News



 

Fornia Co-Authors University of California Report

 

William B. (Flick) Fornia, President of Pension Trustee Advisors (PTA), and Nari Rhee, Ph.D., Manager of the Retirement Security Program at the UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education, authored the UC Berkeley report "Are California Teachers Better off with a Pension or a 401(k)?" The report focuses on California teachers working today and how they are better off with their Defined Benefit pension with CalSTRS.

 

For more information:

Article: Are California teachers better off with a pension or a 401(k)?

Final Report PDF




Fornia Speaks at NSAA Conference

 

William B. (Flick) Fornia, President of Pension Trustee Advisors (PTA), spoke at the National State Auditors Association (NSAA) 2016 Annual Conference. The NSAA annual conference, held each June, is the association's premiere event. It is designed to provide maximum opportunities for state auditors to network with each other and hear industry leaders speak on current and emerging issues. Fornia's presentation was entitled "An Auditor's Approach to Pension Plans: How to Identify What's Most Important."

 

For more information:

An Auditor's Approach to Pension Plans: How to Identify What's Most Important

NSAA 2016 Conference

NSAA 2016 Conference Agenda



 

Expert Testimony by PTA President in Cranston and Providence Retirees Pension Cut

 

PTA president William B. (Flick) Fornia served as an expert witness in the Rhode Island Superior Court trials pertaining to Cranston and Providence ordinances that suspended annual cost-of-living-increases for decades for retired police and firefighters. Among other findings, PTA and Fornia determined that the cuts in pensions resulted in a material reduction in benefit values to the retirees. A decision is expected in mid-2016.

 

For more information:

Article: Cranston mayor, finance director take stand in retirees pension lawsuit

Article: Group of retired Providence police and firefighters back in court to protest 2013 pension deal




PTA Serves as Consultant for KTRS Funding Work Group

 

Pension Trustee Advisors (PTA), and its president William B. (Flick) Fornia served as the consultant for the Kentucky Teachers' Retirement System (KTRS) Funding Work Group appointed by Governor Beshear in 2015. The workgroup completed its analysis, enabling the legislature to incorporate solutions to the KTRS funding shortfall in the 2016 session.

 

For more information:

Article: Broad Range of Ideas to Fix State Pension

Final Report PDF



 

PTA Sponsored Zonta of Denver's Day of Film 2015, 2016

 

Pension Trustee Advisors is proud to again have sponsored the Zonta Club of Denver's Annual Day of Film on March 5, 2016. Zonta is a worldwide service organization of executives in business and the professions working together to advance the status of women. This year's Day of Film feature "The Hunting Ground," described by The New York Times as "an unblinking look at sexual assaults on campus."

 

For more information:

Zonta of Denver's Day of Film 2016



 

Fornia Speaks at ABA Conference on Employee Benefits

 

William Fornia, president of PTA, was invited by the American Bar Association to speak at the 2015 Invitational Conference on the Evolution of Employee Benefits sponsored by the Joint Committee on Employee Benefits (JCEB) in Baltimore, MD, on March 26, 2015. Fornia's topic was the economic efficiencies of defined benefit plans. The conference addressed key legal and policy issues related to employee pensions.

 

For more information:

http://www.americanbar.org/jceb

Conference agenda PDF




Still a Better Bang for the Buck: An Update on the Economic Efficiencies of Defined Benefit Pensions

 

An update on one of the most quoted pension research studies, A Better Bang for the Buck, co-authored by William (Flick) Fornia, president of PTA, has been released by the National Institute on Retirement Security (NIRS). Defined benefit pensions still remain economically efficient, and the report covers the three key features of DB plans that enable them to deliver competitive retirement income at lower costs than defined contribution plans.

 

For more information:

Still a Better Bang for the Buck: Update on the Economic Efficiencies of Pensions

NIRS Press Release: Pensions Can Provide Retirement Income at Half the Cost of Individual Accounts

Further information from NIRS Research



 

Expert Testimony by PTA President in Detroit Bankruptcy Trial

 

PTA president William Fornia served as an expert witness in the recent bankruptcy trial for the city of Detroit, Michigan. Complex pension calculations were a key issue in the proceedings, and Fornia provided U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes with in-depth information about actuarial assumptions related to the underfunding of Detroit's pension systems.

 

For more information:

Deal at hand with last big creditor in Detroit bankruptcy, Detroit Free Press, October 14, 2014



 

PTA cited in New York Times article "Ideas to Make Retirement Possible"

 

William Fornia was approached by the New York Times to discuss challenges of retiring under a 401(k) style savings program. Based on research from his 2008 paper A Better Bang for the Buck, he discussed the challenges of longer than average life expectancies.

 

For more information:

Ideas to Make Retirement Possible, by Floyd Norris, New York Times, February 6, 2014



 

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.





 

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.

 





 

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.


More information:
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.


More information:
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.


More information:
NIRS Press Release
Report: A Better Bang for New York City's Buck
Almeida/Fornia Paper




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


More information:
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."


More information:
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."


More information:
PPI Malasia conference info
PPI Website




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.”


More information:
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.


More information:
US Senate Committee Hearing July 12, 2011
Ms. Oakley's testimony
Press Release on NIRS Senate testimony
Almeida/Fornia Paper





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.


More information:
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

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:

  1. 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.
  2. The PEPTA/MVL approach would not be useful for measuring the plan’s funded status.
  3. The PEPTA/MVL approach would not improve the transparency of plan reporting.
  4. The PEPTA/MVL approach focuses on a theoretical “value” of the benefits rather than on the actual cost to the taxpayers.
  5. 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.
  6. 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):

PERS Workshop

 

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.