Tennessee Treasurer Lillard Discusses Pension Plans’ Future At Forum

  • Tuesday, June 11, 2013

After successfully lobbying for major pension reforms in his own state, Tennessee Treasurer David H. Lillard, Jr. is participating in a national forum this week in Alexandria, Va. about the challenges facing public pension plans.

Treasurer Lillard, who is also Secretary-Treasurer of the National Association of State Treasurers and Chair of the State Debt Management Network, is one of the panelists in a forum titled, “Public Pension Funding and Public Disclosures.”The forum, sponsored by the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board, will examine financial issues related to the future of public pension plans and the adequacy of disclosure to investors in securities offered by state and local governments that have pension plans.

Earlier this year, Treasurer Lillard recommended changes for the Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System, which provides pension benefits to state workers, K-12 public teachers and other public employees in Tennessee.

Those changes were adopted by the Tennessee General Assembly and signed into law by Governor Bill Haslam.

The changes are designed to provide a sufficient retirement benefit for employees while holding down the state’s liability for pension expenses in the future. The state will offer future employees a hybrid retirement plan that combines a defined benefit component with a defined contribution plan, with both the state and the employees contributing to each of the components.

“The timing of this forum is excellent because state and local governments all across the country are taking a fresh look at the sustainability of their pension plans,” Treasurer Lillard said. “The cost of providing pension benefits is one of the largest– if not the largest – employee benefit line items in many government budgets. It makes sense to look at options to current pension plans and also examine whether securities investors are getting adequate information about plan finances when they buy municipal bonds. I thank the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board for hosting this event.”

The three-day forum began at the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board’s headquarters in Alexandria June 7 and concludes today. The audience at today’s session includes representatives from various groups, including federal regulatory officials, employee and retiree organizations and other stakeholders in public pension plans.

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