Fund Manager: Pensions MUCH WORSE SHAPE Than Reported and NOW THIS

Thursday, September 7, 2017
By Paul Martin

SilverDoctors.com
September 7, 2017

The pension runs have begun. First there was Dallas, and now there is Kentucky, and it is about to get much worse from here, and if that wasn’t enough – get ready for the bank runs. Dave Kranzler details just how bad it is about to get…

by Dave Kranzler of Investment Research Dynamics

“There are folks that are saying you know what, I don’t care, I’m going to lock in my retirement now and get out while I can and fight it as a retiree if they go and change the retiree benefits,” he said. – Executive Director for the Kentucky Association of State Employees, Proposed Pension Changes Bring Fears Of State Worker Exodus

The public awareness of the degree to which State pension funds are underfunded has risen considerably over the past year. It’s a problem that’s easy to hide as long as the economy is growing and State tax receipts grow. It’s a catastrophe when the economic conditions deteriorate and tax revenue flattens or declines, as is occurring now.

The quote above references a report of a 20% jump in Kentucky State worker retirements in August after it was reported that a consulting group recommended that the State restructure its State pension system. I personally know a teacher who left her job in order to cash completely out of her State employee pension account in Colorado (Colorado PERA). She knows the truth.

But the problem with under-funding is significantly worse than reported. Pensions are run like Ponzi schemes. As long as the amount of cash coming in to the fund is equal to or exceeds beneficiary payouts, the scheme can continue. But for years, due to poor investment decisions and Fed monetary policies, beneficiary payouts have been swamping investment returns and fund contributions.

Pension funds have notoriously over-marked their illiquid risky investments and understated their projected actuarial investment returns in order to hide the degree to which they are over-funded. Most funds currently assume 7% to 8% future rates of return. Unfortunately, the ability to generate returns like that have been impossible with interest rates near zero.

In the quest to compensate for low fixed income returns, pension funds have plowed money into stocks, private equity funds and illiquid and very risky investments, like subprime auto loan securities and commercial real estate. Some pension funds have as much as 20% of their assets in private equity. When the stock market inevitably cracks, it will wipe pensions out.

As an example of pensions over-estimating their future return calculations, the State of Minnesota adjusted the net present value of its future liabilities from 8% down to 4.6% (note: this is the same as lowering its projected ROR from 8% to 4.6%). The rate of under-funding went from 20% to 47%.

I can guarantee you with my life that if an independent auditor spent the time required to implement a bona fide market value mark-to-market on that fund’s illiquid assets, the amount of under-funding would likely jump up to at least 70%. “Bona fide mark-to-market” means, “at what price will you buy this from me now with cash upfront?”

The Rest…HERE

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