A Tale Of Two Public Pension Plans

Two public pension plans started off in the same spot before the Global Financial Crisis and went through the same investment markets since then but ended up in very different spots.

The plans — let’s call them “O“ and “C” for now — reported nearly equivalent “funding ratios” (the ratio of pension assets set aside to meet pension liabilities; the higher, the better) before the crisis, both lost big in the crisis, and both participated in the subsequent stock market boom. But their funding ratios diverged, with B’s plummeting 16 percent and O’s improving 10 percent as of their most recent published annual reports. The difference arises largely from two factors...