Colorado PERA’s Board of Trustees met on Friday, September 11. In the meeting, the Board reviewed a report assessing its governance procedures and heard reports from staff, among other agenda items.
PERA Executive Director Ron Baker noted the continuing ways in which PERA has adapted to a vastly changed environment. Baker shared with the Board up-to-date membership statistics:
PERA’s Chief Investment Officer, Amy C. McGarrity, updated the Board on market conditions and PERA’s portfolio. She noted that the quick recovery seen in public equities has been as much as a surprise as the onset of the global pandemic and swift market decline.
This recovery, however, has been uneven as a few companies account for a significant portion of the recovery while other economic indicators, like employment, still face serious challenges ahead.
She added that, while the investment team did reallocate funds within asset classes in the preceding months, these changes were made within the framework of the Board’s asset allocation policy rather than a tactical move.
Patrick Lane, PERA’s Chief Benefits Officer, shared a report outlining PERA’s service delivery so far this year. The number of retirements through July 31 is nearly identical to 2019. And, despite PERA’s physical buildings being closed to the public since March, PERA counselors have performed nearly as many individual counseling sessions as in 2019. However, PERA has processed nearly 15% more benefit estimates and 20% more applications to purchase service credit compared to last year.
Other details Lane shared include:
- Member savings in PERAPlus 457 plans recently crested $1 billion for the first time.
- The call center has answered 122,976 calls through July 31. The most frequent questions have been about health care, web access, and retirement planning.
- 93,347 people are enrolled in PERACare plans.
- The Field Education team quickly moved their curriculum to online-based webinars and have reached more than 15 times as many people through digital means compared to 2019.
The Board routinely has third parties assess its procedures and operations. Cortex Applied Research, the Board’s governance consultant, analyzed the Board’s governance framework and fiduciary best practices. Their findings included:
- PERA’s Governance Manual “ranks very highly; it is consistent with the published standards in almost all respects and generally meets or exceeds the practices of the peer group.”
- The Manual “is among the most detailed and comprehensive manuals in the Peer Group.”
- “The code of conduct was also particularly strong.”
- PERA’s Governance Manual is held up as an example in multiple industry publications.