M-RCBG Associate Working Paper No. 128

Better Measurements: Risk Reporting for Public Pension Plans

Emily Kessler
Robert Stein
Greg Mennis
Susan Banta
Thomas J. Healey
Fatima Yousofi



As most states across the country grapple with growing public pension funding gaps, the importance of measuring and understanding the risks taken by public retirement plans has never been more critical. Against that backdrop, the Harvard Kennedy School's Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business & Government convened a conference on September 21, 2018, entitled "Better Measurements: Risk Reporting for Public Pension Plans." This gathering of over 40 pension policy experts -- including regulators, practitioners, and academics--addressed ways to better measure, report, and manage pension plan risk in a way that supports planning and decision-making not just by fiduciaries, but also by policymakers. While opinions varied, common themes and recommendations emerged around each of three questions tied to public pension risk metrics.

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