Ken Sarni

The Nation’s Retirement System
Source: U.S. Government Accountability Office

The U.S. retirement system, and the workers and retirees it was designed to help, face major challenges. Traditional pensions have become much less common, and individuals are increasingly responsible for planning and managing their own retirement savings accounts, such as 401(k) plans. Yet research shows that many households are ill-equipped for this task and have little or no retirement savings. In this special report, GAO examines these challenges, drawing from prior work and others’ research, as well as insights from a panel of retirement experts on how to better ensure a secure and adequate retirement, with dignity, for all.

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Illinois Ponders Pension-Fund Moonshot: a $107 Billion Bond Sale
Source: Bloomberg Markets


Lawmakers in Illinois are so desperate to shore up the state’s massively underfunded retirement system that they’re willing to entertain an eye-popping wager: Borrowing $107 billion and letting it ride in the financial markets.

The legislature’s personnel and pensions committee plans to meet on Jan. 30 to hear more about a proposal advanced by the State Universities Annuitants Association, according to Representative Robert Martwick. The group wants Illinois to issue the bonds this year to get its retirement system nearly fully funded, assuming that the state can make more on its investments than it will pay in interest.

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Gordon Telfer to be Keynote Speaker at the 2018 IPPFA Illinois Pension Conference
Source: IPPFA


Gordon Telfer to be Keynote Speaker at the 2018 IPPFA Illinois Pension Conference.


Gordon Telfer

Senior Vice President,
Client Portfolio Manager

Gordon is a client portfolio manager for the U.S. equity group, focusing on global equities. In this role, he works with portfolio managers to develop and communicate information about each strategy’s investment team, process and performance to institutional, retail and defined contribution analysts and advisers.

Gordon began working in the financial industry in 1986. He joined Nuveen Asset Management in 2012 as a client portfolio manager representing the firm’s global equity strategies. Prior to joining the firm, he was a managing director and director of global equities for RBC Global Asset Management. In this role, Gordon was responsible for managing the large-, mid-, small- and micro-cap equity teams and providing investment solutions to U.S. and international clients. He was also a member of RBC’s Investment Strategy Committee, which formulated macro investment strategies, and worked closely with the firm’s CIO to evaluate and adopt investment best practices. In addition, Gordon served at RBC as a portfolio manager on the large- and mid-cap growth equity team.

Previously, he worked at Alliance Capital Management as a senior portfolio manager with its large-cap growth team and a member of the company’s investment policy group. Gordon was also a senior vice president and global strategist at Scudder Kemper Investments. He began his career in the financial industry at Murray Johnstone International in Glasgow, Scotland.

Gordon has spoken at numerous regional and national conferences on various portfolio management topics and has frequently appeared on business programs on CNBC. A native of Glasgow, he earned a Stock Exchange Diploma from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland.


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Welcome Swansea Fire Pension Fund to IPPFA
Source: IPPFA

Welcome Swansea Fire Pension Fund to IPPFA.


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New session will bring new efforts at pension reform
Source: The State Journal-Register

Illinois lawmakers are gearing up to start another spring session that will include more attempts to address an issue that has remained stubbornly elusive so far.

What can the state do to rein in the cost of public employee pensions and try to address the $129 billion debt faced by the five state-funded pension systems?

A number of ideas are floating around the General Assembly, from an idea to issue billions of dollars in bonds to pay off the existing debt at a lower interest rate, to an idea that would give some employees a cash incentive to accept smaller future increases in their retirement benefits after they retire.

As always, lawmakers will have to consider any changes with an eye to what the courts will find acceptable, given the pension protection clause in the state Constitution. There’s also the fact this is an election year when the Executive Mansion is at stake along with dozens of legislative races.

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National Retirement Risk Index Shows Modest Improvement in 2016
Source: CRR


The brief’s key findings are:

  • Between 2013 and 2016, the National Retirement Risk Index improved modestly, dropping from 52 percent to 50 percent of working-age households.
  • The improvement was driven mainly by rising home prices, with stock market gains also contributing.
  • At the same time, Social Security’s rising “Full Retirement Age” and declining interest rates served as a headwind against greater progress.
  • The bottom line is that retirement security remains a major challenge that requires today’s workers to save more and/or work longer.

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Golf Registration for the 2018 IPPFA Illinois Pension Conference is NOW Open
Source: IPPFA

2018 Golf Registration Form

Golf will be held at WeaverRidge Golf Club, Peoria, IL.

What is perhaps Illinois’ most spectacular Championship golf course is set in rolling hills and forested valleys, surrounded by the beautiful homes of WeaverRidge. This is a community unrivaled anywhere in Central Illinois, planned for gracious living and challenging golf for players of all ages and abilities.

Masterfully created by Hurdzan-Fry to balance nature with design, WeaverRidge features multiple bent grass tees and fairways, fast and true greens, challenging and dramatic elevations and excellent practice facilities for those wishing to improve their game or just get warmed up before the round.

2018 Golf sponsorship form



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2017 Fiscal Analysis of the Downstate Police & Fire Pension Funds in Illinois
Source: CGFA

CGFA has issued 2 similar reports on the Downstate Police and Fire Funds: the Fiscal Analysis of the
Downstate Police and Fire Pension Funds in Illinois (P.A. 95-0950), which was last produced in
January 2015, and the Report on the Financial Condition of the Downstate Police and Fire Pension
Funds (P.A. 96-1495), which was last produced in May of 2015.

This Financial Condition report provides a catalogue of summary data for every single Police and Fire
fund for the last ten Fiscal Years. This report is being submitted to fulfill the Commission’s
responsibilities under P.A. 95-0950. Upon examination of the individual fund data that we received
from the DOI, a determination was made that the inconsistencies in available actuarial data across
various funds, and, at times, within certain funds from year-to-year, made the type of individual fund
report that was published in January of 2015 virtually impossible. The Commission will continue to
examine actuarial data that we obtain from DOI, and if the quality of the data improves to a degree that
such an individual fund analysis becomes possible, we will revert back to the previous format in future


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3 Signs You’re Not Saving Enough for Retirement
Source: The Motley Fool


Nearly 40% of Americans are losing sleep at night worrying about saving for retirement. Perhaps not coincidentally, this is almost identical to the percentage of Americans who have nothing saved for their senior years .

Concerns about how you’ll survive as a senior are not unfounded. There’s a serious retirement crisis brewing, with median retirement-account balances throughout the U.S. valued at just $5,000, and studies showing we spend more time planning for vacations than for retirement. In fact, Americans may actually not be worried enough about retirement.

If you’re stashing away cash, you may be one of the millions of Americans who aren’t concerned because you think you’re covered — but are you really? To take stock of your retirement situation, consider three red flags that suggest you’re not saving enough.

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Canadian pension plans end 2017 nearly fully funded – Mercer
Source: P&I

Canadian public and corporate defined benefit plans were a median 97% funded as of Dec. 29, according to Mercer (Canada), up 4 percentage points from the end of 2016 but unchanged from three months ago.

Separately, Mercer’s pension health index, which tracks the typical Canadian defined benefit plan based on 100% funding as of Jan. 1, 1999, was 106% funded at the end of the fourth quarter, the same as the end of the previous quarter but also 4 percentage points higher than a year earlier, Mercer said in a news release.

Surging equity markets helped maintain overall funding in the fourth quarter. Partially mitigating equity gains were long-term interest rates that fell 30 basis points in the quarter.

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