On Tuesday, July 18, the Kalmanovitz Initiative hosted a luncheon discussion on a fundamental challenge facing working people in America: retirement security. More specifically, the event focused on the enormous fees paid to Wall Street fund managers who invest workers’ pensions in risky alternative assets such as private equity and hedge funds. These fees were highlighted in a groundbreaking report from the American Federation of Teachers, whose author Elizabeth Parisian shared that workers stand to gain billions of dollars if these fees are slashed. As Maurice Weeks from the Action Center on Race and the Economy pointed out, each dollar that goes to Wall Street financiers comes at the expense of working families largely from communities of color.
We were encouraged to hear from AFT President Randi Weingarten that their union is taking on exorbitant Wall Street fees by working with pension funds to expose the worst systemic actors and close the carried interest tax loophole. Eileen Appelbaum from the Center on Economic and Policy Research offered valuable insights regarding how private equity and hedge funds often fail to deliver the high returns that are promised and cloak the true rate of return from investors altogether. KI Director Joseph McCartin offered introductory remarks and facilitated the discussion between the panelists and audience members.
Those interested in joining the effort to reduce the fees that have compromised worker retirement security and crippling state budgets can take the following steps:
- Share AFT’s report with their union leadership, pension fund trustees, group membership, or elected elected officials.
- Request complete alternative investment fee data from pension funds that they participate in or engage.
- Invite the event’s panelists to meet with members of their union, organization, or speak at an upcoming meeting.
Enjoy these photos from the event in the gallery below.