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Don Fuerst was the American Academy of Actuaries’ Senior Pension Fellow. In this role, he was the actuarial profession’s chief policy liaison on pension, Social Security, and other retirement issues. He promoted the formulation of sound retirement policy by providing nonpartisan technical assistance to legislators and regulators.
Before joining the Academy, Don was a Senior Partner and retirement consultant in Mercer’s Denver office where he advised corporate clients for more than 30 years on design, funding and compliance issues related to retirement programs.
Don is the author of several papers on retirement design and funding including “Affordable Retirement Income Through Savings and Annuities” (2009) a winner of the Society of Actuaries Retirement 20/20 competition, “Risk Allocation in Retirement Plans, A Better Solution,” (2007) winner of the 2007 Hanson Prize, and “A Proposal for Pension Funding Reform” (2005, co-authored with Ethan Kra).
Don’s primary background is the design and financing of retirement programs, both broad-based qualified plans and non-qualified supplemental executive plans. He has been instrumental in the development of several new pension plan designs including indexed-career accumulation plans and variable benefit plans, in particular the Retirement Shares Plan. He has assisted companies undergoing mergers, acquisitions, and downsizing. He has designed alternative benefit structures for clients experiencing dramatic changes in their work force, including many early retirement incentive programs.
Don has testified before the U.S. House of Representatives, Select Committee on Aging and the Senate Finance and Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committees, and the California Public Employees Post-Employment Benefit Commission.
Don graduated from Regis University in Denver with a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and is a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries, a Member of the American Academy of Actuaries, a Fellow of the Conference of Actuaries, and an Enrolled Actuary. He served for seven years as a member of the American Academy of Actuaries Committee on Accounting for Pension Costs, and for four years on the Society of Actuaries Education and Examination Committee.