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Local Pension Workshop Focuses on April 1 Deadline

PROVIDENCE, R.I. General Treasurer Gina M. Raimondo yesterday hosted a workshop for municipalities with locally-administered pension plans in advance of the reporting deadline set by the recently passed Rhode Island Retirement Security Act (RIRSA).

The law requires municipalities to submit to the local plan study commission an actuarial experience study and actuarial valuations with current investment, mortality and other actuarial assumptions by April 1, 2012.

"While as Treasurer I have no authority over these local pension plans, I am fully committed to working with municipalities to develop comprehensive solutions for their ailing plans," said Raimondo. "This technical working session helped to set local leaders on a path toward understanding how to tackle and meet this important deadline."

Twenty-one cities and towns were represented at the workshop, and the audience included a mayor, town administrators, finance directors and members of local retirement boards.

Workshop topics included:

- A fiduciary training overview

- Working with an actuary to complete an experience study and valuation

Determining an appropriate rate of return

The state's actuary, Joseph Newton of Gabriel Roeder Smith & Company and the state's investment consultant, Allan Emkin of Pension Consulting Alliance, both presented and were involved in the RIRSA pension reform effort.

Former New York Lieutenant Governor Richard Ravitch also spoke about tackling financial challenges, specifically his task force work with former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker to examine several issues facing state governments, as well as his 1975 work in New York City to avoid that city's bankruptcy.

Collectively, the 36 locally-administered plans have a reported unfunded liability of approximately $2.1 billion, and a funding level of only 40 percent. Unlike the state-administered system, which is governed by statute, many of these local plans are determined by collectively-bargained contracts. The local plans each have unique situations, varying widely in their design, funding status and membership.

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Related links

Department or agency: RI Office of the General Treasurer

Online: http://www.treasury.ri.gov/

Release date: 01-25-2012

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