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Accomplishments

ACCOMPLISHMENTS TO DATE:
INVESTMENT/MUNICIPAL EMPLOYEES’ RETIREMENT FUND (MERF):
  • Maintained a strong pension fund, which is one of the components contributing to the City`s excellent bond rating
  • Produced a 8.7% return (versus the 7.75% assumed rate of return) on the investment of the MERF assets bringing the value of the assets to $1.03 billion from $940 million as of 10/30/2014
  • Success of investment program results in lower cost of pension fund to City taxpayers through required contributions from the City as employer
  • Maintained conservative, prudent stance; replaced weaker managers with stronger ones
  • Portfolio increasingly  diversified to capture higher returns and reduce risk
  • More than 40% of MERF trades placed through brokerage houses with local Hartford offices and through emerging (female and minority-owned) firms
  • Created an Economically Targeted Investment Program (ETIP)to assist in the stabilization and investment in local businesses
  • Released $600,000 from the Hartford Parks Trust Fund for the beautification and capital improvements to our City`s parks and cemeteries
  • Advised as a member of the Golf Task Force on the improvements needed to the City’s golf courses
  • Made commitments of $27.5 million to four new private equity funds
  • Created a real estate asset class totaling $80 million to 7 firms two of which, Cornerstone and Landmark Partners are local
  • Created a hedge fund asset class totaling $50 million to one fund of funds manager, $25 million of this commitment was dedicated to emerging and minority-owned firms
  • Created a Private Debt Asset Class totaling $35 million in commitments, two of which are  minority-owned firms
  • Renewed a $1 million loan to the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) and began participating on the Board of LISC, a group that supports subsidized low income housing development in Hartford
  • Implemented a new monitoring program for the City of Hartford`s deferred compensation plan investment options and the related expense credits
  • 3,000 retirees are reliably paid each month in pension payments now totaling $98 million per year
  • Reduced cycle time for processing of benefit claims from several months to seven business days
  • Prepared and published  Pension Benefit  Summary Plan Descriptions (SPD) for all collective bargaining groups as well as for nonunion affiliated personnel
  • Established an automatic Employer/Employee pension contribution system with the Board of Education to increase the ability to invest funds faster and for a longer period of time
  • Advised the Pension and Health Task Force as to best practices for lowering pension and healthcare costs
  • Conducted an Asset Liability Study
  • Rewrote the Funding and Investment Policy Statement, which governs all investment decisions made by the Pension Commission
BOND DEALS:
  • Completed a restructuring of our debt portfolio that generated $56 million in debt service relief over the next five years and maintained our investment grade credit rating
  • During Fiscal 2013-2014, the savings from debt restructuring were $17 million, applied against the $70millioin City budget deficit
  • Received a two notch upgrade from  (“A to “AA-“) from S&P that will provide lower borrowing costs to the city
  • Completed a of $132 million bond sale that generated $13 million in savings to the City’s FY 15 budget deficit
CASH MANAGEMENT:
  • Invested City`s temporarily idle cash aggressively to capture higher returns,relieving pressure on the General Fund and taxpayers
  • Streamlined processes regarding the maintenance of bank accounts
  • Utilized technology to facilitate secure and prompt payments of paychecks and vendor checks
  • E-Payable and P-Card  programs yielded the City of Hartford $111,000 in 2014 savings
  • Organized and hosted bank fairs for city residents and Hartford employees
  • Worked with all of our banking relationships to increase their charitable giving and to provide broader loan generation within the City of Hartford
OTHER:
  • Developed an official and informative website for our constituencies
  • Organizing loan seminars throughout the community
  • Developing an Internship Program for our high school students in Hartford
  • Recipient of Trustee of the Year Award for excellence in pension fund management
  • Continue to reach out to our constituencies in educating them about their pension benefits and offering free counseling sessions as needed
  • Creating a loan program to assist people facing foreclosure within the city
  • Invited to the White House to share ideas on how to attract and retain minority investment firms
  • After the closure of the Northend Bank of America branch, worked with Bank of America to donate the building to Hartford Municipal Employee`s Federal Credit Union.  Grand opening is expected in June 2015.
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