Teachers Union Lists “Anti-Pension” Asset Managers

March 13, 2014 (PLANSPONSOR.com) – The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) has issued its second list of assets managers it says “have directly backed initiatives that the harm the retirement security of [public pension] plan participants, to whom trustees have a fiduciary duty.”

The list identifies companies with ties to groups on a “Retirement Security Privatization Watch List,” which include StudentsFirst, the Show-Me Institute, the Manhattan Institute, and Illinois Is Broke.  For example, Aon Corp. is on the list because The Aon Foundation has contributed to the Commercial Club of Chicago, the parent of Illinois Is Broke. Twenty-nine asset managers are named by AFT.

According to the AFT, Illinois Is Broke was founded in 2010 by the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago and campaigns to increase the cost for individual pension plan participants, reduce pension benefits for current and future Illinois retirees and move new employees into a defined contribution plan.

In a statement sent to PLANSPONSOR, Aon said: “Aon is a member of many civic and community organizations across the U.S., including the Commercial Club of Chicago. Aon has always been a strong advocate for improving the retirement security of American workers and understands the unique challenges facing public pension plan sponsors. We will continue to work closely with our clients to provide solutions that address these challenges and help workers achieve their retirement goals.”

The AFT claims its list is producing positive results for public pensions.  According to the report, after the AFT released its first “Ranking Asset Managers” report in April 2013, “several Wall Street firms have cut ties with groups leading the attack on workers’ defined benefit pension plans.”

The AFT’s latest report is here.