The Colorado PERA Board of Trustees convened for three days in Colorado Springs for its annual September planning session. The planning session concluded with the Board meeting on Friday, Sept. 22.
Over the course of the three days, Trustees engaged in a number of discussions, education sessions, and planning meetings. Below is a summary of some of the highlights and important actions the Board took.
Executive Director search
The Board committee tasked with overseeing the search for PERA’s next Executive Director announced to the full Board that it has selected an outside firm to assist in that search. Hudepohl & Associates, a firm with experience in executive searches for public pension plans, will conduct a nationwide search over the coming months.
CEM Benchmarking Report
Each year, CEM Benchmarking releases a report comparing PERA to other public pension plans on factors such as plan administration costs and the quality of services provided to members. The most recent report, which CEM presented at the planning session, shows PERA continues to provide a high level of service at low cost to its members relative to its peers.
According to CEM, PERA’s administrative cost was $55 per member in 2022, below the peer average of $63. PERA’s service score of 83 was the 10th highest of the 61 pension systems around the world that were included in the report. Among its peers of similarly sized U.S. plans, PERA ranked fourth.
Notably, the report showed that most plans are seeing an increase in wait times and call lengths on their customer service phone lines in recent years, and PERA is no exception. Staff have been taking steps to improve service levels, including upgrading phone systems and better forecasting staffing needs to meet members’ expectations.
An important action the Board undertakes every few years is conducting what’s called an asset/liability study. The last study was completed in 2019.
The asset/liability study is what ultimately informs PERA’s strategic asset allocation — or the mix of stocks, bonds, and other investments that make up PERA’s portfolio.
Over the next several months, PERA’s investment consultants will work with staff and the Board to discuss PERA’s long-term investment goals, risk tolerance, expectations of future performance and other factors to determine if PERA should adjust its asset allocation . A notable change that resulted from the last study was allocating slightly more of the portfolio to global equity.
The Board will discuss the asset/liability study further at its November meeting, with the possibility of finalizing the study as soon as next spring.
The Board will hold its final meeting of 2023 on Nov. 17.
Global equityA type of investment that includes publicly traded stocks in companies based in the United States and abroad.Asset allocationAn investor’s mix of stocks, bonds, and other investments. PERA’s strategic asset allocation is set by the PERA Board of Trustees.BenchmarkA tool used to measure performance. For example, an investor can use a stock index as a benchmark to measure his/her own investment performance compared to the market as a whole.