Bad Optics of the Day: Pension Funds’ Fun in the Sun

4 Mar

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Photo credit: Matthew Maaskant

Four public pension funds in California are underfunded by $17.5bn, yet they’re sending multiple employees to a retirement fund conference in Hawaii at an average cost of $2,600 per employee.  That doesn’t send the wrong message, does it?

Additional bad optics #1:  The conference organizers have a page called “Attendance Justification Tool Kit.”  It’s a little worrying people responsible for making billions of dollars of investments apparently need help figuring out how to justify the return on investment of a business trip.

Additional bad optics #2:  In an interview, the executive director of the National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems, explained that the conference “was planned and booked back in 2006, before the recent recession.”  Isn’t it also a little worrying when pension managers justify their mistakes by saying “we didn’t see the biggest recession in 50 years coming”?

It’s no wonder public pension plans are in such bad shape!

Kudos to California Watch for bringing this to light.

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