pension Coalition, National Institute on Retirement Security / New York City Office of the Comptroller, Puerto Rico Employees Retirement System, and Atlanta Professional Fire Fighters. He has also been instrumental in the development of the PTA subscription trustee training video program, due to launch this summer.
"This is a tremendous opportunity for Norm and he will serve San Bernardino very well," said Flick Fornia, President of PTA. "I've appreciated the contributions Norm has made to Pension Trustee Advisors. We will miss him and wish him the best with his new responsibilities."
Ruggles' appointment was effective July 6.
Fornia Speaks at University of Wisconsin School of Business Pension Conference
Flick Fornia spoke at the University of Wisconsin School of Business conference “U.S. Retirement Savings: Looking for A Better Way” held in Madison on June 2, 2011. The presentation was on “Rethinking Pension Plan Design.”
The PTA presentation:
Rethinking Pension Design
More information about the conference:
Madison Pension Conference
CFA Society of Madison conference link
Fornia Co-authors Comments to Congress on PEPTA
The steering committee of the Conference of Consulting Actuaries’ Public Plans Community sent comments to Congress opposing the Public Employee Pension Transparency Act. Flick Fornia was one of the principal authors and leaders of the document that raised major concerns about the proposed legislation. These include:
- The PEPTA/MVL approach does not reflect the ongoing cost of the pension plan to taxpayers and employees but instead would only reflect a hypothetical market price
at which the accrued benefits might be sold.
- The PEPTA/MVL approach would not be useful for measuring the plan’s funded status.
- The PEPTA/MVL approach would not improve the transparency of plan reporting.
- The PEPTA/MVL approach focuses on a theoretical “value” of the benefits rather than on the actual cost to the taxpayers.
- PEPTA circumvents state and local government authority and undermines the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) in the setting of accounting and financial reporting standards for state and local governments.
- At a time when governments are under enormous fiscal pressure, PEPTA would require unnecessarily higher expenditures on the part of the federal, state, and local governments.
CCA PPC Comments to Congress
More on PEPTA:
NASRA House Judiciary Subcommittee Testimony
NCPERS House Ways & Means Subcommittee Testimony
Fornia Leads Workshop on Public Employee Retirement Systems at Enrolled Actuaries Meeting
With Larry Johansen from New Hampshire Retirement System, about 50 leading actuaries discussed the leading issues pertaining to public pensions at the annual Enrolled Actuaries Meeting in Washington DC in March.
The presentation (Session #806):
More on the Enrolled Actuaries Meeting:
The Enrolled Actuaries Meeting
For a controversial take on the conference from a watchdog.org reporter, see:
Actuaries Deal with Political Reality of Pension Questions
PTA Testifies Before Atlanta City Council
Flick Fornia testified at a hearing before the Atlanta City Council Finance Executive Committee on April 20, 2011. He addressed a proposal by the Atlanta Mayor to convert the pension plan from the current defined benefit plan to a defined contribution plan. On behalf of Atlanta firefighters, Fornia discussed the financial advantages to all parties of maintaining a defined benefit plan.
For a video of the hearing, see:
Atlanta City Council meeting April 20, 2011 (part 1)
-- from minute 35:00 to the end; resuming with the next video:
Atlanta City Council meeting April 20, 2011 (part 2)
-- from the beginning to minute 6:00, and again for Q&A from approximately 1:16:00 to 1:39:00.