Please don't post your comments more than once. I moderate all comments and a delay between posting and appearing is part of the drill here. I get to all comments in due time. Please don't continually repost the same comment. Only one will be posted. Thank you.
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
As I've noted before, PERS has been salting away reserves since 2003 and was about 112% funded at the end of last year. Of course, the current downturn (uptick?) on the stock market, the collapse of the subprime mortgage market, the scandals involving credit swap derivatives, etc, will almost assuredly have a negative effect on the PERS Fund. This has led to some testy debate between the two candidates running for the State Treasurer's office. I haven't decided who to support, although the more I hear from each candidate, the less impressed I am with them. They both know that the PERS Fund is the largest chunk of cash the state manages. And the State Treasurer is responsible for managing those funds. You get your choice between Ben Westlund, a Republican in 2003, an independent in 2005, and a Democrat now, and Allen Alley, a Republican to the core, who worked as an economic adviser to Ted Kulongoski during his first term. Kulongoski has endorsed Westlund. This *should* be a difficult choice for PERS members/retirees. I encourage you all to study their positions carefully and take the opportunity to ask them questions if you meet them. It may help you decide.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Time will tell whether the OIC's decisions bear fruit, but the OIC's track record is certainly admirable up to this point. I don't think this year is going to be good for any accounts without a guarantee, and those with a guarantee will chew up enough of the reserve that the PERS Board will have a ready-made excuse to not pay anyone over the guarantee for another long stretch of time. I think they were considering a possible payment over 8% in this current year had Wall Street performed like it had since 2003. But alas, the sticky terms of HB 2001, passed in 2003 make this year's result dial the clock back again to the beginning so that PERS will have to replenish the reserves again when the market goes up, and hold the reserves stable for 3 consecutive years. As I've predicted before, HB 2001 has always been diabolical and pretty much guarantees nothing more than the guaranteed rate, whatever it is, for the rest of the Tier 1 members' life expectancies. Time conquers all.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Unbelievably PERS is arguing how difficult it would be to undo the changes already implemented. Kantor is expressing disbelief at PERS argument. Malkin is arguing that they just don't have the money or staff and claiming it would take more than a year. The poverty argument is heart-tugging. Did you know that no PERS retiree has suffered.
Kantor just chewed out Malkin for submitting proposed orders in an inappropriate format.
Coon is up. Kantor is questioning where the money would come from?
Kantor ultimately rules in favor of the stay on the grounds that the are too many balls in the air and too much going on to bind PERS to refunding money now.
[Posted with iBlogger from my iPhone]
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Monday, September 08, 2008
P.S. Ley Garnett responded with a very helpful, if concerning answer. The total amount of the PERS portfolio invested in Fannie/Freddie is about $2.7 billion, mostly all in fixed income portfolios. As of the close of business today, that represents about 4% of the fund. I guess the question of the day should be, should we be worried?