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The 2014 Pension 40: Timothy Blake

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Timothy Blake
Managing Director, Public Finance
Moody’s Investors Service
PNR

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.

The 2014 Pension 40

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Bruce Rauner
Illinois
John and
Laura Arnold

Laura and John
Arnold Foundation
Randi Weingarten
American Federation of Teachers
Rahm Emanuel
Chicago
David Boies
Boies, Schiller & Flexner
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Randy DeFrehn
National Coordinating Committee for Multiemployer Plans
Damon Silvers
AFL-CIO
Laurence Fink
BlackRock
Chris Christie
New Jersey
Robin Diamonte
United Technologies Corp.
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Ted Eliopoulos
California Public Employees’ Retirement System
John Kline
Minnesota
J. Mark Iwry
U.S. Treasury Department
Gina Raimondo
Rhode Island
Phyllis Borzi
U.S. Labor Department
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Orrin Hatch
Utah
Abigail Johnson
Fidelity Investments
Ted Wheeler
Oregon
Caitlin Long
Morgan Stanley
James Hoffa
International Brotherhood of Teamsters
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Amy Kessler
Prudential Financial
Alejandro
García Padilla

Puerto Rico
Christopher Klein
U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Caifornia
Steven Rhodes
Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Michigan
Kevin de León
California
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David Draine
Pew Charitable Trusts
Jordan Marks
National Public Pension Coalition
Sam Liccardo
California
Joshua Rauh
Stanford Graduate School of Business
Karen Ferguson and Karen Friedman
Pension Rights Center
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Timothy Blake
Moody’s Investors Service
Kathleen Kennedy Townsend
Center for Retirement Initiatives, Georgetown University
Edward (Ted) Siedle
Benchmark Financial Services
Daniel Loeb
Third Point
Judy Mares
Employee Benefits Security Administration, U.S. Labor Department
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Andrew Biggs
American Enterprise Institute
Andy Stern
Columbia University
Kenneth Mehlman
KKR & Co.
Teresa Ghilarducci
New School for Social Research
A. Melissa Moye
U.S. Treasury Department


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