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The 2014 Pension 40: Edward (Ted) Siedle

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Edward (Ted) Siedle
President
Benchmark Financial Services
PNR

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.

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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