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Pension Fund

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NEWS
August 8, 2010 | By Miriam Hill, Inquirer Staff Writer
When they introduced it in 1999, Philadelphia officials called it "the Winnebago plan. " That nickname for the retirement program known as DROP symbolized what it was supposed to do - give longtime city workers a retirement check big enough that they could buy a Winnebago or fulfill some other small dream, paid for with their own pension money. And, everyone agreed at the time, officials would end the Deferred Option Retirement Program, or DROP, if, after three years, it turned out that it cost the city money.
NEWS
February 18, 1990 | By Paul Krieger, Special to The Inquirer
Last year was a very good year for Chester County's pension fund. For the first time, the fund cracked the $50 million level, buoyed by stock holdings that appreciated 36 percent in the general rebound on Wall Street during 1989. Investment performance last year capped a six-year trend that has seen a doubling in the county's pension investments that are set aside for future retirees. But, the growth in the Chester County Retirement Fund to $53.19 million by year's end will have little impact on the pension benefits for county employees.
BUSINESS
October 26, 1987 | By MARC MELTZER, Daily News Staff Writer
As the aftershocks of last week's market crash unfold in coming months, the pain felt so deeply by individual investors could spread to others. Many people may believe that, because they didn't own any stock directly, the swift and sharp decline in stock prices can't possibly affect them. However, virtually everyone who is covered by a pension plan has a stake in how well the stock market performs. Pension plans are significant institutional players in the stock market.
NEWS
February 20, 1986 | By JUAN GONZALEZ, Daily News Staff Writer
A dramatic growth in investment returns from the city's employee pension fund during 1985 will save at least $5 million in next year's city budget, officials estimate. The fund achieved a 29.7 percent return on investments last year, nearly a three-fold increase over the 10.7 percent return of 1984, boosting assets from $932 million to a record $1.2 billion, according to Deputy Director of Finance Curtis O. Townsend. Townsend, who is also the city's pension fund assets manager, and City Controller Joseph Vignola, a member of the Board of Pensions and Retirement, attributed the good return to a boom year on Wall Street and to the city's hiring last year of 10 private pension-fund consultants to diversify and manage fund investments.
NEWS
October 4, 1987 | By Nancy Scott, Special to The Inquirer
Yeadon property owners will have to contribute fewer of their tax dollars to the police pension fund next year. Councilman Aris Karalis announced Thursday that this year's actuarial study of the pension showed that the council could slash the borough's contribution by more than half - from $78,000 to $31,000. The study is done every other year, as required by state law. The council has been working for five years to improve the status of the pension fund, which was found to be underfunded.
NEWS
October 12, 1990 | By Bob Warner, Daily News Staff Writer Staff writers Dave Davies and Anthony S. Twyman contributed to this report
City Councilman David Cohen reportedly is interested in using the $1.7 billion city pension fund to bail out the cash-short city operating budget - but the idea appears to have little support. Mayor Goode told reporters yesterday that Cohen had raised the possibility Wednesday afternoon at a meeting between Council members and the mayor. Goode said he didn't know enough about the idea to discuss it, and Cohen declined comment yesterday on any aspect of the city's financial problems.
NEWS
October 20, 1987 | By JUAN GONZALEZ and HOWARD SCHNEIDER, Daily News Staff Writers
The record-shattering plunge of Wall Street stocks yesterday had city finance officials scurrying to the phones to ask the professionals who manage the city's pension fund about its financial health. But the prognosis won't be in until at least today. Some $730 million - nearly half of the pension fund's value - was in stocks as of the end of September, and the rest was invested in municipal bonds and real estate, said Peter Crescitelli, acting director of the city's Board of Pensions and Retirement.
NEWS
November 20, 1990 | By Anthony S. Twyman and Joseph R. Daughen, Daily News Staff Writers Staff writers Bob Warner and Dave Davies contributed to this report
A last-ditch lobbying effort by pensioners and the city's fire and police unions may spell death for a measure deemed crucial to the city's short-term financial future. Council members have been inundated with phone calls from angry union members and city employees opposing a plan for the city to borrow money from their pension fund. It appears enough Council members have abandoned their support of the bill that would permit the municipal pension fund to make the loan to place the legislation in danger.
NEWS
January 4, 1992 | By Amy S. Rosenberg, Inquirer Staff Writer
A Common Pleas Court judge approved a settlement yesterday deferring $19 million in payments by Philadelphia to its pension board. City officials say this will free about $30 million to pay overdue bills from health and human service providers. The agreement, signed by Judge Abraham J. Gafni, requires the city to pay $10 million to the pension fund on Feb. 3, and roughly $9.3 million on Feb. 16, plus 11 percent interest. A $10 million payment was made Thursday. City Solicitor Charisse R. Lillie said the delay in payment would boost the city's weekly cash balance to an average of about $62 million, about twice the cushion that the city would have been left with had it been forced to pay all of the $29.3 million on Thursday.
NEWS
November 21, 1987 | By Russell Cooke, Inquirer Staff Writer
Philadelphia's municipal pension fund suffered a $151.6 million paper loss as a result of the Oct. 19 stock market crash, but pension officials this week said the drop would have no affect on either taxpayers' contributions to the fund or on municipal retirees. The drop in value represented about 10 percent of the $1.5 billion fund, which provides benefits for about 25,000 retirees and their beneficiaries. Between Sept. 30 and Oct. 30, the market value of stocks owned by the fund declined from $732.
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NEWS
April 14, 2016 | By Robert Moran, Staff Writer
A former firefighter was convicted by a jury in Camden County on Tuesday of fraudulently collecting a state disability pension while competing in mixed martial arts and earning his black belt in jujitsu, prosecutors said. Shane B. Streater, 41, of Camden, was found guilty of second-degree theft by deception after a weeklong trial before Superior Court Judge John T. Kelley. Streater was a Camden City firefighter when he applied for an accidental disability pension in 2009, claiming that he could no longer perform his job because of two alleged work-related injuries to his back and neck.
NEWS
April 9, 2016 | By Tricia L. Nadolny, Staff Writer
City Council will take a closer look at a proposal to save the city's underfunded pension fund with buyouts, an idea recently raised by City Controller Alan Butkovitz. "I think we need to be creative," said Councilman Derek Green, who called for the hearing Thursday. "We have a very challenging pension situation right now. . . . We need to put everything on the table. " The city's pension fund is $5.7 billion short of its $11 billion obligation. Butkovitz has proposed that the city offer cash buyouts to retirees who would then surrender their lifelong pensions.
BUSINESS
March 13, 2016 | By Joseph N. DiStefano, Staff Writer
The $52-billion-asset Pennsylvania Public School Employees' Retirement System lost money last year, trailing the performance of the Pennsylvania and New Jersey state worker pension investment returns for 2015, according to a report the system released Friday. PSERS reported losing 1.8 percent for the 12 months ended Dec. 31. SERS , the Pennsylvania state workers' fund, last month reported a gain of 0.5 percent for 2015. NJDI , the New Jersey Division of Investment, reported a gain of 0.6 percent.
NEWS
March 11, 2016
ISSUE | PHILA. PENSIONS Buyouts - a start City Controller Alan Butkovitz's proposal to offer pension buyouts could help stabilize the pension fund ("Buyouts a possible pension solution," Monday). Businesses have tried to stabilize their struggling pension plans by offering pension buyouts. But this shifting of risk and responsibility can have dire consequences for the retiree. I suspect that most city retirees, myself included, lack the financial skills to prudently manage a large sum of money over a lifetime.
NEWS
March 8, 2016 | By Claudia Vargas, Staff Writer
City Controller Alan Butkovitz thinks he has a solution for Philadelphia's staggeringly underfunded pension fund: buyouts. Butkovitz is proposing that the city offer up-front cash payments to retirees, who, if they took the option, would surrender their lifelong pensions. The payments would represent only a portion - say, 50 percent - of what a retiree could expect to receive over a lifetime. Still, a fair number of retirees might be enticed by the prospect of a cash windfall they could invest on their own, Butkovitz said.
NEWS
March 2, 2016
ISSUE | CITY PENSIONS Money-saving moves The story about the Philadelphia Pension Board's approval of $7.7 million in bonuses next year downplayed and omitted important steps taken to help the pension fund's long-term health ("Anemic pension fund OKs bonuses, Saturday). The board's vote to lower its assumed earnings rate from 7.8 percent to 7.75 percent was not mentioned until the last sentence. Lowering that rate has many positive impacts, including requiring the city to contribute more.
NEWS
February 28, 2016 | By Claudia Vargas, Staff Writer
The Philadelphia Pension Board received the grim news this week when it learned the pension fund lost $218 million of its value in fiscal year 2015. That did not stop the board from approving $7.7 million in pension bonuses to retirees next year. Why would the board approve such a payout from the fund that is more than $5.7 billion short in its obligations? Because it is required to, thanks to legislation that was sponsored by now-Mayor Kenney in 2007 when he was a city councilman.
NEWS
February 26, 2016
Philadelphia's pension crisis, as Finance Director Rob Dubow has noted, is unfolding like the plot of the science fiction classic The Blob . The movie's menace started as a small, gelatinous lump found outside Phoenixville. The more it ate, the bigger it got, until it threatened to engulf the entire town. The city pension fund's ravenous appetite has more than doubled in 15 years. It now devours 15 percent of Philadelphia's general fund. That's money that won't be spent on services like caring for abused children or staffing libraries.
BUSINESS
February 19, 2016 | By Joseph N. DiStefano, Staff Writer
Mayor Kenney promised Wednesday to "increase the ease of doing business in Philadelphia" and bring back jobs, laying out his economic agenda to the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce. Chamber president Rob Wonderling praised Kenney's "highly collaborative, highly engaging" approach, adding that Kenney's agenda is familiar because the mayor supported many recommendations of the chamber's "Grassroots Roadmap for Growth" campaign. Wonderling said he wasn't concerned that Kenney's plans lacked details for proposed business and wage tax cuts.
NEWS
February 18, 2016 | By Claudia Vargas, Staff Writer
Philadelphia's fiscal watchdog has called for city officials, the Pension Board, and the city's municipal unions to do something to address the looming pension crisis. "We felt as a board that we wanted to remind the administration and City Council and others of PICA's interest in this topic and to respectfully suggest that all parties work together for this very serious matter," Suzanne Biemiller, who chairs the Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority, said during Tuesday's board meeting.
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