Actuary Group Reinforces Call for Consistent Pension Disclosures

December 16, 2010 ( – While not taking a position on a recent bill requiring additional disclosures from public pension funds, the American Academy of Actuaries used the bill’s introduction to emphasize “the importance of meaningful and consistent disclosures” by public plans.

The actuary group’s pronouncement was predicated on the recently filed Public Employee Pension Transparency Act (H.R. 6484) by U.S. Representatives Devin Nunes (R-California), Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin), and Darrell Issa (R-California). (see GOP Congressmen Introduce Bill to Enhance Public Pension Transparency). 

“The funded status of state and local government-sponsored pension plans is a major concern of the approximately 20 million workers, retirees and family members who are the beneficiaries of those plans, as well as the current and future taxpayers and recipients of public services who share in the financial obligation to provide those benefits,” said Mary Frances Miller, president of the academy, in a news release. “Public confidence in these retirement systems starts with the availability of consistently disclosed financial information on plan assets and obligations and system risks. And as government entities pursue comprehensive solutions to their financial challenges, they need clear and relevant information that will help them manage the risks associated with their pension plans.”

David K. Sandberg, president-elect of the academy and chairperson of the academy’s Public Pension Plan Task Force, said that while actuaries and others can debate the details of the bill, enhanced disclosures are an important part of a disciplined risk management framework that the task force described in its report.

“Although the Academy is not addressing the specifics of this particular bill, we want to emphasize the importance of reporting meaningful and consistent information that can help policymakers and the public better understand pension obligations and risks,” Sandberg said.

A plethora of state and local government associations quickly took issue with the disclosure bill (see Public Fund Groups Tell Washington: “Back Off!”).