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Part-time work eyed for Japan civil servants near retirement

The Japan Times

The National Personnel Authority is considering allowing retired public servants of the central government age 60 or older to be rehired on a part-time basis once the retirement age is raised, informed sources said Wednesday. Those eligible for the rehiring system will be workers who quit their jobs after turning 60, the current retirement age, which the government plans to raise to 65 in stages beginning in fiscal 2021. Rehired officials are expected to be able to work until the end of March in the fiscal year in which they reach the extended retirement age of 65, the sources said. The rehiring system is designed to diversify work styles for senior government employees who find it difficult to continue working full time due to physical limitations or a need to care for family members. The personnel authority is expected to present detailed plans for extending the retirement age as early as next week when it makes its annual pay recommendations for central government employees.

California's pension crisis: Sustaining sweetened benefits

Los Angeles Times

To the editor: Thank you for initiating such an important investigation into the pension time bomb facing California taxpayers. I wondered why it was that no provisions were included in the 1999 legislation to periodically renegotiate based on actual investment returns? To maintain sustainability, I think there should have been a renegotiation every five years to adjust a combination of benefit levels and employee and employer contributions. After reading your first installment, it became clear why this didn't happen. We must muster the political will to do something to eliminate the corruption and incompetence that caused the problem in the first place.

A city pension board vote could add to Los Angeles' budget woes

Los Angeles Times

The agency that delivers retirement benefits to thousands of Los Angeles city employees is looking to scale back its investment projections -- a move that could blow a hole in an already precarious municipal budget. The board that oversees the Los Angeles City Employees' Retirement System will meet Tuesday to consider cutting its "assumed rate of return," the yearly expected earnings for its investment portfolio, from 7.5% to 7.25%. The move is expected to shift about $38 million in retirement costs onto the city's general fund, which pays for police patrols, firefighter staffing and other basic services, in mid-2018. The pension board also has the option to pursue a more dramatic step: taking the investment assumption to 7%, which would add $93 million to the city's yearly pension burden, officials said. City Councilman Paul Koretz, who represents part of the Westside, said he thinks a move to 7% would be "way too extreme" for the city budget.

Most Japanese firms see positives in raising retirement age amid tight labor market: poll

The Japan Times

More than half of Japanese companies are planning to raise the retirement age of their workforce, a Reuters poll shows, with many saying it would alleviate the labor shortage and harness the expertise of veteran workers. In the country, most companies require full-time employees to retire at 60, with an option of an additional five years' work on reduced pay and adjusted terms. The system is a keystone of the traditional jobs-for-life employment structure where workers are virtually guaranteed employment from graduation to retirement. However, a shrinking and aging population is forcing change. The government intends to raise the pensionable retirement age to 65 by 2025 to keep more people in the workforce and reduce pressure on a shriveling tax base and rising social welfare bill.

Orange County employee pension fund alleges big banks are costing retirees money

Los Angeles Times

Three major public pension funds, including the Orange County Employees Retirement System, have sued a half-dozen Wall Street banks, alleging they illegally conspired to control a corner of the stock market, leading to higher charges for the funds and thus less money for retirees. In a lawsuit filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in New York, the funds allege Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley and UBS worked together since at least 2009 to "boycott, attack and acquire multiple entities" that tried to lower costs in the stock loan market. That market is composed of institutions that lend stock to one another, a practice frequently employed by pension funds that allows for complicated financial transactions such as short selling and hedging. Plaintiffs' attorney Michael B. Eisenkraft, a partner at Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll, said the banks for years have colluded to maintain "their power over this little-known-but-lucrative corner of Wall Street." "In doing so, they deprive investors of money that should flow to retirees, families and other hard-working Americans," he said in a statement.