Funston Advisory Services's Our Blog

PA SERS Board Approves Policies for Governance Manual

September 12, 2018

The board of the Pennsylvania State Employees’ Retirement System, during its meeting today, approved several key policies for a comprehensive governance manual and approved the investment policy and default investment option for the defined contribution plan to launch in 2019. The governance manual is the product of a multi-year project to evaluate board structure and policies, as well as industry best practices, and to establish an enhanced framework for the board’s structure, committees, duties, and responsibilities. The board engaged Funston Advisory Services, LLC, to conduct the review and its 2016 report became the basis for the governance manual. The policies adopted today will be effective immediately. To view the press release click here:

Pensions & Investments interview with Rick Funston

July 19, 2017

Rick Funston was interviewed by Sophie Baker of Pensions & Investments at the P&I 4th Annual Global Future of Retirement Conference in New York City. Rick tells P&I that good governance is ultimately about improving the performance of organizations charged with offering participants retirement security. To view the video, click here:,%20managing%20partner,%20Funston%20Advisory%20Services%20LLC/0_0ynuice9

Rick Funston speaks on panel at Pensions & Investments' Global Future of Retirement conference

July 3, 2017

On June 27, 2017, Rick Funston spoke on a governance panel, along with Derek Dobson, CEO and plan manager of the College of Applied Arts & Technology Pension Plan, Ontario, and Sadayuki Horie, senior researcher with Nomura Research Institute, at the Pensions & Investments Global Future of Retirement Conference in New York City. For a summary of the comments made by the panel, click here:

“Public fund trustees facing host of difficult challenges”

June 26, 2017

The June 26, 2017 issue of Pensions & Investments includes an article about the myriad of challenges facing public pension systems and their trustees. The article discusses examples with the New Mexico Educational Retirement Board, Dallas Police & Fire Pension Fund, and the Kentucky Retirement System, and includes comments from FAS team members Rick Funston, Randy Miller, Keith Johnson and Keith Ambachtsheer. To read the article, click here:

Indiana PRS considers internal investment management

June 26, 2017

In 2016, the Indiana Public Retirement System (INPRS) engaged a joint team of Cutter Associates and Funston Advisory Services to help them consider the feasibility of moving the management of some portions of the fund portfolio in-house. This is an increasing trend about major public pension funds in the U.S. as a means of reducing investment management fees and improving overall fund performance. The results of the Cutter/FAS study were presented to the INPRS Board of Trustees on June 23, 2017, as reported by Pensions & Investments in an article which can be found here:

"South Carolina Retirement System Investment Commission nearing end of governance overhaul"

June 26, 2017

A recent Pensions & Investments article describes the impact of 2014 Funston Advisory Services fiduciary performance audit on the South Carolina Retirement System Investment Commission's (RSIC) governance and investment processes and subsequent pension reform developed and passed by the General Assembly and signed by the Governor. The RSIC has been implementing virtually all of the FAS recommendations and has significantly improved its governance and investment operations. To read the article click here:

World Business Council for Sustainable Development releases new report, “Sustainability and enterprise risk management,” launched at the World Economic Forum in Davos

January 18, 2017

The WBCSD report marks the first step in bridging the gap between the way companies consider sustainability issues in their risk management processes, and the way they disclose these risks to investors. The WBCSD is committed to helping companies move toward using, understanding and disclosing their sustainability risks and opportunities. This report creates a starting point for future efforts. The report demonstrates that there is more work to do in translating sustainability risks into the language of businesses, and the importance for companies to use mainstream risk disclosure models (such as COSO or ISO enterprise risk management frameworks) to bridge the gap.Rick Funston was one of a number of risk management experts across academic and consulting institutions who were asked to contribute to this report. Rick's contribution, "A Risk Intelligent View of the Competitive Ecosystem," can be found on page 32 of the report. To download the report, click here...

FAS Report on the New York State Common Retirement Fund released by the New York State Comptroller

July 15, 2016

On July 14, 2016, New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli released the "Fiduciary and Conflict of Interest Review of the New York State Common Retirement Fund" report prepared by Funston Advisory Services. The New York State Common Retirement Fund is the third largest public pension fund in the United States with estimated assets of $178.1 billion as of March 31, 2016. The Fund holds and invests the assets of the New York State and Local Retirement System on behalf of more than one million state and local government employees and retirees and their beneficiaries. The press release can be viewed at full FAS report is available on the Comptroller's website at Media reporting which referenced our report included:ABC News: "Outside Review Says NY Pension Fund Responsible, Needs...

The Risk-Intelligent Public Pension Trustee in Government Finance Review

May 24, 2016

May 24, 2016 April 2016 Government Finance Review is the Government Finance Officers Association’s (GFOA) bimonthly membership magazine. It publishes articles in the forefront of the public finance profession. The April 2016 edition features an article written by Rick Funston and Randy Miller which addresses evolving public pension governance challenges and suggests potential approaches for improving governance policies, structures and decision-making processes. Click here to read the article.

NYC Pensions Begin ‘Critical’ Reforms

March 17, 2016

March 16, 2016 This article describes the focus put on talent development and recruitment after a 398-page review of the bureau’s operations highlighted understaffing as an area in need of “critical” attention. According to the article, “Given that the 240 recommendations made by Funston encompass more work than can likely be completed before Comptroller Scott Stringer’s term ends December 2017, Evans said the goal is to tackle the most severe issues now while creating a foundation for lasting change.”Click here to read the article.

“PA's pension crisis, in retrospect” explains how public pension assumptions are critical.

February 29, 2016

February 26, 2016 The Sentinel, a newspaper in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, provides an insightful examination of how pension assumption changes passed by the Pennsylvania legislature 15 years ago, combined with chronic short contributions to the two statewide public retirement systems, have combined to create a significant under funding situation which will be very difficult to resolve. Click here to read the article.

​FAS report on New York City Bureau of Asset Management released

January 29, 2016 ​FAS report on New York City Bureau of Asset Management released

On January 26, 2015, New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer released the “Management and Operations Study and Best Practices Review” report Funston Advisory Services prepared as part of our assessment of the NYC Bureau of Asset Management (BAM). BAM invests and manages $160 billion in funds on behalf of the five major New York City retirement systems. The press release can be viewed here.The full FAS report is available on the Comptroller’s website here. Media reporting which referenced our report included:The New York Times: “New York City’s Pension System in Danger of ‘Operational Failure,’ Report Says”Pensions & Investments: “NYC Retirement Systems faces high ‘operational risk’ without reforms — report” “'Serious Issues' in NYC Pension Investment Operations”Reuters: “NYC's pension operations need to be brought into 21st century: comptroller” “Report Reveals Stress Points in NYC Pension System” The Bond Buyer:...