Timothy Blake avoided managing for most of his 30-year career in public finance. But in 2011 the Brooklyn native took the plunge when Moody’s Investors Service persuaded him to leave his position as a municipal credit specialist at Goldman Sachs Group to rejoin the rating agency, where he had worked from 1998 to 2006 as a senior credit analyst. In his new role Blake oversees state and municipal government rating teams, as well as a group that handles letter-of-credit ratings. He also heads up Moody’s 12-person pension task force, which includes representatives from the firm’s rating teams. “Our remit has been to elevate the role of pension analysis in our general rating analysis,” says the 52-year-old Blake, who has a degree in finance from the State University of New York at Albany. “We identified in the wake of the Great Recession and the stock market crash that growing pension costs had become a systemic credit pressure for the public sector.” In July 2012, under Blake’s direction, Moody’s issued a request for comment on proposed modifications to the way it incorporates pension data into its analysis, including the use of fair market value to measure assets (instead of the traditional asset smoothing) and a market-based discount rate using a taxable bond index to calculate the present value of future liabilities rather than the conventional expected investment rate of return. Applying its new methodology, which went into effect in 2013, Moody’s has reported a growing divergence in the health of U.S. private and public pensions. By switching to defined contribution plans, corporations have reduced their pension risk, but states and municipalities have seen unfunded liabilities grow despite meeting return targets during the recent bull market in U.S. equities.