NASRA: Moody’s “Manipulated” Pension Data To Overstate Pension Liabilities

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The National Association of State Retirement Administrators (NASRA) issued a strongly-worded letter yesterday accusing rating agency Moody’s of using “manipulated” pension data to paint a bleak picture of public pension systems around the country.

From Reuters:

The letter, dated Oct. 8, follows the publication of a report by Moody’s last month that claimed public pension liabilities had tripled to $2 trillion from 2004 to 2012 and that public pension funds had been taking on greater risk to make up the shortfall.

“With Moody’s latest report, concerns regarding the potential mischaracterization and misuse of these manipulated pension numbers have been more than realized,” the National Association of State Retirement Administrators said in the letter.

The unusually sharp rebuke from NASRA signals its growing impatience with Moody’s, which has taken the strongest stance of all the major ratings agencies over the risks it believes public pension funds could pose to municipal finances.

The letter is also the latest twist in an ongoing debate over the politically charged issue of public defined benefit pensions. The right says the plans are unsustainable and a drag on local tax payers and the left see them as a financial safety net that keep retired municipal workers out of poverty.

Read the full letter below:

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Photo by Andreas Poike via Flickr CC License

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