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Moore: Siedle Award Underscores His Credibility

Monday, July 24, 2017

 

Edward “Ted” Siedle

I guess Edward “Ted” Siedle really isn’t just “some blogger."

That’s how Governor Gina Raimondo so ineloquently referred to him several years ago when he began leading the charge to expose how she, as Treasurer, transferred hundreds of millions of dollars in wealth from the Rhode Island pension fund into the deep pockets of Wall Street money managers.

But when you’re on the losing side of an argument, I guess that’s what you do--make an ad hominem attack. Attack the man, not the argument. Doing the right thing--you know, what’s best for everyone and just--would be unthought of, apparently.

GoLocal reported on Friday that Siedle is in line for a massive payout from the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission), somewhere in the ballpark of $48 million. Siedle is slated for the award because he exposed the fact that mega bank JPMorgan failed to alert its clients that it was steering their money into investments that would be most profitable to the bank.

A Watchdog

The tips, one from Siedle, led to an enforcement action by the SEC that forced JPMorgan to pay a $300 million settlement.

When Ted Siedle talks, smart people listen.

The SEC program rewards and incentivizes individuals who come forward with information that would protect investors. It’s a sensible program. People who do the right thing deserve to be rewarded.

Rhode Island should create and implement some sort of a program that would reward individuals who provide information that would root out waste, fraud, and abuse in state government programs. That would save the state money.

Of course, if we had such a program in place, we’d probably be paying Siedle as well.

In 2013, when Raimondo began reshaping the pension fund investment strategy by diverting money away from traditional, most cost effective so-called “passive” investments that largely mirror the performance of the stock market into the highly opaque world of hedge funds with mammoth fees, Siedle cried foul.

Siedle On Point

At the same time, the state undertook pension fund reforms that scaled back the benefits that teachers and state workers would expect to earn going forward. A large portion of the money that was saved from those reforms went out the door to Wall Street.

But what about the pension fund’s performance? Do you get what you pay for?

Of course not. The state pension fund performed poorly when compared to its peers after switching over to the hedge fund investments.

Current Rhode Island General Treasurer Seth Magaziner--a Raimondo ally, no less--announced a new investment strategy last year called “back to basics."  It’s more or less a return to lower cost investments that, ironically, deliver better performance.

Let’s face it: it’s a de facto acknowledgement that Siedle (and other critics) were right all along.

Proof Positive

But here, there will be no awards, or monetary rewards, or even a thank you to Siedle.

Still, doing the right this is the best option because in the end, good things happen to good people.

This SEC reward to Siedle should serve as proof positive.

Russell J. Moore has worked on both sides of the desk in Rhode Island media, both for newspapers and on political campaigns. Send him email at russmoore713. Follow him on twitter @russmoore713.

 

Related Slideshow: The Highest Paid Early Retirees in the RI Pension System

Below are the top 20 highest paid retirees in the state pension system who retired at age 45 or younger. Data are current as of June 30, 2014 and were obtained directly from the General Treasurer’s office. Estimates of age and annual pension are GoLocalProv calculations. Ages were calculated by comparing birth year with retirement year. The data did not include months and dates for either. The annual pension and total amount paid since retirement are provided for each. Retirees are listed in order of lowest paid, of the top 20, to the highest. 

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#20

Name: Raymond Daguanno

Year Retired: 1990

Estimated Age at Retirement: 44

Gross Annual Pension: $30,529

Total Paid out Since Retirement: $421,024

Retired From: State Government

Retirement System: State Employees

Prev Next

#19

Name: Charles Rallis 

Year Retired: 1990

Estimated Age at Retirement: 45

Gross Annual Pension: $38,571

Total Paid out Since Retirement: $425,046

Retired From: Coventry Public Schools

Retirement System: Teachers

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#18

Name: Edward Bradley 

Year Retired: 1990

Estimated Age at Retirement: 44

Gross Annual Pension: $31,880

Total Paid out Since Retirement: $430,918

Retired From: Barrington Public Schools

Retirement System: Teachers

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#17

Name: Normand Crepeau 

Year Retired: 2004

Estimated Age at Retirement: 43

Gross Annual Pension: $45,630

Total Paid out Since Retirement: $438,809

Retired From: Woonsocket Police Dept.

Retirement System: Municipal Employees (MERS)

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#16

Name: Sidney Bachman 

Year Retired: 1998

Estimated Age at Retirement: 45

Gross Annual Pension: $40,522

Total Paid out Since Retirement: $442,162

Retired From: State Government

Retirement System: State Employees

Prev Next

#15

Name: Richard Grant 

Year Retired: 1997

Estimated Age at Retirement: 45

Gross Annual Pension: $42,279

Total Paid out Since Retirement: $450,703

Retired From: State Government

Retirement System: State Employees

Prev Next

#14

Name: Margaret Dunn 

Year Retired: 2002

Estimated Age at Retirement: 44

Gross Annual Pension: $41,688

Total Paid out Since Retirement: $454,457

Retired From: State Government

Retirement System: State Employees

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#13

Name: Susan Gemma 

Year Retired: 1990

Estimated Age at Retirement: 42

Gross Annual Pension: $30,669

Total Paid out Since Retirement: $456,192

Retired From: State Government

Retirement System: State Employees

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#12

Name: William McCombe 

Year Retired: 2004

Estimated Age at Retirement: 45

Gross Annual Pension: $46,955

Total Paid out Since Retirement: $457,339

Retired From: New Shoreham Police Dept.

Retirement System: Municipal Employees (MERS)

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#11

Name: Robert Thomas 

Year Retired: 1999

Estimated Age at Retirement: 45

Gross Annual Pension: $41,194

Total Paid out Since Retirement: $458,916

Retired From: North Kingstown Fire Dept.

Retirement System: Municipal Employees (MERS)

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#10

Name: Glenn Parrillo 

Year Retired: 2001

Estimated Age at Retirement: 45

Gross Annual Pension: $43,179

Total Paid out Since Retirement: $469,691

Retired From: State Government

Retirement System: State Employees

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#9

Name: Daniel Wheelan 

Year Retired: 1990

Estimated Age at Retirement: 45

Gross Annual Pension: $37,481

Total Paid out Since Retirement: $470,891

Retired From: State Government

Retirement System: State Employees

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#8

Name: Diane Lowe Verdolotti 

Year Retired: 1990

Estimated Age at Retirement: 43

Gross Annual Pension: $34,046

Total Paid out Since Retirement: $478,871

Retired From: Providence School Dept.

Retirement System: Teachers

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#7

Name: Barry Couto 

Year Retired: 1990

Estimated Age at Retirement: 42

Gross Annual Pension: $33,509

Total Paid out Since Retirement: $481,039

Retired From: State Government

Retirement System: State Employees

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#6

Name: James Razza 

Year Retired: 1990

Estimated Age at Retirement: 45

Gross Annual Pension: $37,993

Total Paid out Since Retirement: $491,360

Retired From: Middletown Public Schools

Retirement System: Teachers

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#5

Name: Edward Whiteside 

Year Retired: 1990

Estimated Age at Retirement: 45

Gross Annual Pension: $39,996

Total Paid out Since Retirement: $499,137

Retired From: Central Falls Collaborative

Retirement System: Teachers

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#4

Name: Robert Gaipo 

Year Retired: 1990

Estimated Age at Retirement: 45

Gross Annual Pension: $37,878

Total Paid out Since Retirement: $500,287

Retired From: State Government

Retirement System: State Employees

Prev Next

#3

Name: Andrew Lindh 

Year Retired: 1990

Estimated Age at Retirement: 45

Gross Annual Pension: $42,078

Total Paid out Since Retirement: $528,990

Retired From: State Government

Retirement System: State Employees

Prev Next

#2

Name: Paul Brousseau 

Year Retired: 2000

Estimated Age at Retirement: 45

Gross Annual Pension: $54,066

Total Paid out Since Retirement: $588,071

Retired From: State Government

Retirement System: State Employees

Prev Next

#1

Name: Christopher O'Neil 

Year Retired: 1990

Estimated Age at Retirement: 45

Gross Annual Pension: $53,502

Total Paid out Since Retirement: $646,775

Retired From: State Government

Retirement System: State Employees

 
 

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