Sunday, August 28, 2011

MPERS Investment Committee Video & Reports

This is a first for JJ and in some ways, Mississippi. I have been attending the bi-monthly meetings of the Investment Committee of the Mississippi Public Employees Retirement System. If you want to learn what's really going on with all of the funds and portfolios used by PERS, this is the place to be. I taped most of the meeting that day (I came in about 10 minutes late and missed the first part of the presentation, but all they are doing is reading off of the reports to a large degree) and have posted below reports provided to the Investment Committee at its last meeting on August 22. It's heady stuff and I'm still trying to figure it out. I have not had time to read through all of the reports but wanted to go ahead and post them as well as the videos for your um, entertainment. Enjoy. ;-)

Note: I apologize for the poor quality of the video. I have to lower the definition of the video so the files are small enough to upload to Youtube. I'll need to get a better mike as PERS instituted a policy after I taped the board meeting for the first time mandating all video cameras had to be placed at the very back of the room.

Presentation by Callan Associates:

Presentation by PIMCO

Table of contents (use page numbers on document itself, not pdf reader) for the next two documents:
1. Asset Management Overview
7. Asset Allocation and Performance
15. Manager Analysis Principal Protected
17. Money Market
19. Domestic Equity
54. Interntational Equity
76. Global Equity
84. Domestic Fixed-Income
98. Target Maturity
137. Definitions.

This document used in the PIMCO presentation:


Anonymous said...

Not sure what camera you are using KF but this is a real good external mic I use with my Zi8.

Kingfish said...

Sony DCR SX45. I can upload to youtube in 2 GB files but a high def file is larger. These videos posted were still 1.5 GB or so.

Shadowfax said...

KF: Do you mind saying if you are a state retiree or what your interest is in attending all of these meetings? Also, are they open to the general public?

Kingfish said...

Once again you are trying to cast aspersions on me. No state retirement so no. What is my interest? I'm a friggin citizen of the state of Mississippi, THAT is my interest. They are open to the public.

Anonymous said...

From what I can find it looks like you camera doesn't have an external mic jack so you may be screwed since you're stuck using the camera mic.

Kingfish said...

You're right although the sound after the first video gets better. They are more restrictive than anywhere else, including a courtroom. At least in a courtroom you and put a mike up next to the bench.

Anonymous said...

Granted, I just gave the docs a quick glance, but how are the advisors getting paid? 12b-1 fees or flat management fee? I'm assuming they're buying institutional shares, but can't find where it states the share class purchased.

Anonymous said...

I knew it. Shadowfax has an ulterior motive here. A little bit of her showing up of late is timed well.

Anonymous said...

The PERS Board does no independent thinking. They only rubberstamp. Look at some of those crap funds and their 10-year returns. Callan has 1/4th of the PERS money they are managing in complete crap. SunAmerica? Damn, SunAmerica is owned by f'ing AIG. Callan stays privately held in order to avoid maximum transparency.

Damn right Shadowboob. It is the taxpayer's business to call for change at PERS. We're not here to cover the a$$e$ of crap decisions by the PERS Board so that public employees can dodge helping to carry some of the load.

Anonymous said...

Despite the loss of Paul McCulley, PIMCO is still a very good bond management house. I'm pleased that PIMCO was hired.


Anonymous said...

Fish, one of the problems that I think with PERS is that some folks get to come back and work part time then do not put back into the system. Alot of these positions are ones that are just created and could be a full time slot that puts back into pers. Another thing is that the Highway Patrol has its own retirement. They put in less money and have to do less time but get more in return. The taxpayers have to pick up the balance. This system is broke and needs to be fixed. Fish keep digging into this and there is no telling what you may find.

KaptKangaroo said...

What about SLRP? Is that self-funded? Or is it too invested along with PERS?

KaptKangaroo said...

Read the notes folks, read the Management notes, this is where you find the real issues.

Anonymous said...

Kudos to you Kingfish. I'll say, without hesititation, that PERS leadership does not want this information to see the general public light of day.

Shadowfax said...

Can't understand the odd, snappy response from KF @ 11:13. No aspersions intended. Merely asked if you were there as a retiree/specially interested party since so many are trying to figure out Barbour's sudden interest in 'the study' and many fears of revamp and removal of promised benefits. My intention was and is to alert several others that they can perhaps track PERS ongoings here on this site. That's also why I asked if they were open meetings since several people I know would probably attend one.

If you won't bristle at a suggestion, when you have time you might think about looking into SLRP, in depth. Going all the way back to Charlie Capps, they knighted themselves with higher retirement benefits and full retirement after only FOUR years of employment. Legislative leaders were also caught shooting a little pocket poole when they attempted to double their benefits, claiming they hadn't read the bill some years back.

Don't know if KF has a working relationship with Russ Latino, but, that would be a good link since Latino considers himself somewhat of an expert extraordinnaire on all things PERS.

Anonymous said...

Ulterior motive my ass. Perhaps the guy who questioned the camera mic has an ulterior motive. Paranoid much?

Anonymous said...

Not sure where you've been Shadowfax but it obviously isn't here as KF has delved into SLRP -- which is primarily an accrual scam -- quite extensively in the past. So get off your fanny and check the JJ archives.

Sharon Plunkett said...

I had to research this issue before and here is what I discovered in the way of reform scenarios. Many states are working on reform because of the economic situation so I am sure Haley is trying to address the inevitable problem. For the most part in other states, reforms largely fell into five categories: 1) keeping up with funding requirements; 2) reducing benefits or increasing the retirement age; 3) sharing the risk with employees; 4) increasing employee contributions; and 5) improving governance and investment oversight. Example - New York lawmakers in December raised the minimum retirement age from 55 to 62 for new hires, increased the minimum years of service required to draw a pension from five years to 10, and capped the amount of overtime used in calculating benefits.
In the past, some states such as Georgia, North Carolina and Tennessee required that any proposals that will affect pension benefits or costs receive a full actuarial analysis to determine its long-term price tag. This goes for changes in retirement ages, cost-of-living adjustments, any change in the time needed to vest in a system, or any adjustment to the pension formula. State and local governments still can offer or increase benefits, but this additional step ensures that costs will be thoroughly considered in advance. Although such reforms will not reduce existing liabilities, they can keep state policy makers from making the funding situation worse. Mississippi has been reforming PERS for the better as the years of service have increased from 25 to 30 as of 2011. Another area they really need to address though is retirement basis - right now amount is based upon "highest four years" and many states have gone to "last four years". That way if someone moves to a lower paying job just to get years of service in, we aren't paying for their highest four years.

Anonymous said...

Highest 4 years can be a problem too. Say you're a long-time legislator and average salary in 50K range. Get defeated in an election, find a job as an agency head, and the high 4 can quickly go to 6 figures and you've worked most of your 25 or 30 years at 50k or less salary range. Sweet....wonder if this is just an urban legend or fact? As a legislator, you're a member of both PERS and SLRP.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a Terry Burton dream job.

Anonymous said...

"Not sure where you've been Shadowfax but it obviously isn't here"

Don't waste your time trying to tell this fool anything. Shadowfux is one of those FNGs that come in thinking they own the place and end up looking like a moron everytime they hit "publish."

NMissC said...

The data dump is a good thing for openness, but I'd love some analysis-- what can we learn from this?

Kudos for getting it, though.

Shadowfax said...

Doesn't it seem a bit odd that Haley Barbour waits until his last four months in office to express this level of interest in the problems of PERS? As if they didn't exist the other 92 months he was Governor?

Several mistakes made by the board were: Allowing full retirement at 25, allowing retirees to withdraw lump sums in cash, allowing current participants to withdraw chunks while still employed, counting accumulated sick leave as time worked at retirement, allowing employees to withdraw all their money when they quit and then put it back in (buy back) to give them all those years back.

The best thing that has happened, however, is continuing to keep the money at arms length from the legislature. They can't touch it. Otherwise the till would be empty.

From what I read, it's been a good system and for decades has been a leader among states as a well managed program. They're underpaid while employed but it is a good system for retirement. Best of luck to those who really want it to work (and have that as a goal) and not simply tear it down and criticize it.

Kingfish said...

NMC: Did it occur to you it might take a week or two to actually go through all of this an and analyze it? I've still got four more reports to upload and add to this post. Thank goodness they only meet every two months.

Kingfish said...

What I'm seeing also is a litany of the usual complaints about PERS but it seems few are actually reading the reports or watching the video and commenting on the actual subject of the post.

Anderson said...

Talking Points Memo does these "data dumps" sometimes, and gets some pretty good reader analysis. Of course, TPM also has a very large base of readers, many of whom have a great deal of free time ....

Regardless, many thanks to KF for providing the opportunity.

State law should provide for *every* agency to post online video of its meetings, with PDFs of reports etc. that are presented. No excuse not to, in this day & age.

Anonymous said...

I've read all the attachments KF but not viewed the videos.

There isn't much to be said about the attachments beyond the fact that Callan has the state invested in some highly questionable and underperforming funds (10-year returns).

Callan has a checkered track record and has been sued by other clients for accepting payments from the same funds into which they invest their client's monies. Not that different than a mutual fund version of payola. Callan also goes to great lengths to remain as far removed from SEC oversight efforts as they possibly can and strenuously resists SEC inquiries and demands for transparency.

PERS is not all that unlike the PSC. The behind-the-scenes strings are pulled by an unelected Director and staff apparatchik. Really the epitome of self-serving bureaucrats.

The PERS staff is unaccountable to taxpayers while the PSC staff (MPUS) is unaccountable to ratepayers. But PERS is worse because, at least, the Public Service Commissioners must stand for an up or down vote every four years.

The PERS board only represents constituencies and is by its formation adversarial to taxpayers. The people's representatives on the PERS board, i.e. the Gubernatorial Appointee and the Treasurer, are only bystanders who more often than not vote with the majority.

The unfunded liabilities in the PERS system will not go away with the wave of a magic wand.

KaptKangaroo said...

Looked through the asset allocation of Callan. What surprised me was the % allocation into large cap funds.

While I would find the asset allocation appropriate for a 35-45 year old 401K; I could not help but think, what is goal of the PERS funds?

Are they shooting for preservation/growth of principle?

Are they focused on building out years?

Is there a concern from PERS about current payments and solvency (and when)?

Too many questions, maybe the answers are in the videos?

Still reading BTW, may take the whole day.

Anonymous said...

Just as we are seeing around the country the people in Mississippi invested in PERS and fearful of the Governor's commission somehow see it as their right to not have to take any financial hit in tough times while the regular folks in the rest of our state and country are getting hammered.

My advice to public employees is to be careful how hard you push because you surely won't care for the corresponding whiplash. Our "shared sacrifice" doesn't exempt you from sharing.

Anonymous said...

I am seeing investments made into fund families that Callan makes money from in other the disclosure section. Callan's lip service aside, do you really think they don't weigh the fact that they are making money off those firms when making investment decisions? C'mon.

Anonymous said...

I, a PERS enrollee, appreciate your effort to shine a light on PERS operations and investments. With a good adviser (and a little luck)I would have been way ahead having an individual 401(k) rather than being enrolled in PERS.

Anonymous said...

"our right to not take a hit"

How about our right to opt out of our forced contributions? We have none. We are forced to contribute and have no say have our money is invested. We were forced to increase our contribution from 7.5% to 9%, and still not allowed to direct our own investments.

I think it's way past time to allow us to have control over our own money. PERS committee is clueless on most of the investments.

Anonymous said...

Agree with anon 12:20. Private sector sideline watchers think it's a 'skate' to participate in this system. We HAVE no rights. We get to vote every few years for a retired yes man to represent us on a impotent board, that's it.

Shadowfax said...

"Anonymous said...
Not sure where you've been Shadowfax but it obviously isn't here as KF has delved into SLRP -- which is primarily an accrual scam -- quite extensively in the past. So get off your fanny and check the JJ archives."

So, dipwad, a new participant here is supposed to scan through archives before posting? Archive this! I doubt seriously he covered the legislative chicanery and those involved who bastardized the system for their own benefit. If so, link it.

Kingfish said...

Google Jackson jambalaya and SLRP.

A new participant might want to consider using google. its a wonderful tool, reliable, and gets the job done. Go to, enter your search terms in the search box, press enter, and then see the results.

Anonymous said...

"So, dipwad, a new participant here is supposed to scan through archives before posting?"

Uh, yes, we do. Otherwise you look like a clueless newbie who barges in with opinions flying but no knowledge of the previous (in this case, extensive) discussion that has preceded you.

Or keep looking ignorant. You seem to enjoy it.

Anderson said...

KF, this link is handy to provide in situations like this.

Anonymous said...

So, dipwad, a new participant here is supposed to scan through archives before posting?

While this goes unsaid at this point ... you are really an idiot.

KaptKangaroo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
KaptKangaroo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
KaptKangaroo said...

Shadowfax, you are out of line. We have been following SLRP for a good deal of time here.

YOU need to take the time to catch up before you throw stones about the knowledge of the community here.

You don't know how foolish you sound.

My apologies for the deletes, damn Google.

KaptKangaroo said...



Anonymous said...

I applaud Barbour for bringing in private independent citizens to examine this system. The focus is always on the retirees interests, but what about the interests of the taxpayer?

Anonymous said...

Appointees are rarely if ever 'independent'. A system which exists to benefit retirees should focus on retirees interests. Duh. The legislature determines the extent of taxpayer (agency) contributions; not some committee.

NMissC said...

Kingfish, I looked at the documents, and was a bit overwhelmed.

But the main point of my comment was to say thanks for producing the data dump.

Anonymous said...

Shadow; you gotta kiss the ring and defer to certain people here. You'll learn in due time. Tell KF thanks twice a day and you'll be fine.

Anonymous said...

Shadow; HRB has been focused on PERS for the past 5 years, not the last five months of his administration. Check your facts; he proposed a reorganization of the PERS board years ago when the state had to ante up - AGAIN - to cover the benefits the retirees vote for themselves.

PERS is a joke the way it is organized; 9 of 11 members are retirees, who vote retirees increased benefits and then pass the cost on to the general public. Our legislators don't have the gonads to stand up to retirees after this is done, so we - those folks who don't get a defined benefit retirement plan - pay for it.

The rules are ridiculous in today's environment. High four sets your retirement. Not just legislators, but other's benefit as well. A DA for twelve years and then going into private practice. Stays on as a city attorney at a couple hundred a month - for another fifteen years. Gets retirement at the DA salary, but spent most of career in private sector making big bucks. Works both ways - remember Olivar Diaz trying to get on at $400 / month in Simpson COunty as an appointee of his old friend (now former) Judge Buffington. Would have let Diaz retire at MSCC Justice salary.

HRB has been preaching this for years - now at the end of term he is attempting to tackle it with a new legislature coming into office. Hopefully, some of these legislative candidates will grow some and follow the Powdermilk biscuit formula - "have the strength to do what needs to be done."

Shadowfax said...

You're simply wrong, anon 9:28. Barbour has given milktoast lip service to the issues surrounding PERS, until NOW. You're also wrong in your assertion that the PERS board 'gives themselves benefits'. Or at least you seem to ignore the fact that legislative action is required in that process. Your example of the DA is also flawed, but I believe you intended that.

You are right, however, in your suggestion that Buffington was a buffoon and Diaz was a bigger one for attempting that little trick two years ago. Buffington was subsequently (and properly) admonished for his involvement in that scheme.

It's not uncommon, whether in public or private employment, for hiring authorities to 'leave a guy employed just long enough' for him to qualify for a future benefit, such as retirement benefits.

You conclude by suggesting 'a new legislature' is in office. Really? You also suggest 'some of these candidates' will do something about PERS. Really? When new entrants to the governmental process decide to reconstruct and redesign everything in their sights, you have a formula for failure, not biscuits. Look at what happened to Doug Davis.

Anonymous said...

KF, kudos for shining some light on PERS. No one else seems to be willing.

Anonymous said...

KF, did you ever get a chance to look this over?

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Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).

Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.

In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

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This is definitely a Beaver production.

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Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

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