Public Sector Pensions

Universities’ main pension pot faces the biggest deficit of any British fund - A N Other, The Economist, 04/08/2017
“USS has been complacent at best and arrogant at worst” JER

University finances face £17.5bn pensions squeeze - A N Other, BBC Website, 29/07/2017
"The root cause is the USS trustees going down to the casino and betting the money that they had been given by universities on the stock market" JER

Time to reveal real costs of public sector pensions - John Ralfe, The Times Comment, 10/07/2017
The government fiddles public sector pension costs, understating them by a whopping £15 billion a year.

"We should all vote for MPs' pensions to be reformed" - John Ralfe, Financial Times FT Money, 20/05/2017
“Losing their defined benefit pension scheme would put politicians on a par with constituents”
See FT website (paywall)


UK public sector pension costs understated by £15bn a year - John Ralfe, Financial Times FTfm, 06/02/2017
See FT website (paywall)

Let doctors, and others, opt out of pension in exchange for higher pay - John Ralfe, Financial Times Letters, 19/01/2016
How to introduce 'freedom & choice' into public sector pensions
See FT website (paywall)


MPs’ official pension liabilities are pure Alice in Wonderland - John Ralfe, Financial Times FTfm, 20/07/2015
A proper public debate on MPs’ pay & pensions can happen only if the government is accurate and transparent about pension costs.
See FT website (paywall)


Letter to David Cameron - Peter Tompkins & John Ralfe, Letter to David Cameron, 26/06/2015
Letter explaining how Mr Cameron can ensure MPs do not receive the final salary pension bonus, without needing to persuade IPSA to change its decision.

Public servants still promised more than the government can afford - John Ralfe, Financial Times Opinion, 08/04/2015
"The coalition government has fudged reforming public sector pensions"
See FT website (paywall)


Local Government UK pension schemes waste millions on high fees - Madison Marraige & Chris Newlands, Financial Times, 31/03/2015
“It is all part of the LGPS being dysfunctional” JER comment

Getting government borrowings off-balance sheet - John Ralfe, Financial Times letters, 05/02/2015
"Is the plan for local councils to issue municipal bonds directly to investors just another expensive way for the government to get borrowings off balance sheet?"
See FT


Deficit of UK regional pensions questioned (LGPS) - Chris Flood, Financial Times FTfm, 23/06/2014
John Ralfe claimed the LGPS’s funding deficit was close to £100bn in 2013, rather than the official £47bn.

US public finance: Day of reckoning - Neil Munshi & Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 30/12/2013
Chicago is tackling the worst pension crisis in the US. But methods that got it into its bind are still used across America.

MPs – more pay, less pension, same perks - John Ralfe, Times letters, 10/12/2013
Is it pension smoke-and-mirrors at IPSA?

’Actuaries’ magic pencil’ hides UK university pension deficit - John Ralfe, Financial Times FTfm, 28/10/2013
“To make good A £10.5bn deficit, universities would have to pay £600m a year, increased in line with inflation, for 20 years”
See FT website (paywall)
plus response 1 , response 2 & response 3


University pensions black hole 'even worse than thought' - Andy Verity, BBC News, 25/10/2013
"There is a whole degree of denial. USS is in denial about its real financial situation. Universities are in denial." JER

Rule setters and enforcers largely to blame in Detroit - W Paul McCrossan, Financial Times Letters, 01/08/2013
Lax legislation combined with lax professional and prudential standards create the environment in which unaffordable promises can long be made and maintained for years.

San Jose and unions set for court battle over pensions - Jim Christie, Reuters, 22/07/2013
San Jose's pension reform does not reduce benefits already earned by employees, but would require them to either pay higher contributions to maintain current benefits or receive lower benefits.

MPs prefer to reject pay rise and keep generous pensions - John Ralfe, Financial Times Letters, 13/07/2013
How much is an MP’s total pay and pension worth today and under Ipsa’s recommendations?
See FT website (paywall)


Public sector pension liabilities don’t merit even a footnote - John Ralfe, Financial Times, 23/04/2013
Public sector pensions – as contractual and legally binding obligations of the UK government – are debt, just like gilts, and should be properly included in the official public finance statistics.
See FT website (paywall)


Creditors fight Stockton bankruptcy claim - April Dembosky , Financial Times, 27/03/2013
Wall Street creditors are trying to stop Stockton from seeking municipal bankruptcy protection, arguing that the city wants to restructure debts “on the backs of bondholders” rather than trying to reduce its massive pension obligations.

Illinois Is Accused of Fraud by S.E.C. - Mary Williams Walsh, New York Times, 11/03/2013
For the second time in history, federal regulators have accused an American state of securities fraud, finding that Illinois misled investors about the condition of its public pension system from 2005 to 2009.
See "Pension problems: How did Illinois get here?" December 2012


Pension woes weigh on Illinois budget - Neil Munshi , Financial Times, 07/03/2013
“Without pension reform, within two years, Illinois will be spending more on public pensions than on education,” the Governor said.

Bad Month: Pensions Policy Institute - Pensions Insight, Pensions Insight, 03/01/2013
The think-tank came under fire for its analysis of public sector pension costs

Pension Problems: How Did Illinois Get Here? - Alex Keefe, Northern Public Radio, 19/12/2012
Lawmakers head back to Springfield in early January to try to tackle the state’s massive pension crisis. Illinois’ retirement systems have unfunded liabilities of at least $95 billion– and counting.

Letter to PPI from 29 economists & pension experts - John Ralfe + 28 others, JER Website, 30/11/2012
"As economists and pension experts from the UK, US, The Netherlands and Australia, we are writing to you about the recent PPI Report on public sector pensions".
See FTfm article


Submission on Public Service Pensions Bill - John Ralfe, Public Bill Committee Website, 21/11/2012
In making changes to public sector pensions it is crucial that the real annual economic costs of the pension promises are used. I believe that the official annual costs, calculated by the Government Actuary’s Department, and quoted by the government, are materially understated.

“Reforms to greatly reduce value of public pensions” - Niki Cleal, Financial Times FTfm, 19/11/2012
The PPI agrees with the government’s approach and has used the same discount rate in the research that the government uses to set employer contributions - CPI + 3 %.
See FT website (paywall)
See JER FTfm article "Understated costs a poor legacy"


PBGC’s Joshua Gotbaum Wants to Put His Own Agency Out of Business - Frances Denmark, Institutional Investor, 19/11/2012
As head of what is fast becoming the defined benefit pension provider of last resort, Joshua Gotbaum has joined the ranks of industry leaders out to remake the U.S. retirement system.

Another coalition conjuring trick - John Ralfe, Financial Times Letters, 17/11/2012
Rather than taxpayers taking on a £9bn deficit, we appear to be making a £28.5bn windfall – a conjuring trick on a breathtaking scale!
See Robert Peston's blog "Royal Mail and HMG's creative accounting" May 2009


Letter 2 to the PPI on its report on public sector pensions - John Ralfe, JER Website, 16/11/2012
Response to the PPI's letter
See PPI's letter to JER November 7th 2012
See PPI's response to Treasury Consultation on public sector pension discount rate Macrh 2011
See JER letter 1 to PPI November 5th 2012


Understated pensions costs a poor legacy - John Ralfe, Financial Times FTfm, 12/11/2012
The real cost of public sector pensions has not been properly addressed by the coalition government (pdf)
See FT website (paywall)
See PPI response in FTfm "Reforms to greatly reduce value of public pensions”


PPI response to JER's letter - Niki Cleal, JER Website, 07/11/2012
PPI is not prepared to revise its Report, despite JER's criticisms

PPI response to JER's letter 2 - PPI, JER Website, 07/11/2012
Copy of PPI's response to the Treasury's consultation on public sector pension discount rate March 2011

Letter to the PPI on its report on public sector pensions - John Ralfe, JER Website, 05/11/2012
The Pensions Policy Institute's Report is seriously flawed and understates the cost of ther new public sector pension terms and understates the gap with private sector pensions.

Court Tells San Francisco Pension System to Change its Strategy - Leonna Orr, CIO website, 20/08/2012
A civil grand jury in San Francisco has told the city’s employee pension system to change its investment strategy, assumed rate of return, and transparency policies.

OBR projections tell different story on public pensions - Neil Walsh, Financial Times, 17/08/2012
John Ralfe (Letters, August 14) would do well to read the Office for Budget Responsibility’s latest fiscal sustainability report, published last month.
See FT website (paywall)
JER comment. The OBR makes the same "category mistake" as HMT, treating public sector pension payments as a "flow", like old age pensions, rather than repaying a "stock" of liabilities, like gilts. It doesn't look at the annual cost of new pension promises when they are given, but rather the percentage of GDP when the pensions are paid.


Public sector pensions make mockery of Whirehall savings - John Ralfe, Financial Times Letters, 14/08/2012
Sadly, the coalition government continues to understate the real annual cost to taxpayers of new public sector pension promises; it also refuses to recognise that the accumulated £1tn public sector pension liabilities are debt, and to include this anywhere in official government accounts.
See FT website (paywall)


How the GASB's New Pension Standards Could Make Things Worse - Josh Rudolf and Jonathan Richter, Huffington Post, 07/08/2012
When our pension time bomb explodes, those in charge of our safety will be in their bunker, local governments can claim that they followed their accounting rules, taxpayers will be stuck with a trillion-dollar bailout, and there will be blood.

Legal constraints on changes in (US) State and Local pensions - Alicia H. Munnell & Laura Quinby, Centre for Retirement Research, Boston College, 07/08/2012
Many states face legal constraints on their ability to change future accruals for existing employees.

Fiscal sustainability report 2012: launch presentation - Robert Choate, OBR Website, 12/07/2012
Launch of the OBR's second Fiscal sustainability report, the annual publication looking at the health of the public sector balance sheet and the long©\term sustainability of the public finances.
See OBR website for full report


Fiscal sustainability report 2012: launch presentation Slides - OBR, OBR Website, 12/07/2012

Pensions row set to dominate at BMA doctors' conference - Nick Trigge, BBC News, 25/06/2012
Doctors are set to discuss what to do next in their dispute over pensions as they gather for their four-day annual conference.

Doctors are being asked to take relatively mild medicine - Charles Cowling, Financial Times Letters, 21/06/2012
Doctors don’t understand how lucky they are
See FT website (paywall)


BMA: 'Inherent unfairness' in doctor pensions - John Humprys interview, BBC Radio 4 Today Programme interview, 21/06/2012
John Ralfe says doctors are not getting a raw deal. He told the Today programme that hospital consultants will be worse off under the new pension scheme, but only because the "current pension is so very generous".

The Real Cost of Public Pensions - Jason Richwine, The Heritage Foundation, 31/05/2012
This paper discusses how to properly calculate the cost of public defined-benefit pension benefits, compares the cost of these benefits to private-sector retirement plans, and refutes two of the most common arguments that public pension benefits are somehow modest.

US public pension funds take on more risk - Dan McCrum, Financial Times, 29/05/2012
US public pension funds have used loose regulation to camouflage their liabilities and take on risks as they have matured, according to a new study by academics from Yale and Maastricht universities.

“Hospital doctors need to do their sums before revolting over pension changes - John Ralfe, Financial Times Letters, 18/05/2012
Sir, Christoph Lees’ letter on your report that the BMA is balloting for industrial action on pensions, suggests a misunderstanding of the impact on long-serving hospital doctors of the increase in retirement age from 60 to 67. (PDF)
See FT website (paywall)
See Channnel 4 FactCheck January 2012


"Doctors’ grievance over pensions is all about fairness" - Dr Christoph Lees , Financial Times Letters, 15/05/2012
The doctors’ pension grievance isn’t simply about contributions, which inexplicably are projected to be almost double those of senior civil servants

Doctors to vote on pensions action - Brian Groom, Financial Times, 14/05/2012
More than 100,000 National Health Service doctors begin voting on Monday on taking industrial action for the first time since 1975, over changes to pensions.
See Channnel 4 FactCheck January 2012


The Funding of State and Local Pensions: 2011-2015 - By Alicia H. Munnell, Jean-Pierre Aubry, Josh Hurwitz, Madeline Medenica, and Laura Quinby, Centre for Retirement Research, Boston College, 08/05/2012
This brief provides an update on the funded status of state and local plans in 2011 and also reports projections for the period 2012-2015.

Book-cooking guide - The Economist, The Economist, 07/03/2012
The public sector has too much freedom to dress up the accounts

Are police pensions unaffordable? - Patrick Worrall & Cathy Newman, Channel 4 News FactCheck, 01/03/2012
The right-of-centre think-tank Policy Exchange weighed in to the ongoing row over public sector pensions this week. This time it was the police pension scheme that came under scrutiny.

Govt’s pension tax could hit public sector workers - Kiran Stacey, Financial Times Westminster blog, 15/02/2012
I wrote about the possibility of lowering the cap for how much workers can put into their pension pots & still get tax relief.

(IFS) Report sceptical over pension savings - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 01/02/2012
Government proposals on pensions for public sector workers are unlikely to save much money over the long term.
The IFS repeats JER;s analysis from January. See Robert Peston's blog


Maude got his pension sums wrong, says IFS - Phillip Inman, Guardian blog, 31/01/2012
The paymaster-general went to war with the unions to defend reforms that will generate little or no gain for the exchequer.
The IFS repeats JER;s analysis from January. See Robert Peston's blog


Who really stands to lose out under NHS pension changes? - Patrick Worrall & Cathy Newman, Channel 4 News Factcheck, 24/01/2012
Includes clip with JER
See JER FT letter “Hospital doctors need to do their sums before revolting over pension changes" May 2012


Doctors reject pension reform - Brian Groom & Sarah Neville, Financial Times, 20/01/2012
Two/thirds of Doctors said they would be prepared to take industrial action, complicating ministers’ efforts to reach a deal over reform.
See JER FT letter “Hospital doctors need to do their sums before revolting over pension changes" May 2012


MPs’ pension plan faces $1 billion shortfall, report finds - Kenyon Wallace, Toronto Star, 19/01/2012
Discussion of Canadian MPs’ pensions

Judge lets bankrupt US town slash pensions - Nicole Bullock, Financial Times, 10/01/2012
A federal bankruptcy court has approved an agreement that will allow Central Falls, a bankrupt city in Rhode Island, to slash police and fire pensions while paying its bondholders in full.

Has the Government given up on pensions? - Jim Moore, Independent, 06/01/2012
John Ralfe tweaked the Government’s nose on the effect of its planned reforms to public sector pensions.

'Striking' revelations on pension reform - Justin Webb interviews Robert Peston, BBC Radio 4 Today Programme, 05/01/2012
Independent research by John Ralfe suggests the increase in retirement age from 60 to 67 for public sector workers might not save much because the benefits eventually available are more valuable than they are now.
See Nick Timmins FT article "UK backs down over public sector pensions" October 2005


Pension age increase sees ’no saving’ - BBC News, BBC website, 05/01/2012
The government will make no savings by raising the public sector pension age to 67, a pensions consultant has said.

Robert Peston's peculiar pensions story - Nigel Stanley, Touchstone blog (TUC), 05/01/2012
It may be a quiet news day today, but that does not explain Robert Peston’s curious report, first on the Today programme and now on his blog, on public sector pensions. This claims – based on the work of John Ralfe:

Today's bad science on pensions - Jon Rogers, Jon Rogers blog (Unison), 05/01/2012
It is difficult to get to grips with the report on the Today Programme that increases in the pension age in the three "pay as you go" public service pension schemes will not produce long term savings since the BBC don't go far into the detail of the assumptions on which this claim is based. This is not helped by the fact that Mr Ralfe's website provides no further details (at least not yet).

Civil service pensions ’still gold plated’ - Robert Peston, Peston Blog, 04/01/2012
Analysis by John Ralfe shows the improvements in the benefits given to public sector workers at the higher retirement age offset the reduction in costs the higher retirement age

Threat of more pension strikes recedes - Brian Groom, Financial Times, 21/12/2011
It looks like the beginning of the end of the dispute over public sector pensions.
See Nick Timmins FT article "UK backs down over public sector pensions" October 2005


Whole of Government Accounts 2010 - HMT, HMT website, 29/11/2011
Consolidated accounts showing the whole public sector, including pensions

Ministers urge Unison to rethink strike - Brian Groom, Elizabeth Rigby and Jim Pickard, Financial Times, 04/11/2011
Ministers and employers pleaded with Britain’s largest public sector union to “think again” after a vote for strikes over pension changes.

The revised offer on public sector pensions in a nutshell - Jim Pickard, Financial Times Westminster blog, 02/11/2011

Royal Mail pension exposure questioned - Pauline Skypala & Sara Silver, FTfm, 29/08/2011
The equity exposure of the £27.7bn ($45.3bn) Royal Mail Pension Plan is significantly higher than it appears from the group’s report and accounts.

Accounting change to show extra public debt - Adam Jones & Chris Giles, Financial Times, 11/07/2011
Hundreds of billions of pounds of additional debt will appear on the government’s books on Wednesday when the Treasury publishes accounts drawn up on the same basis as those of companies.

Are public sector pensions unfair? - Mary Bousted & John Ralfe, BBC Radio 4 Today Programme interview, 02/07/2011
Dr Mary Bousted, General Secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers & John Ralfe, discuss public sector pensions.

Has NUT union misled members over pension reforms? - Jim Pickard, Financial Times Westminster blog, 30/06/2011
John Ralfe, an independent pensions expert, is convinced that the National Union of Teachers has misled members in a fact sheet it gave them ahead of today’s strike.

Setting an example to sullen Whitehall - Sue Cameron, Financial Times, 29/06/2011
Whitehall is said to be in “sullen” mood on the eve of strikes over coalition plans to scale back public sector pensions.

Hutton calls for rethink on pension changes - Nick Timmins, Financial Times, 24/06/2011
The coalition must think again about plans to impose a 3 percentage point increase in pension contributions.
See Nick Timmins FT article "UK backs down over public sector pensions" October 2005


Potential Federal Roles in Dealing with State and Local Pension Problems - Douglas J. Elliott, The Brookings Institution, 12/05/2011
The aggregate state pension deficit ranges from $0.7trn to $2.5trn or more, depending on how one calculates the value in today’s dollars of future pension payments.

Golden lessons - Sue Cameron, Financial Times (Scroll down), 11/05/2011
Fat cattery is increasing, especially in public sector pensions.

Hearing on the Transparency and Funding of State and Local Pensions - Jeremy Gold, US House of Representatives website, 05/05/2011
Statement before the US House of Representatives

Is the Treasury understating pension liabilities? - Robert Peston, Robert Peston blog, 03/05/2011
Belatedly, I've got round to looking at the Treasury's recent decision to change how it calculates the necessary contributions that have to be made to cover the future costs of unfunded public service pensions.
See Letter to George Osborne from JER & 22 other pension experts


Bean counters ignored over discount rates - Pauline Skypala, FTfm, 02/05/2011
Here is an advance warning: this column is about discount rates, specifically the appropriate discount rate for UK unfunded public sector pension schemes.
See Letter sent to George Osborne from JER & 22 other pension experts


Teachers' pensions 'a real betrayal' - Russell Hobby & John Ralfe, BBC Radio 4 Today Programme interview, 30/04/2011
John Ralfe & Russell Hobby, of the National Association of Head Teachers, debate if current public sector pensions are sustainable.

Rethink urged on future pension bill - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 27/04/2011
The cost of public sector pension promises is to be calculated using a method that significantly understates the cost, according to a group of pendion experts
See Letter sent to George Osborne from JER & 22 other pension experts


Letter sent to UK Chancellor George Osborne - John Ralfe and 22 others, Letter, 26/04/2011
Letter to George Osborne asking him to re-consider his decision on the discount rate for public sector pensions

Risks in public sector pensions - David Blake, Financial Times Letters, 21/03/2011
Public sector pensions are equivalent to index-linked longevity bonds.

The correct public sector pension discount rate - John Ralfe, FTfm, 14/03/2011
Public sector pensions are not discretionary government spending, like health or education, but deferred pay earned under a legally binding contract of employment, equivalent to giving ILGs to be redeemed at retirement. (PDF)
See FT website (paywall)
See Letter sent to George Osborne from JER & 22 other pension experts


Public sector pensions must be reformed - Lord Hutton, Financial Times, 11/03/2011
Following my independent commission’s nine-month review of public service pensions in Britain, one thing is clear – current public service pension provision is clearly not sustainable or affordable in the long-term.
See Nick Timmins FT article "UK backs down over public sector pensions" October 2005


Time to get real about pensions - Ruth Sunderland, Daily Mail, 11/03/2011
Encouraging people to work for longer is good for individuals and for the economy. Besides, in the public or the private sector, there is no alternative.

Lord Hutton's Final Report Press Release - HMT, HMT website, 10/03/2011
Lord Hutton of Furness today sets out his proposals for comprehensive, long-term structural reform of public service pension schemes.

Public-sector pensions lose platinum coat - Robert Peston, Peston blog, 10/03/2011
Public-sector workers would be left with a pension scheme worth around 15% of typical salaries. Which would still make many in the private sector feel just a bit envious.

Final Hutton Report - Lord Hutton, Website, 10/03/2011
Final Report on reforming public sector pensions
See Nick Timmins FT article "UK backs down over public sector pensions" October 2005


Can (US) State and Local Pensions muddle through? - Alicia Munnell et al, CRR, Boston College, 01/03/2011
Analysis of US State and Local pensions

Public sector pension benefits face one-third cut - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 14/02/2011
Some 5m current and former public sector workers could see their retirement benefits cut by one-third following changes to the way pensions take account of inflation, an official assessment shows.

Discounting State and Local Pension Liabilities - Jeffrey R. Brown and David W. Wilcox, American Economic Review, 02/02/2011
We then briefly sketch the normative theory of how pension obligations should be discounted.

The Economics of State and Local Pensions - Jeffrey Brown et al, NBER Working Paper 16792, 01/02/2011
Analyses the financial aspects of US state and local pensions

USS to adopt CPI inflation measure - Steve Johnson, Financial Times, 24/01/2011
The Universities Superannuation Scheme, the UK’s second largest private sector scheme, is to follow the lead of the BT plan, the UK’s largest, in adopting a lower measure of inflation.

Forecasting the public finances - Office for Budget Reponsibility, OBR Website, 15/01/2011
Methodology of the OBR

Improving Sweden’s automatic pension adjustment mechanism - Nicholas Barr & Peter Diamond, Centre for Retirement Research, Boston College, 02/01/2011
Sweden’s notional DC arrangements need some modification

Local government pension schemes urged to take Yale route - Pauline Skypala, FTfm, 20/12/2010
John Ralfe set the cat among the pigeons by working out the deficit on England’s Local Government Pension Scheme on an FRS17 basis.
See Robert Peston blog December 2010


Eric Bloodaxe - Sue Cameron, Financial Times (Scroll down), 15/12/2010
My local council, Westminster, has nine people with pension pots of about £1m or more. Imagine how many there must be nationwide.

Local government pension deficit - BBC, BBC News, 15/12/2010
The deficit in the Local Government Pension Scheme in England has more than doubled in the past three years to £100bn.

£100bn hole in local government pensions - Robert Peston, Robert Peston blog, 15/12/2010
Mr Ralfe says that the LGPS will show a much smaller official actuarial deficit, because it will not be using the FRS17 valuation method imposed on the private sector.

PM to be Godless in Downing Street - Sue Cameron, Financial Times, 15/12/2010
Looks like David Cameron has lost his battle to keep GOD by his side for another couple of years.

Public sector 'in denial' of pension trouble - Bob Summers & John Ralfe, BBC Radio 4 Today Programme interview, 15/12/2010
Research by John Ralfe suggests the deficit in the Local Government Pension Scheme in England has more than doubled in the last three years. He debates with Bob Summers, of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance.
See Robert Peston blog December 2010


GMB Rebuts Pensions Deficit - GMB, GMB Website, 15/12/2010
THERE IS NOT A £100BN DEFICIT IN THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT PENSION SCHEME AND THERE IS NO CRISIS, SAID GMB IN RESPONSE TO CLAIMS BY A FINANCIAL CONSULTANT TODAY.

£100bn local government pension deficit claim is flawed and misleading - Unite Union, Unite Union Website, 15/12/2010
Claims that the deficit in the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) in England has leaped to £100bn is ‘mathematically flawed and intellectually misleading’, Unite says

NAPF Comment on the deficit of the Local Government Pension Scheme - NAPF, NAPF Press Release, 15/12/2010
Commenting on the reported £100bn deficit of the Local Government Pension Scheme outlined by John Ralfe’s survey of Local Authorities’ accounts, Joanne Segars, Chief Executive of the NAPF, said:

Public pensions need further scrutiny - Tony Jackson, Financial Times, 13/12/2010
Defined benefit pensions in the private sector are an endangered species. Not so in the public sector.

Pension measure leads to nonsensical conclusions - John Ralfe, Financial Times letters, 26/11/2010
Reforming public sector pensions requires a robust and common understanding of costs to allowed informed debate and necassary hard decisions to be taken.PDF) See FT website (paywall)

BBC strike silences Today and hits TV news - Ben Fenton, Financial Times, 06/11/2010
BBC journalists striking over changes to their pensions were poised to bring disruption to television and radio schedules for a second day on Saturday.

US public pensions face day of reckoning - John Keefe, FTfm, 01/11/2010
Pension plan assets of the US public sector, excluding the federal government,were $2,557bn in June 2010, down from $3,198bn at 2007.

John Hutton refuses to give a green light to slash and burn - Michael White, Guardian blog, 08/10/2010
Trade unions that attacked pensions report did not do John Hutton justice: we are living longer and he recognises this

Lord Hutton's Interim Report - Lord Hutton, Website, 07/10/2010
Interim Report on public sector pension reforms
See Nick Timmins FT article "UK backs down over public sector pensions" October 2005


Lord Hutton’s Interim Report Press Release - Lord Hutton, Website, 07/10/2010
Interim Report on public sector pension reforms

Royal Mail: A hedge fund that delivers letters - Robert Peston, Robert Peston blog, 23/09/2010
The Royal Mail Pension Fund accounts show it had £5bn of exposure to shares via futures, not disclosed in the RM accounts.

Royal Mail 'put £5bn of its pension fund at risk' - Phillip Inman, Financial Times, 23/09/2010
Analyst says secret off-balance sheet stock market bets could have led to massive losses

Catch-22 cuts - Sue Cameron, Financial Times (scroll down page), 11/08/2010
According to Mr Ralfe, the official cost of all public sector pensions is currently £15bn a year – as against the true cost of £30bn.

Public pensions - Editorial, Financial Times, 12/07/2010
The widely held view that public sector pensions are unfair and unaffordable is exaggerated.
See Nick Timmins FT article "UK backs down over public sector pensions" October 2005


Statement on moving to CPI as the measure of price inflation - DWP, DWP website, 12/07/2010
Comment on the move to increase pensions in line with CPI not RPI

Think of pensions as gold bars - David Cule, Financial Times, 01/07/2010
The June 28 articles by John Hutton (“It is time to forge a new consensus on pensions”) and John Ralfe (“Time to talk real public sector pension costs”, FTfm) both highlight a debate that needs to take place. (PDF)
See FT website (paywall)


Time to talk real public sector pension costs - John Ralfe, FTfm, 28/06/2010
The Treasury, under Gordon Brown, fiddled the annual cost of new public sector pension promises to the tune of £120bn to £150bn. (PDF)
See FT website (paywall)
See Nick Timmins FT article "UK backs down over public sector pensions" October 2005


Public sector pension figures 'were fiddled under Brown' - Ruth Sunderland, The Observer, 27/06/2010
John Ralfe, one of the UK's leading pension experts, claims there is £150bn black hole in government accounts
See Nick Timmins FT article "UK backs down over public sector pensions" October 2005


Pension commission's job: To avert national bankruptcy - Robert Peston, Robert Peston blog, 21/06/2010
If you are one of 11 million members of public-sector pension schemes, then you are a fortunate person.

Crisis in public sector pensions - Gerry Northam, Radio 4 File on 4, 13/06/2010
As MPs and senior officials retire on 'gold-plated' pensions, the media report that public sector pensions are heading for crisis.

Wrinkles in rich list for Whitehall - Sue Cameron, Financial Times, 02/06/2010
Should Whitehall pay packages include employer's pension contributions?

A crying shame - Sue Cameron, Financial Times, 28/04/2010
Deep dismay among mandarins who have just realised that Gordon Brown plans a hefty new tax on their public sector pensions.

Public sector pensions need sweeping reform, says CBI - Phillip Inman, The Guardian, 06/04/2010
The CBI warned that the cost of public sector pensions would undermine the government's finances without sweeping reforms.

Treasury 'in denial over pensions' - Neil Carberry & John Ralfe, BBC Radio 4 Today Programme interview, 06/04/2010
Head of pensions policy at the CBI Neil Carberry and John Ralfe discuss public sector pension reform.
See Nick Timmins FT article "UK backs down over public sector pensions" October 2005


Nailing the big lie on pensions - Sue Cameron, Financial Times, 17/03/2010
A report that could expose an annual £15bn hole in public sector finances is sitting in Gordon Brown’s in-tray.

The Church’s reckless investment gamble - John Ralfe, FTfm, 08/02/2010
The Church Commissioners are in denial about the real pension liability (PDF)
See FT website (paywall)
See Sunday Times article May 2012


Pensions: Led into temptation - Norma Cohen & Sam Jones, Financial Times, 12/01/2010
Article on C of E's pension problems
See JER FTfm article "The Church's reckless investment gamble" February 2010
See Sunday Times article May 2012


Church of England pensions - Shaun Farrell & John Ralfe, BBC Radio 4 Money Box , 12/11/2009
The C of E has been accused of 'reckless' investment policies after putting its whole £500 million fund in shares. We spoke to John Ralfe and Shaun Farrell, Chief Executive of the Church of England Pensions Board.
See JER FTfm article "The Church's reckless investment gamble" February 2010
See Sunday Times article May 2012


Church urged to publish advice that led to £400m stockmarket 'gamble - Phillip Inman, The Observer, 08/11/2009
The Church of England refused last night to publish investment advice covering more than £400m of pension assets, despite demands for information surrounding a £350m shortfall in the retirement scheme for priests.
See JER FTfm article "The Church's reckless investment gamble" February 2010
See Sunday Times article May 2012


Boot filler Blair - Sue Cameron, Financial Times, 04/11/2009
Independent pensions expert John Ralfe reminds me that we do know Tony Blair receives a pension of around £90,000 a year from the public purse.

Praying for a market miracle - Pauline Skypala, FTfm blog, 04/11/2009
Which institutions can afford a sufficient time horizon to be able to rely on the expectation that equities will outperform bonds over the longer term?

Vicars' pensions under threat as church is seduced by equity cul - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 03/11/2009
Young Anglican vicars are facing the prospect of a bleaker retirement after the Church of England's pension scheme succumbed to the "cult of equity" and sank 100 per cent of its investments into stocks towards the end of the 1990s bull market.
See JER FTfm article "The Church's reckless investment gamble" February 2010
See Sunday Times article May 2012


Gap between private and public sector pensions widens - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 29/10/2009
The number of staff saving for retirement through their private sector employer's defined benefit pension scheme slipped last year, while the number of those employed in the public sector and saving through a similar scheme rose, according to official data.
See Nick Timmins FT article "UK backs down over public sector pensions" October 2005


All aboard Europe’s caviar express - Sue Cameron, Financial Times, 17/06/2009
Lord and Lady Kinnock’s pension pots are worth about £4m, according to John Ralfe, an independent pensions expert.

Britain’s pensions apartheid looks unsustainable - The Economist, The Economist, 11/06/2009
Company final-salary schemes were set on the path to extinction earlier this decade following a wave of closures to new recruits. Now BP, one of a handful of big firms that stood apart from the crowd then, is following suit.

Calls to examine MPs' pensions - John Ralfe, BBC Radio 4 Today Programme interview, 01/06/2009
The pensions of MPs embroiled in the expenses scandal have come under scrutiny after it emerged that they are 50% more generous than in the rest of the public sector. John Ralfe looks at the overall cost to the taxpayer.
See JER FTfm article "MPs’ pensions fail transparency test" January 2008


The Speaker’s soft landing - Alex Barker, Financial Times Westminster blog, 18/05/2009
A couple of hours to go before the Speaker’s statement. Michael Martin will have an open mike to salvage his reputation and subdue the growing parliamentary insurrection.

Royal Mail and HMG's creative accounting - Robert Peston, Robert Peston blog, 11/05/2009
Here's today's riddle: which financial black hole could be transformed into a mountain of gold simply by moving the ownership of the black hole from one part of the public sector to another?

Pension rescue to appear as £24bn windfall - Alex Barker and Jim Pickard, Financial Times, 09/05/2009
The rescue plan for the Royal Mail pension scheme is set to appear as a £24bn ($36bn) windfall on the government books, in a bizarre accounting quirk that saves the government from having to raise more debt.

LGPS: Over and out? - Paul Gosling, Local Government Chronicle, 07/05/2009
There is growing disquiet amongst the political classes and the media about public sector pensions.

Political pensions - the real scandal - Sue Cameron, Financial Times, 29/04/2009
Never mind MPs’ expenses - the real scandal is their pensions. See JER FTfm article "MPs’ pensions fail transparency test" January 2008

Switching to gilts is short-sighted - Clr Roy Oldham, FT letters, 31/03/2009
As chair of the Greater Manchester Local Government Pension Fund for more than 20 years, which is among the most successful in local government, I find John Ralfe’s ideas both unacceptable and an intrusion into the free working of local government.

A refusal to pass on the deficit offers scant comfort - John Thurston, Financial Times Letters, 27/03/2009
John Healey’s response seemed to be denial exemplified and makes John Ralfe’s case.

Council tax will not rise to meet public pension deficit - John Healey, Minister for Local Government, FT letters, 25/03/2009
The LGPS remains solvent and well placed to meet its liabilities.

In denial over public pensions - John Ralfe, FTfm, 23/03/2009
Neither local authorities nor central government recognise the size of the LGPS deficit and thus have no plan to address it. (PDF)
See FT website (paywall)
See Nick Timmins FT article "UK backs down over public sector pensions" October 2005


Taxpayers’ real help now for Gordon - Sue Cameron, Financial Times, 25/02/2009
Is Gordon Brown running a system of outdoor relief for redundant bankers?

Trustee sounds alarm on Royal Mail pensions - Jim Pickard, Financial Times, 25/02/2009
The 450,000 members of Royal Mail’s pension plan face “devastating consequences”, including the slashing of benefits, if the business is not part-privatised, the head of the fund’s trustees has warned.

Stay Posted On The Royal Mail Modernisation - Jim Pickard, Financial Times Westminster blog, 07/02/2009
I mention this before drawing your attention to a small and obscure clause in the Hooper report on the modernisation of the Royal Mail.

Royal Mail workers: workers’ pensions may be under threat either - Jim Pickard, Financial Times Westminster blog, 03/02/2009
John Ralfe, the pensions guru, believes that workers’ cast iron pensions could be doomed either way. “As soon as the government addresses the pensions issue - with or without privatisation – they have to effectively involve state aid,”

Treasury Select Committee - First Report Administration and expenditure of the Chancellor's departments, 2007-08 - Treasury Select Committee, Treasury Select Committee, 14/01/2009
150. There are those, such as pensions consultant John Ralfe, who contest the method of valuation used by GAD.[181] [for the Coal Board Pension Schemes] They argue that if alternative valuation methods are employed the scheme appears to be in deficit and thus represents a liability for the British Taxpayer.
See JER FTfm article "Public sector pensions - at what future cost?" July 2008


Public sector set for wealthier retirement - Sharlene Goff, Financial Times, 05/12/2008
But while those about to draw benefits from a private scheme face the dilemma of taking an income far below their expectations or postponing their retirement, members of public sector schemes are sitting pretty.
See Nick Timmins FT article "UK backs down over public sector pensions" October 2005


Liabilities and a questionable convention - Harvey Cole, Financial Times Letters, 04/12/2008
John Ralfe’s arithmetic (Letters, December 2) is, as always, impeccable. But the convention of discounting public sector liabilities by reference to the yield of long-term gilts is open to question.

Investment risk has been switched to the employee - Prof Alasdair Smith, Financial Times Letters, 03/12/2008
John Ralfe writes that the public sector should emulate the private sector in moving from defined benefit to defined contribution pensions.

Public sector pensions debate requires clarity on costs - John Ralfe, Financial Times Letters, 02/12/2008
Getting clarity on public sector pension costs is technically easy, but politically difficult. (PDF) See FT website (paywall)
See Nick Timmins FT article "UK backs down over public sector pensions" October 2005


The pension divide - Editorial, Financial Times, 28/11/2008
Providing for a nation’s old age is probably the longest-term issue facing any government, So an off-the-cuff comment is not the obvious way to develop pensions policy.

Was Cameron off-script? - Alex Barker, Financial Times Westminster blog, 27/11/2008
The Tories are rapidly distancing themselves from the suggestion — made by their leader — that public sector pensions should be phased out.
See Nick Timmins FT article "UK backs down over public sector pensions" October 2005


Snouts and trotters in the trough - Sue Cameron, Financial Times, 12/11/2008
The cheating classes just don't get it.

Clare is taking calculated risk - Norman Cumming, Financial Times Letters, 03/11/2008
Clare is taking a risk, but a calculated risk, to which the governing body gave much thought.

Did Clare fellows ask the cost of insuring deal? - John Ralfe & Prof Alasdair Smith, Financial Times Letters, 30/10/2008
The expected long-term outperformance of equities is not a reward for patience or a "loyalty bonus", but no more or less than a reward for risk.

(Clare) College to invest £15m loan in shares - David Turner, Financial Times, 28/10/2008
One of Cambridge's oldest colleges has borrowed money for the first time in its 700-year history in a "sensational deal" devised to take advantage of the investment opportunities presented by the credit crunch.

Underfunded public sector schemes cause concern in UK - Steve Johnson, Financial Times, 06/10/2008
The problems besetting private pension systems are well known, but in many ways it is public sector pensions where the problems are most intractable.
See Nick Timmins FT article "UK backs down over public sector pensions" October 2005


MPs’ fund benefits from falling prices - Alex Barker and Jim Pickard, Financial Times, 01/10/2008
Ministers and MPs, including those denouncing City “spivs” and “destructive” short selling, have invested in hedge funds that cash in on falling shares via the parliamentary pension scheme.
See JER FTfm article "MPs’ pensions fail transparency test" January 2008


CSFI Roundtable on public sector pensions - John Ralfe, CSFI Roundtable , 09/09/2008
Speeech delivered at the CSFI Roundtable on public sector pensions
See Nick Timmins FT article "UK backs down over public sector pensions" October 2005


Pension costs mistated by £15bn - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 08/09/2008
The cost of pension promises to 3.25m public sector workers is about £15bn more each year than government admits, even after recent cuts in benefits for new members and increased contributions for some other workers, according to a new study.
See Nick Timmins FT article "UK backs down over public sector pensions" October 2005


Pension deficits - by any name - Matthew Vincent, Financial Times, 16/08/2008
Pension consultant John Ralfe puts unfunded public sector pension liabilities at above £800bn - a cost that is "grossly understated" by government departments.

Tories urge review into pension fund 'siphoning' (Miners' pension schemes) - Jim Pickard, Financial Times, 04/08/2008
More than £4bn has been "siphoned" out of two miners' pension funds by the government in the past decade, a move that could store future pain for taxpayers.
See JER FTfm article "Public sector pensions - at what future cost?" July 2008


Treasury's basic mistake about public pensions - John Ralfe, Financial Times Letters, 21/07/2008
The Treasury doggedly refuses to recognise that public sector pensions are government debt, the same as issuing index-linked gilts to public sector workers. (PDF)
See FT website (paywall)
See JER CSFI speech September 2008


Spotlight on British Coal Pension Schemes - John Ralfe, RBC Capital Markets Open Forum Note 54, 11/07/2008
When British Coal was privatised in 1994 the Government guaranteed payment of pension entitlements, plus inflation-linked increases and receives 50% of surpluses calculated at Actuarial Valuations.

Pension Costs Off by $500 Million, New York City Finds - Danny Hakim, New York Times, 03/06/2008
An actuary relied upon by the State Legislature to determine the cost of proposals affecting New York City’s pension system underestimated their ultimate cost by at least $500 million.

To the manor elected - The Economist, The Economist, 30/05/2008
MPs’ plush pensions could be the next controversy See JER FTfm article "MPs’ pensions fail transparency test" January 2008

Nice little earners for Mr Speaker - Sue Cameron, Financial Times, 28/05/2008
No credit crunch worries Michael Martin, the Commons Speaker, who, I am told, is sitting on two enormous nest eggs – courtesy of the ever-generous taxpayer.

Royal Mail’s need for cash back on agenda - John Willman, Financial Times, 16/05/2008
Royal Mail’s urgent need for new investment is firmly on the agenda following the regulator’s demand on Thursday that the postal operator should be freed to raise capital from the private sector.

SSRB is not concerned with cost of MPs’ pensions - Sir John Baker, Financial Times Letters, 11/04/2008
Response to JER letter on MPs’ pensions

Should we halve MPs’ pensions? - Alex Barker, Financial Times Westminster blog, 09/04/2008
This will not please our elected representatives. John Ralfe, the former head of corporate finance at Boots and an indefatigable apostle for the cause of trimming MPs’ “outrageous” pensions, has just launched his latest assault. See JER FTfm article "MPs’ pensions fail transparency test" January 2008

Cost of MPs’ pensions to taxpayers grossly understated - John Ralfe, Financial Times Letters, 07/04/2008
The real cost of MPs’ annual pensions to taxpayers is 50% of salary not 18%, the official figure. (PDF)
See FT website (paywall)
See JER FTfm article "MPs’ pensions fail transparency test" January 2008


MPs’ pensions fail transparency test - John Ralfe, FTfm, 21/01/2008
How has the Senior Salaries Review Body got the cost of MPs’ pensions so wrong?
See FT website (paywall)


What is the real cost of MPs' pensions? - Lisa Buckingham, Mail on Sunday, 20/01/2008
Clearly, our elected representatives find numbers something of a challenge.
See JER FTfm article "MPs’ pensions fail transparency test" January 2008


Time to vote out MPs' pension deal - Ruth Sunderland, The Observer, 20/01/2008
Here are some words I don't get to write often enough: Gordon Brown has done the right thing on pensions.
See JER FTfm article "MPs’ pensions fail transparency test" January 2008


Annual cost of MPs' pensions triples - Chris Hope, Daily Telegraph, 09/01/2008
It is very convenient for MPs that the cost of their pensions is understated.

Taxpayers to foot £16m bill for MPs’ pensions - Alex Barker, Financial Times, 08/01/2008
The cost to the taxpayer of MPs’ pensions is more than double the official estimate, which could undermine backbenchers’ demands for a big pay rise. See JER FTfm article "MPs’ pensions fail transparency test" January 2008

Sir Humprey’s Legacy: An Update - Neil Record, Institute of Economic Affairs, 02/01/2008
Analysis of UK unfunded public sector pensions

Postal deal signed but will it deliver? - John Ralfe, FTfm, 12/11/2007
Is the deal agreed with enough to solve Royal Mail's pension problems?
See FT website (paywall)


Consultant warns on deficit proposals - John Willman, Financial Times, 06/11/2007
Royal Mail’s plans to tackle its £5bn pension deficit will plug barely half the gap and rely on the scheme’s share portfolio to eliminate the rest, according to a new analysis.
See JER FTfm article "Postal deal signed but will it deliver?" November 2007


House of Commons Accounts 2006-7 - NA, TSO, 24/07/2007
Shows the FRS17 cost of MPs’ pensions (p33)

Public sector urged to overhaul pensions - Andrew Taylor, Financial Times, 11/12/2006
Business leaders have called for a radical overhaul of public sector pay and pension arrangements to reduce the growing burden on taxpayers.

German pension age to be raised - Hugh Williamson, Financial Times, 30/11/2006
Younger Germans face the prospect of two extra years at work before drawing their pensions, following a cabinet decision expected last night that was set to raise the retirement age from 65 to 67.

Pension watchdog to test Labour fund - Tom Burroughes, Reuters, 25/09/2006
Labour, which has put pension reform high on its agenda, has a significant pension fund deficit and will be among the first funds to be tested by regulators.
See JER RBC note "Will the Labour Party pension scheme be the first test case for the Pensions Regulator?" September 2006


Labour's finances - John Plender, Financial Times, 25/09/2006
According to pensions consultant John Ralfe, in a note for RBC Capital Markets, the Labour party pension scheme could become a test case for The Pensions Regulator in the light of its new guidelines on funding deficits.
See JER RBC note "Will the Labour Party pension scheme be the first test case for the Pensions Regulator?" September 2006


Sir Humphrey’s Legacy - Neil Record, Institute of Economic Affairs, 02/06/2006
Facing Up to the Cost of Public Sector Pensions

Universities are not in an a - Edwin Topper, Financial Times Letters, 01/06/2006
John Plender's article on the deficit in USS makes a number of inaccurate statements and reaches conclusions that cannot go unchallenged.
See JER RBC Capital Market Note "Spotlight on USS" May 2006
See JER FTfm article "Robbing Peter to pay Paul’s pension"


Big pension fund too equity-heavy - Tom Burroughes, Reuters, 30/05/2006
USS, the country's second-biggest pension plan, has a major deficit and is more exposed to stocks than many rival funds, a leading consultant said.
See JER RBC Capital Market Note "Spotlight on USS" May 2006
See JER FTfm article "Robbing Peter to pay Paul’s pension"


Failing grade? - John Plender, Financial Times, 30/05/2006
Facing a £6.6bn black hole in its superannuation scheme, academe is in a financial fog about the real cost of providing for lecturers’ old age
See JER RBC Capital Market Note "Spotlight on USS" May 2006
See JER FTfm article "Robbing Peter to pay Paul’s pension"


‘Fantastic’ deal offers hope for Royal Mail - John Willman, Financial Times, 19/05/2006
The long-awaited “financing framework” for Royal Mail was finally announced by the government on Thursday, but if anyone was expecting to see billions of pounds pumped into the postal operator they will have been severely disappointed.

Treasury's estimate of unfunded pension liabilities rises by £70bn - Chris Giles, Financial Times, 03/03/2006
The Treasury raised by £70bn its estimate for the liabilities of unfunded pensions for doctors, nurses, teachers and police yesterday. Figures from the Government Actuary's Department showed £530bn would have to be found to fund the public service pension schemes fully, compared with the previous £460bn estimate.

New York City Story - Nicholas Dunbar, Life and Pensions, 01/02/2006
The man responsible for NYC's pensions wants to move to market-based valuation

Time for the truth about public pension deficits - Orin Kramer, Financial Times, 13/01/2006
Using real-world economic assumptions instead of actuarial fictions, the total (US) public fund shortfall over the next decade appears likely to be at least $700bn-$1,000bn.

Minister rules out aid to Royal Mail to clear £4bn pensions deficit - Jean Eaglesham, Financial Times, 16/11/2005
Any "bail-out" of Royal Mail's £4bn pension fund deficit by taxpayers was yesterday ruled out by the government in the first clear statement of its plans for the state-owned postal operator in the run-up to full market competition next year.
See Robert Peston blog "Royal Mail and HMG's creative accounting" May 2009


UK backs down over public sector pensions - Nicholas Timmins, Financial Times, 19/10/2005
The UK government has backed down in the face of a threat by public sector unions to call a major strike over raising the retirement age to 65 and reforming pensions.

Unison issues pension threat - Andrew Taylor, Financial Times, 23/06/2005
Ministers have been given two weeks to withdraw a parliamentary order imposing changes in retirement arrangements for 800,000 local authority workers or face industrial action.

Turnbull warning over civil service pensions - Nicholas Timmins, Financial Times, 21/06/2005
The civil service has to adjust to the fact that the pension age is going to rise from 60 to 65, Sir Andrew Turnbull, outgoing cabinet secretary, said yesterday

An age-old problem - Philip Coggan, Financial Times, 11/12/2004
The corporate sector is already struggling with the cost of providing pensions. Now it is the government's turn to try to cut the bill.

The Case Against Stock in Public Pension Funds - Lawrence N. Bader & Jeremy Gold, Working Paper, 19/10/2004
A government has $1 million of stock in a pension fund that covers its employees. The liability can be matched with a $1-million dedicated bond portfolio. What are the consequences of shifting the pension fund from equities to bonds?

Public sector pension deficit hits £580bn - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 11/08/2004
The UK's public sector pension schemes have unfunded liabilities of about £580bn, more than 50 per cent higher than the most recent estimate published two years ago, according to actuarial consultants Watson Wyatt.

Maine Takes a Cautious Path on Its Pensions - Mary Williams Walsh, New York Times, 23/04/2004
Maine is deliberately aiming for low, but guaranteed, investment income to pay for the retirement benefits of its workers.

States Risk Bigger Losses to Fund Pensions - Mary Williams Walsh, New York Times, 12/10/2003
Many state and local governments, facing ballooning pension promises to police officers, firefighters, teachers and other public employees, are rushing to sell bonds to cover the shortfall.

NHS pensions bill soars to £100bn - Antonia Senior, The Times, 09/08/2003
Taxpayers face a £100 billion bill to cover the cost of pensions owed to 1.3 million workers within the National Health Service, new figures will reveal in November.

The Illinois gamble - The Economist, The Economist, 19/06/2003
Impressive stuff, given that Illinois has a $5 billion budget deficit and a $35 billion pension shortfall, the biggest of any American state.

JER ARTICLES


Royal Mail"Another coaltion conjuring trick (Royal Mail pensions)"
JER FT letters November 2012


"Understated (public sector) pensions costs a poor legacy"
JER FTfm November 2012

“Public sector pensions make mockery of Whitehall savings”
JER FT Letters August 2012


“Hospital doctors need to do their sums before revolting over pension changes”:
FT Letters May 2012


Channel 4 News FactCheck on police pensions March 2012

Channel 4 News item on NHS pension reforms January 2012

today Robert Peston on BBC Radio 4 Today Programme on JER's analysis of public sector pension costs January 2012

JER interview on BBC Radio 4 Today Programme on public sector pensions July 2011

George "The discount rate for public sector pension costs should be based on long dated index linked gilts"
Letter to George Osborne April 2011 by JER & 22 other UK, US & Australian pension experts

JER interview on BBC Radio 4 Today Programme on public sector pensions : April 2011

Nottingham University"If USS operates as "cash-in, cash-out" it is a massive pyramid selling scheme"
FTfm January 2011


Nottingham City Council House"There is a £100bn hole in the LGPS, according to an authoritative survey"
Robert Peston blog December 2010


"Royal Mail is a hedge fund that delivers letters. Or at least that's what John Ralfe argues" Robert Peston blog September 2010

"The real total pension cost for 2009, using the market ILG gilt rate, is about £30bn, double the £15bn official cash cost"
FTfm June 2010


Royal Mail"Little wonder that John Ralfe describes what's happening to the Royal Mail pension scheme as a colossal fiddle"
Robert Peston blog May 2009


“Neither local authorities, nor central government recognise the size of the LGPS deficit, and thus have no plan to address it” FTfm March 2009

“Public sector pensions debate requires clarity on costs”
FT Letters December 2008


coal mine“Public sector Coal Board pensions – at what future cost?”
FTfm July 2008


“Treasury's basic mistake about public pensions”
FT Letters July 2008


“The real cost of MPs' pensions is grossly understated”
FT Letters April 2008


Parliament"MPs' pensions fail the transparency test" FTfm January 2008

“Postal deal signed but will it deliver?"
FTfm November 2007

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