Ken Sarni

Ken Sarni

Breakfast Seminar with the Irish Consulate of Chicago
Source: IPPFA

Brexit — Implications for Ireland

Breakfast Seminar with the Irish Consulate of Chicago:

Ireland is the EU country that stands to be most seriously affected by the UK’s exit from the EU. While fully committed to remaining an EU member, Ireland is determined to retain the strongest possible relationship with its nearest neighbor. How will Ireland protect its interests in the exit negotiations launched in March? What are the implications for trade and investment in Ireland? And how will the relationship, political and economic, with Northern Ireland be affected? Join Ireland’s Consul General to the Midwest, Brian O’Brien, and Vice-Consul Ragnar Almqvist to discuss what Ireland’s Taoiseach (Prime Minister) has described as ‘the greatest economic and social challenge’ his country has faced in the last half century.

Ireland’s Consul General to the Midwest, Brian O’Brien, along with IPPFA President James McNamee, have the pleasure of inviting you to a breakfast seminar titled “Brexit—Implications for Ireland.” This event will be held at the Union League Club of Chicago on Friday, April 7th from 8:30am to 10:30am.


Friday, April 7th, 2017 from 8:30-10:30am


The Union League Club of Chicago

65 W. Jackson Blvd.

Chicago, IL 60604

How do I R.S.V.P?

Contact Mayra Banuelos:

(630) 784-0406



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How Refinancing Debt Can Help Pensions
Source: Governing

North Carolina wants to use existing low rates to shore up retiree pensions and health-care debt.

In the low interest rate environment, states and localities have been saving billions by refinancing old debt. In most cases, the savings have benefited the general fund balance. But in North Carolina, State Treasurer Dale Folwell is making a push to instead use those savings to pay down pension and retiree health-care debt.

Starting this spring, Folwell plans to refinance “every dollar we possibly can.” He’ll ask the General Assembly to divert the savings to the treasurer’s office, where he’ll then divvy up the extra dollars: 15 percent goes into the pension fund and 85 percent goes toward retiree health-care debt, which has a larger unfunded liability.

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American Health Care Act
Source: Federal Government


Budget Reconciliation Legislative Recommendations Relating to Repeal and Replace of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

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Federal Legislative & Regulatory Wrap-up
Source: NASRA

Leading Issues:

• Tax Reform

• Dodd-Frank Repeal

• Regulatory Freeze

• “Two for One” Rule

• State-Run Plans for Private Employees

 Full Article


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Retiree Health Costs Seen as Unexpected Burden
Source: Bloomberg BNA

Retirement calculators focus on withdrawal rates and interest on investments but fail to identify one of the biggest costs of retirement—the cost of health care.

Retirees should be more concerned about how much money they have saved for health insurance premiums and out-of-pocket costs in retirement, an Employee Benefits Research Institute report said.

A couple with 90th percentile drug expenses could need up to $349,000 in savings in order to have a 90 percent chance of covering their retirement health care expenses, EBRI said.


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IPPFA Remembrance and Survivors Fund
Source: IPPFA

The IPPFA Remembrance & Survivors Fund was created in 2003 by its sister organization, The Illinois Public Fund Association (“IPPFA”), a statewide organization that provides assistance to over 525 of the 655 police and firefighter pension funds throughout Illinois.

The IPPFA Remembrance & Survivors Fund was established for the purpose of providing financial support to the families of Illinois police officers and firefighters killed in the line of duty. To date, we have provided financial assistance to the families of fourteen police officers and firefighters who died while serving and protecting the residents of this great state of Illinois.


IPPFA Members: End of Watch – Video

Donate Now

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Illinois Issues: The Great Pension Chasm
Source: NPR Illinois

Yet another proposal aims to get the state out of crisis.

A 1917 report conducted on the Illinois pension system revealed bad news. After a pension-focused trip around the globe, with studies on such nations as Great Britain, New Zealand, and Austro-Hungary, it got to crux of the matter:

“The general condition of the pensions operating under the laws of Illinois may be correctly described as one of insolvency. That is to say, viewed from the standpoint of sound finance and of having the necessary reserves to carry out the payment laws, there are immense deficiencies in the existing funds.”

Though the language would sooner be found in an episode of Downton Abbey, the reality for Gov. Bruce Rauner and the 100th General Assembly sounds much the same but is far worse now. Rauner has made pensions and other pro-business reforms so central to his administration, his critics say it’s at the expense of a state budget.


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Stuff you may not know about Illinois pensions
Source: Capital Fax

The general condition of the pensions operating under the laws of Illinois may be correctly described as one of insolvency. That is to say, viewed from the standpoint of sound finance and of having the necessary reserves to carry out the payment laws, there are immense deficiencies in the existing funds.”

Why does the state’s Constitution include such strict, locked-in language for pensions? At the 1970 Constitutional Convention, delegates were aware of a persistent problem in Illinois. Pension funds were suffering, and police and fire unions led a fight to protect their benefits. In the 1930s, when New York state was faced with the same problem, it established a new clause that made sure New York was stuck with the benefits it had promised. Under the threat, the state got its act together and shored up pension payments.

Illinois delegates took the language from New York with the hope that if it worked there it could work anywhere.


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Is the Dallas Police and Fire Pension typical of Texas plans?
Source: Market Watch

In the wake of the flap about the Dallas Police and Fire Pension System, many have questioned whether other Texas plans face similar problems. My sense is that the Dallas situation is extraordinary and not likely to be repeated elsewhere.

The Dallas Police and Fire Pension System story is one of wild investments – Dallas had nearly 70% of its assets in alternatives and real estate compared to an average of 22% for our sample of 160 state and local plans — and those investments produced very large losses. At the same time, Dallas has a very large and generous Deferred Retirement Option Program (DROP). (A DROP is an arrangement under which employees entitled to retire continue working and have their monthly benefit deposited in a notional DROP account where it earns interest and can be taken out as a lump sum.)

The DROP balances accounted for 55% of plan assets in January 2016, meaning that more than half of plan assets were available for immediate withdrawal, which seriously exacerbated the plan’s financial problems.


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Funding Public Pensions – Is full pension funding a misguided goal?
Source: haas institute

Across the nation, public pensions are in crisis, and have been so for a long time. Funding pension costs is a political issue in cities, counties, and states from California, to Illinois, to Rhode Island. The rising expense of public employee pensions has become a political hot button justifying cuts to education and other necessary government investments, causing acrimonious debate, court cases, protest marches, and more. All the recent incidents of municipal bankruptcies have been blamed, at least in part, on pension obligations. Most famously, this was the case in Detroit, Michigan, but has also been true in the cities of Stockton and Vallejo in California, Prichard, Alabama, and Central Falls, Rhode Island.

The city of Chicago is currently feeling some of the warning tremors. According to its own estimates, the city’s various pension funds have only half the funds in hand needed to pay its pensions. This leaves a $28.6 billion difference between the assets and the present value of the debt to all the current and future retirees in the system. This difference, known as the “unfunded liability,” was cited as the primary reason that Moody’s, the bond-rating firm, downgraded Chicago’s bond rating to “junk” status in May of 2015

The other common measure of a pension system’s health is the ratio between the assets and the future liabilities, known as the “funding ratio.” Chicago’s funding ratio hovers around 50 percent, but the condition of the pension funds managed by the state of Illinois is even worse, showing a 39 percent funding ratio, with $111 billion worth of unfunded liability


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