Edward (Ted) Siedle has spent more than three decades pioneering pension forensics, searching out excessive and hidden fees, conflicts of interest and transparency problems. A year and a half ago, Siedle, founder of Ocean Ridge, Florida–based Benchmark Financial Services, sought to reveal the untold story of public pensions. He contends that many governments’ solution to underfunded pensions, which he characterizes as cutting benefits and boosting allocations to opaque, expensive and risky alternative investments, is not reform but a wealth transfer to Wall Street. “The political solution that’s been proffered, driven by campaign contributions from alternatives managers, is a doomed investment strategy,” says Siedle, 60, who has a JD from Boston College Law School and oversaw compliance for Putnam Investments. In an April 2013 blog post on Forbes’s website, he launched a fiery attack on Rhode Island’s pension reform, led by then–general treasurer, now Governor-elect, Gina Raimondo (No. 14). Siedle was then hired by a Rhode Island public employee union to investigate and produced a report assailing what he called the state’s high hedge fund fees, lack of transparency and potential violations of the law. He applauds the California Public Employees’ Retirement System’s move to exit hedge funds but faults CalPERS for not being more forthright in admitting to the role underperformance played in its decision. “There are no [public pension] funds that I’m aware of that have solved anything by alternative investments,” he says. The best investment strategy for public pensions, Siedle asserts, is to reject skyrocketing fees and demand full transparency.