Thursday, May 01, 2014

Assets that are difficult to value

Apparently some fireworks at the quarterly city of Pittsburgh pension board meeting today. PG: Pittsburgh pension board meeting becomes fight for union retirement benefit

But the machinations are less interesting than the bigger picture. In March the city of Pittsburgh submitted its biennial actuarial reports on the health of the city's pension systems. If you have trouble sleeping, those reports are on my pension information page for those who are looking for them. They are there on the right listed under 2013 reports for fire, police and nonuniformed employees respectively. (don't ask me why that page is not working well for chrome, works fine in IE and Firefox for me??).  The new reports (from March) are there, but I'll get around to updating all the other graphs and tables on that page.

Some interesting wonkish trivia. Take the ephemera in the report on the fire pension system:

 Page 65 (per the PDF numbering): it looks like the value of the notional parking asset actually increased over the last two years. Given it was a fixed payment over a fixed period into the future, I'm wondering if the discount rate was lowered? But I still don't quite get how this will be valued dynamically into the future I have to admit. 

page 38: For those who disagree with me on just how notional the whole 'parking asset' is, note the extreme equivocation of the actuary: "The inclusion of the present value of this stream of dedicated future parking meter revenues does not imply that it necessarily qualifies as a pension plan asset under GAS 25 or for any other purpose" (emphasis added). Accounting standards are overrated anyways.

and for anyone who thinks lowering the assumed future return of the (invested) pension assets is a bad idea, read the whole discussion starting on page 41 under the section Actuarially Recommended Amortization Payment.  I won't try and summarize, just read the 5 paragraphs over and over again. 


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The parking asset discount rate was tied to the pension fund rate of return.

Rate of return goes down to 7.5%, discount rate goes down (up?) to 7.5%.

Friday, May 02, 2014 11:27:00 AM  

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