Monday, October 27, 2014

Seth Magaziner 2014 performance as analyst

      After fabricating a track record as money manager. Seth was admonished by the CFA . No longer calling himself a money manager he refers to himself as an "investment professional" (a vice president "analyst" of financial stocks) . He makes $50,000 to $100,000 a year not a managers salary.
     Now Seth refuses to identify his picks as an analyst. Once touting himself as having the "strongest returns bar none"  I decided to review Trillium's portfolio for financial holdings. The picks were Seth's. His performance year to date is down over 2% with this mornings crash in Banco Bradesco. The portfolio was filed with the SEC a week ago. Positions , picks  and ytd are accurate. Don't expect the media including Projo to be rigorous about Magaziners qualifications, don't expect Eugene Emory to even have a clue.
      Arm yourself with FACTS and try to distribute them despite RI media attempts to hide the truth.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Providence vote for Mayor is easy call

Pilot and Copilot are dead and the plane called "Providence " is in free-fall and on fire. All but three of the  hundreds of passengers  are passed out. One is an ex-pilot and a felon who has crashed a plane before. The other two have no flight experience at all or ability to handle the airplane.

Choose the felon.

Michael G Riley

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Seth Magaziner dressed down by Almonte

Almonte Campaign Questions “Family Money” Spent in Treasurer’s Race
Nearly 45 Days After Question Was First Asked, Magaziner’s ‘Family Money’ Response Raises More Questions than it Answers

Cranston, R.I. - Following a Providence Journal report that the $550,000 Seth Magaziner loaned to his own campaign was a combination of personal income and “family money,” Evan Petrone, campaign manager for Ernie Almonte released the following statement:

“Rhode Island General Law prohibits anyone, except the candidate, from contributing or loaning more than $1,000 to a campaign or candidate in a calendar year. Mr. Magaziner admitted the $550,000 he loaned to his campaign came from earnings from his job and 'family money.' Frankly, his response raises more questions than it answers.

Campaign finance laws do not allow candidates to take financial gifts or loans from family and funnel it into a campaign. If Mr. Magaziner’s parents gave him money after he became a candidate, this would be a clear violation of campaign finance law.

If the money came from a family trust, why isn't the trust listed on his ethics disclosure?

But the real question is why it took him so long to answer. He dodged the question, not giving an answer for almost 45 days. This is exactly the kind of behavior one would expect from a second-generation political insider with a sense of entitlement who believes the rules don't apply to him.

How willing someone is to answer questions truthfully and in a timely manner speaks directly to that individual’s character and integrity. It took almost 45 days for Mr. Magaziner to offer a response to these questions, and even then, his response was so vague that it raised more questions than it answered.

Transparency is an issue of critical importance to the treasurer’s office. If Mr. Magaziner believes that Rhode Islanders don’t care about truth, timeliness, and transparency, he’s sadly mistaken.”


The Providence Journal reported Mr. Magaziner stated that the $550,000 he loaned to his campaign came from earnings from his job and from “family money.”

Rhode Island General Law prohibits anyone, except the candidate, from contributing or loaning to the campaign or candidate over $1000.00 in a calendar year.
The Rhode Island Ethics Commission Financial Statement requires that candidates “list the name of any trust, name and address of the trustee of any trust, from which you, your spouse, or dependent child or children individually received $1,000 or more gross income.”
The Rhode Island Ethics Commission Financial Statement also requires that candidates list all sources and amounts of income in excess of two hundred dollars ($200).
Magaziner submits Initial Notice of Organization, July 3, 2013

Filing Amendments for Seth Magaziner: Initial Notice of Organization

Magaziner announces candidacy, October 22, 2013

Magaziner files 2013 Yearly Financial Statement, July 17 2014

(Magaziner 2013 Yearly Financial Statement attached)

Rhode Island General Laws § 17-25-10.1  Political contributions – Limitations.(a)(1) No person, other than the candidate to his or her own campaign, nor any political action committee shall make a contribution or contributions to any candidate, as defined by § 17-25-3, or political action committee or political party committee which in the aggregate exceed one thousand dollars ($1,000) within a calendar year, nor shall any person make contributions to more than one state or local candidate, to more than one political action committee, or to more than one political party committee, or to a combination of state and local candidates and political action committees and political party committees which in the aggregate exceed ten thousand dollars ($10,000) within a calendar year, nor shall any political action committee make such contributions which in the aggregate exceed twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000) within a calendar year, nor shall any candidate or any political action committee or any political party committee accept a contribution or contributions which in the aggregate exceed one thousand dollars ($1,000) within a calendar year from any one person or political action committee.

Rhode Island General Laws § 17-25-3 (2) "Candidate" means any individual who undertakes any action, whether preliminary or final, which is necessary under the law to qualify for nomination for election or election to public office, and/or any individual who receives a contribution or makes an expenditure, or gives his or her consent for any other person to receive a contribution or make an expenditure, with a view to bringing about his or her nomination or election to any public office, whether or not the specific public office for which he or she will seek nomination or election is known at the time the contribution is received or the expenditure is made and whether or not he or she has announced his or her candidacy or filed a declaration of candidacy at that time.

Monday, October 6, 2014

why Providence choses 8.25%

Ri shrugs
the unvarnished truth ,. An effort to bring the analysis of Municipal and State pension liabilities, and opeb into   compliance with  GOVERNMENT Accounting STANDARDS

We use  GASB 68 projections and  moody,s methodology  to make apples to apples comparisons of pension liabilities and funding policies.

A discussion about Pension Discount rates and why Providence choses 8.25%

Providence Rhode Island Mayor Angel Taveras  is in his final few months of office and to hear his losing message as candidate for Governor , he "saved the city from bankruptcy" and a category 5 hurricane  left  by the previous mayor and current Congressman David Cicilline  who characterized Providence economy  as in “ excellent  condition”. This excellent condition was repeated by ad nauseum by Projo , WPRI and WJAR.  Later, when Taveras became the next mayor and called it a “category 5” hurricane, they cheered the New Democratic Mayors heroic efforts to “save the city” and then dutifully both the seemingly  blindsided  Mayor Taveras and the Providence Journal endorsed the proven Liar , David Cicilline. for Congress. Projo followed on, by then endorsing Taveras for R hode Island Governor ,if not tacitly, certainly  through the ink of partisan journalist K. Gregg..
There is a dirty little secret about municipal finance, politics and the municipality's choice of actuary or favorite reporter. You see Government accounting allows for wide disagreement over expected returns on assets and then allows use of that return expectation to discount liabilities regardless of funding ratio and the riskiness of either the assets or liabilities. The honor system is the only restraint.  Mayors and treasurers quickly learn that the higher the "discount rate" the lower the present value of liabilities and less pressure on the budget. They can effectively lower their contributions to funding pensions by simply changing the discount rate. Politicians know this and Actuaries know this. Like chocolate and peanut butter they naturally combine to produce sweet outcomes for both politicians and governments who want to spend and since the costs of properly  funding a pension plan  disappear there is no pain of increase taxes or angry taxpayers either.  Could a politician have it any better than this? So many politicians jumped on it and passed the cost of funding pensions to future generations in full view of the public workers who simply negotiated more wages and benefits certain that they were guaranteed a retirement regardless of whether the politicians properly funded it or not. Feigned ignorance is bliss. The Public workers gained both ways through increased government spending and future promises that were unaccounted for. The union leadership clearly understood this "money tree" as did the politicians. Its arguable whether the average public employee knew this as well. So the magic money producer was the discount rate, the higher the better, cities and towns shopped for the most lenient actuary. Not so strangely, the worst funded plans display the highest discount rates. The tongue in cheek explanation by  the actuary typically goes like this “ our choice of financial managers and asset allocation will be superior to other plans, therefor 8.25% is appropriate even though Warren Buffet uses 6% for his estimate. We are just that good.”
Let’s talk Providence
       Of course this line of thinking defied all logic but GASB and logic parted ways when government plans were excluded from ERISA many years ago. Providence choice of 8.25% is laughable. Never mind that Taveras has inappropriately already overstated assets by calling next years  pension contributions as an asset this year. (why wouldn’t every plan do that? :answer because its illegal)  In 2012 Taveras reported Assets in the pension Plan were $421 million dollars compared to the real  market value of $247 million.  GASB is so fed up with accounting abuses like this that they are working in a very bureaucratic and political way to end abuse. Actuarial asset smoothing as used by Taveras is gone and an attempt to rein in wild return assumptions is underway. The accounting profession has been attempting to bring reality to government accounting through GASB 67 &68 and has notified Providence of the coming changes as far back as the Cicilline administration. Providence officials have made no effort to clarify GASB effects on purpose, because Providence Rhode Island for some time has been among the worst funded pension systems in America, even when using phony numbers.
 Some Mayors, administrators and actuaries like Providence’s have misled the public for years now.  Other municipal leaders across the nation had a moral compass and did not abuse the public. As far as misleading bond holders and the Public goes , Providence reigns supreme.  These violations are an SEC focus and the last few years in Providence the deception has been even worse  under the direction of Finance Director Mancini and Chair of the investment Commission Angel Taveras. The first transgression was the use of an outrageously high discount rate of 8.25%, which not so coincidently reduced the “stated “Unfunded Accumulated Actuarial liability (UAAL ) by  roughly $800 million from  Taveras Claim of $900 million to Moody’s $1.7 billion . In reality todays Funded Ratios are closer to 11% to 16% when proper accounting for Assets and liabilities are used and calculated according to Moodys , Riley/Stanford model or GASB 68.That table appears below :

Point of view                   Assets        AAL ( Actuarial Accrued Liabilities)      UAAL (unfunded Liability)             FUNDED Ratio %
Taveras 2012(post reform) 8.25%
$421 million
Moody’s 6%
$ 327 million
Riley /Stanford
$ 270 million
Gasb 68 (2014)
Blended rate 5%

$ 270 million
2002 Cianci
$340 million

Providence has clearly misled everyone and individual violators should be prosecuted by the SEC. Bondholders, taxpayers (both state and providence and pension beneficiaries are entitled to the unvarnished truth.