Desi Talk – that’s all you need to know 12 NATIONAL AFFAIRS January 8, 2021 Sheila Patel S heila Patel. chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management (GSAM) is leaving the $1.8 trillion division after almost two decades at the firm, reported Bloomberg on Dec. 28. Patel, 51, joined Goldman Sachs in 2003 as a man- aging director and was named partner in 2006. She will step down from the partnership and become an advisory director in the new year, Chief Executive Officer David Solomon said in a memo to staff Monday, Bloomberg reported. In her role at GSAM, Patel leveraged her knowledge of portfolio solutions, sustainable finance, emerging growth themes, governance and other key long-term trends to advise clients, according to her biography on the Goldman Sachs website. Patel also oversaw GSAM’s Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) and impact investment initiatives. Patel serves on Firmwide Management Commit- tee, European Management Committee, the Sustainable Finance Steering Group and the Goldman Sachs Leader- ship Development Initiative. Prior to her current role, Patel served as Co-Head of Equities Distribution in Asia and was Head of US Derivative Sales and US Synthetics Sales in the Equities Division. She was head of Trading Strategy at Morgan Stanley for seven years before joining the Goldman Sachs. Patel is a board member of the Pacific Pension & Investment Institute and a member of 100Women in Finance. She is a member of Princeton Universi- ty’s Global Leadership Committee, Women in Lead- ership Initiative and sits on the Advisory Council for the MS Chadha Center for Global India. Ms. Patel serves as an honorary board member of EcoHealth Alliance and is also a board advisor to GallopNYC. “Sheila has contributed to our culture, includ- ing by serving as a mentor to many Goldman Sachs professionals around the world,” Solomon added in the memo. “I look forward to benefiting from her continued counsel.” Sheila Patel is stepping down from her role as chair- man of Golden Sachs Asset Management to Advisory Director. Indian-American Chairman At $1.8 Trillion Goldman Sachs Unit To Retire By A StaffWriter Photo Courtesy:Goldman Sachs For Thousands, Social Security Checks Aren’t Even In The Mail T he Social Security Administration’s internal watchdog has bit it, again, for shortchanging beneficiaries, this time as employee and advo- cacy groups are pushing for the removal of its political appointees. A report from the agency’s inspector general’s office is replete with complaints about the agency failing to make people whole. Based on random sampling outlined in its Dec. 11 report, the inspector general estimated that the Social Security Administration (SSA) did not issue payments to 27,724 eligible recipients owed $52.1 million and did not locate 17,772 people eligible for approximately $90.4 million. In one case, inspectors sampled 71 underpaid beneficiaries in October 2019 and April 2020, but the agency did little to make things right. “As of September 2020,” according to the report, “SSA took action to pay underpayments for six cases. SSA had not taken correc- tive action for the remaining 65.” A Social Security statement said the agency is reviewing the remaining cases. Its assurance that SSA “will complete corrective actions in accordance with policy” provides nothing now for those with long waits and little savings. For an organization that is paying 65 million Ameri- cans more than $1 trillion in 2020, the underpayments are barely noticeable in the aggregate. But a few thou- sand dollars each can be huge for the many thousands of individuals who did not get money owed. “It is important to emphasize that these are earned benefits that people are being deprived of through no fault of their own,” said Nancy Altman, president of Social SecurityWorks, an advocacy organization. Just as money is a problem for those who didn’t get Social Security checks, money is one reason the agency can’t get the checks out on time, according toWeb Phil- lips, an analyst and consultant with the National Com- mittee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare. Social Security has too much to do for its staff and resources, said Phillips, who worked there for three decades. “This is being driven by the availability of re- sources,” he said. “It’s not that there are bad people who don’t care. It’s just that they have to triage the work that they’ve got.” The inspector general’s reproach was issued just two days after two federal employee unions, the Association of Administrative Law Judges and the National Council of SSA Field Operations Locals (Council 220), declared no confidence in President Donald Trump’s Social Security appointees. That same week, Social Security Works said Social Security Commissioner Andrew Saul and Deputy Commissioners David Black and MarkWar- shawsky should be removed “immediately.” Council 22 also urged their removal. Encouraging President-elect Joe Biden “to uproot Trump’s Social Security underminers,” Social Security Works began a petition drive in November calling for their ouster. It has more than 230,000 signatures. The inspector general’s report provides more am- munition for that campaign. One section of the report carries the heading “No Evidence of the Agency Attempting to Locate Eligible Individuals.” In cases with deceased recipients whose relatives or estates are eligible to receive payments, Social Security must locate the potential recipients. In its sample, the inspector general’s office said “SSA did not pay $21,363 on behalf of 10 deceased beneficiaries. . . . We found no evidence of SSA employees’ attempts to contact or locate eligible individuals for the payments due to these deceased beneficiaries.” Time and again, the inspector general’s report said “we found no evidence,” or similar wording, to describe Social Security’s repeated failures to appropriately ad- dress the problems of underpayments, including: – “We found no evidence that SSA took action to pay the beneficiaries based on the last address on record or notify the beneficiaries of the underpayment.” __”We found no evidence SSA attempted to locate the 25 beneficiaries or individuals in our sample who may have been eligible for $127,113 in underpay- ments.” __ “We found no evidence of SSA employees’ at- tempts to contact or locate eligible individuals for the payments due to these deceased beneficiaries.” – “We found no evidence of systems alerts to remind SSA employees to resolve the underpayments.” Rep. John B. Larson, chairman of the HouseWays and Means Social Security subcommittee, called the report’s finding “alarming.” “Underpayments are just as important as overpay- ments,” said Larson, D-Conn., “and SSA leaders need to pay as much attention to preventing and correcting underpayments as they do to overpayments.” Next month, his panel will examine reasons for the errors and ways to fix them. Speaking as “the Republican leader on Social Secu- rity,” Rep. Tom Reed, R-N.Y., promised to hold SSA ac- countable. “It’s not fair that in some cases the SSA pays people less than they’ve earned, and the SSA needs to do better,” said Reed, the subcommittee’s ranking minority- party member. SSA said underpayments are not a recurring prob- lem, but years of reports tell a different story. A 2008 inspector general’s office investigation said the agency “needed to improve its controls and procedures to ensure underpayments were appropriately paid.” The office has issued more than three dozen reports identify- ing underpayments in the past four years, with several indicating underpayments far greater than those in the current report. “We are committed to ensuring that beneficiaries receive correct and timely payments,” SSA’s statement said, citing a “multiyear project to automate the release of some underpayments for deceased beneficiaries.” For advocate Altman, the problem is not just tech- nology, but also ideology. In the past 40 years, she said, the majority of Senate-confirmed SSA commissioners were nominated by Republicans. “SSA’s misplaced focus on overpayments rather than on all improper payments (including underpayments),” she wrote by email, “is the result of decades of Republi- can leadership that’s focused on preventing people from getting the benefits they’ve earned.” -TheWashington Post By Joe Davidson REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo A sign is seen on the entrance to a Social Security office in New York City, U.S., July 16, 2018.