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To solve its pension crisis, Maryland should change how its funds are invested

Originally published in the Washington Post

Public Pensions

by Christopher B. Summers

OP-EDS

FEBRUARY 14, 2017 Bookmark and Share

Regarding the Feb. 9 editorial “A return to pension gimmickry ”:

One of the most effective ways to solve Maryland’s pension crisis is to change how pension funds are invested.

Our research estimates that Maryland pays up to $590 million in fees to money managers and gets subpar returns in exchange for these fees. The state’s pension fund earned an average 4.85 percent return over the past 10 years — well short of the fund’s 7.55 percent target.

Maryland should shift at least a portion of its pension fund to passive, low-cost index funds to reduce exorbitant active-management fees and to more closely mirror appropriate market benchmarks.

With a $20 billion cumulative shortfall in our pension system, we truly cannot afford the status quo.

Christopher B. Summers, Rockville

The writer is president and chief executive officer of the Maryland Public Policy Institute.