US public pensions failing on operational risk

Outdated systems and lax controls mean it may only be a matter of time before a US public sector pension plan experiences a major operational risk failure

Red warning light

It sounds like an operational risk manager's worst nightmare.

As recently as 2003, the State Employees' Retirement System of Illinois was printing paper cheques to transfer funds between the state treasury and the bank accounts used to pay retirement benefits. At one point, the plan's accountant had paper cheques totalling almost $1.7 billion on his desk.

"We had a batch of seventeen $99 million cheques, because the system couldn't generate anything higher than that," says Tim Blair, director of

Only users who have a paid subscription or are part of a corporate subscription are able to print or copy content.

To access these options, along with all other subscription benefits, please contact or view our subscription options here:

You are currently unable to copy this content. Please contact to find out more.

Sorry, our subscription options are not loading right now

Please try again later. Get in touch with our customer services team if this issue persists.

New to View our subscription options

You need to sign in to use this feature. If you don’t have a account, please register for a trial.

Sign in
You are currently on corporate access.

To use this feature you will need an individual account. If you have one already please sign in.

Sign in.

Alternatively you can request an individual account here