Attention U.S. public pension fund trustees: Von M. Hughes has your back. His new book — "U.S. Public Pension Handbook: A Comprehensive Guide for Trustees and Investment Staff" — is a guide to the role and responsibilities of a public pension fund trustee.
Mr. Hughes said he repeatedly encountered frustration from public pension fund trustees about their fiduciary responsibilities throughout the more than 20 years he's served in client-facing roles in the institutional investment management industry. In addition to his role as partner and managing director at hedge funds-of-funds manager PAAMCO Prisma LLC, Irvine, Calif., Mr. Hughes took on the task of researching and codifying the requirements of the job of pension fund trustee.
"I wrote this book to fill a basic need in the marketplace because nothing like it existed for the U.S. market," Mr. Hughes said, noting there is a marked scarcity of publicly available information about how to run a public pension fund in the U.S.
The 496-page handbook addresses a range of topics pertinent to pension fund oversight including plan design, actuarial valuation, investment policy and governance.
"I wrote the book that I wish existed for my own work with public pension fiduciaries and investment staff," Mr. Hughes said, noting that the scarcity of readily available information about how U.S. public pension plans operate makes it hard for trustees to do their jobs.
"I wrote this book to provide pension fiduciaries with one source that offered a basic review of the public pension topics relevant and necessary to their jobs," Mr. Hughes added.
The key to surmounting the challenges trustees face in building sustainable public pension funds is knowledge about pension operations, one trustee said.
"This book is quintessential bedside table reading for trustees and (pension) staff alike," said Henry Jones, trustee and president of the board of administration of the $372.8 billion California Public Employees' Retirement System, Sacramento, in the forward to the guidebook.
The handbook, published by McGraw Hill, will be available in digital and brick-and-mortar bookstores on Aug. 23.