zerohedge.com / by Tyler Durden / Nov 29, 2016 3:50 PM
In just a couple of months, the largest pension fund in the United States, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS), will have to decide whether they’ll rely on sound financial judgement and math to set their rate of return expectations going forward or whether they’ll cave to political pressure to maintain artificially high return hurdles that they’ll never meet but help to maintain their ponzi scheme a little longer. The decision faced by CALPERS is whether their long-term assumed rate of return on assets should be lowered from the current 7.5% down to a more reasonable 6%.
As pointed out by Pensions & Investments, the decision has far-reaching consequences. First, a lower rate of return will equate to higher contribution levels for municipalities throughout California, many of which are on the verge of bankruptcy already. Second, given that CALPERS is the largest pension fund in the United States, a move to lower return hurdles could set a precedent that would have to be followed by other funds around the country in even worse shape (yes, we’re looking at you Illinois).
The stakes are high as the CalPERS board debates whether to significantly decrease the nation’s largest public pension fund’s assumed rate of return, a move that could hamstring the budgets of contributing municipalities as well as prompt other public funds across the country to follow suit.
But if the retirement system doesn’t act, pushing to achieve an unrealistically high return could threaten the viability of the $299.5 billion fund itself, its top investment officer and consultants say.
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