October 2020
Develop Your Pension Fund Management Skills with Online Training
Public pension fund trustees and administrators may register for a free half-day online conference hosted by the Texas Association of Public Employee Retirement Systems to earn credit satisfying state-mandated training requirements.

PRB Investment Committee Suggests Changes to 2019 Reporting Law
The Investment Committee of the Pension Review Board of Texas agreed on Sept. 29 to take the next step in strengthening Senate Bill 322, the 2019 law requiring independent evaluations of pension system investments. As a result, during its Nov. 12 meeting, the Board is likely to pass and send the recommendations to the Legislature for possible implementation in 2021.

Public Employees Embody
Community Dedication
Each month, TEXPERS searches the internet for stories of Texas public employees going the extra mile to help their communities.

Check out what we found this month.

Members Can Now Track Earned Continuing Education Credits on TEXPERS' Website
The Texas Association of Public Employee Retirement Systems (TEXPERS) recently launched its redesigned website. The website, www.texpers.org, offers a user-friendly browsing experience for the association’s members, prospective members, and business partners.

Membership Magazine
The fourth and final edition of TEXPERS Pension Observer for 2020 will be emailed to members later this month. Due to pandemic social distancing recommendations, TEXPERS' membership magazine has been produced digitally only. However, expanded editions of the magazine have been created for our members. If you missed most recent edition, Vol. 3, in your email box, here it is.

Click here or on the magazine cover at left to access your digital flipbook.
Mark Your Calendar

TEXPERS Half-Day Online Conference
9 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. CST, Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020
Free Virtual Conference

U.S. Listed Companies from China - Buyer Beware
Noon CST, Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020
Free Webinar Presented by NCPERS

Real Estate Investing: Is Your Portfolio Positioned
for Tomorrow's World?
10 a.m. CST, Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020
A Free TEXPERS Webinar Presented by Nuveen

Texas & U.S. Public Pensions
Judge Rules Houston Pension Plan Unconstitutional
TEXAS | BLOG POST - On Oct. 7, State District Judge Beau Miller, in no uncertain terms, struck down the provisions of Senate Bill 2190 which made fundamental changes to the City of Houston’s retirement plan for its firefighters as violating the Texas Constitution. The potential consequences for the City could hardly be more consequential.

Houston Firefighters Pledges
$30 Million to Infrastructure
TEXAS | NEWS - Houston Firefighters' Relief and Retirement Fund committed up to $30 million to EQT Infrastructure V. The $4.2 billion pension fund's board approved the commitment to the infrastructure fund managed by EQT Partners at its Sept. 15 meeting, recently released meeting minutes show.

Subscription may be required to access article.
Texas Teachers Assigns $420 Million to Alternatives
TEXAS | NEWS - Texas Teacher Retirement System, Austin, made four new alternative investment commitments totaling $420 million in September, spokesman Rob Maxwell said in an email.

Subscription may be required to access article.
Texas County Commits $85 Million to
Signal Capital Partners Fund
TEXAS | FUND REPORT - Texas County and District Retirement System pledged up to $85 million to Signal Alpha II Fund, according to information on on the fund's website.

The pledge was made during its September 2020 board meeting.


Additional Information
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Texas Employees CIO Tom Tull to Retire
TEXAS | NEWS - Charles Thomas “Tom” Tull has announced plans to retire as chief investment officer of the Austin-based Texas Employees Retirement System, spokeswoman Mary Jane Wardlow said Oct. 1.

Tull plans to leave the $29 billion pension system in the summer of 2021.

Subscription may be required to access article.
New Jersey to Make Largest Pension Contribution in State History
NEW JERSEY | NEWS - New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy (D) and lawmakers have agreed on a plan to make the largest public pension contribution in the state’s history, moving to ensure the solvency of a chronically underfunded system at a time of great economic uncertainty.

Connecticut Makes
Historic Payment to Pension Fund
CONNECTICUT | NEWS - For the first time ever Connecticut is making an additional contribution to its pension fund to help pay down some of the unfunded pension liability. 

City Axes Cost of Living Provision for
'13th Check' Rule
MISSOURI | NEWS - City of Hannibal officials replaced the cost of living provision with a new '13th check' rule. If certain criteria are met, recipients would get a 13th check that is equal to a normal months' check.

City officials said the requirements are more strict, and they reduce the retirement funds liability while increasing available funds, things they said are critical as this fund is separate from other city workers retirement funds.

Education, Research, and Studies
Click image to play YouTube video.
NIRS Report: Rising Risks and Costs Threaten Americans’ Retirement Security
The hurdles to a secure retirement for Americans are becoming more daunting than ever as the shift from pensions to 401(k) pushes retirement risk onto workers' shoulders. That is the key finding of a new study, The Growing Burden of Retirement: Rising Costs and More Risk Increase Uncertainty, published by the National Institute on Retirement Security (NIRS).

NCPERS Report: Ten Ways to Close Public Pension Funding Gaps
What are the options when a public pension funding gap develops? Financial shortfalls can and do occur for a number of reasons. Employers may withhold their required contributions; economic and market upheaval may deal setbacks; fiscal priorities may shift; investments may sour.

Closing the gap is always an imperative. Unfortunately, when financial issues are urgent, simplistic solutions such as shutting down defined-benefit plans in favor of 401(k)-like plans tend to receive excessive focus. The National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems (NCPERS) is committed to shedding light on solutions that are not only less drastic but that contribute in the long run to retirement security for dedicated public servants and more prosperous communities for all.

2020 Public Plan Investment Update and
COVID-19 Market Volatility 
State and local pension funding is the product of two key factors: required contributions and investment returns. Achieving the actuarially assumed return is critical to limit increases in contributions (for plan sponsors, participants and, ultimately, taxpayers). Even though financial markets have recovered from the crash sparked by the COVID-19 pandemic, most public pension plans will close fiscal year (FY) 2020 – which generally ends in June – with an annual return that falls short of actuarial expectations.

State and local plans, on average, outperformed their assumed return in FY 2019 (the most recent reported annual data), with an average return of 8.9 percent compared to the average actuarially assumed return of 7.2 percent. However in early 2020, the financial markets were severely affected by the COVID-19 global pandemic and subsequent economic shut-down. Even though the market has recovered from the March crash, average returns for public plans in FY 2020 will fall short of actuarial expectations.

401(k)/IRA Holdings in 2019:
An Update From the SCF
Though the economy has been overtaken by COVID-19 and the ensuing recession, the Federal Reserve’s 2019 Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF) still provides a useful update on how retirement balances fared between 2016 and 2019 – three years of solid economic growth, strong stock market returns, and continued maturation of the 401(k) system. And given that the market is modestly higher in 2020 and most job losses have been borne by lower-paid workers without retirement plans, 2019 balances may not be dramatically different from today.

The big advantage of the SCF is that it provides information not only on 401(k) balances, much of which is available from financial services firms, but also on household holdings in IRAs, which are largely rollovers from 401(k)s. This brief reports on household holdings in these two sources combined. 

State & U.S. Economy
September Sales Tax Revenue in
Texas Down 6.1% From a Year Ago
TEXAS | NEWS - Texas collected about $2.6 billion in state sales tax revenue in September, state Comptroller Glenn Hegar said Thursday. That total is 6.1% less than what the state collected in September 2019.

Education, Hospitals, Police Protection are Largest Government Employment Categories
US | REPORT - Education makes up the majority of state and local governments’ employment, according to the latest report from the Annual Survey of Public Employment and Payroll.

The survey shows statistics on the number of state and local government civilian employees and their gross payrolls for the month of March 2019, including state and local government full- and part-time employment, full-time equivalent employment and payroll statistics by governmental function.

Public Pensions' New Inflation Dilemma
US | OPINION - Caught between the Federal Reserve's new strategy for managing inflation and historically low bond yields, the plans now need to take a fresh look at their actuarial assumptions and inflation protection.

Public Pensions and Infrastructure Investing 
COLUMN - Each recent Congress and presidential administration has begun with grand promises of comprehensive infrastructure investment legislation and the resulting massive numbers of new jobs and economic growth. Unfortunately, after running into the age old question of how to pay for the infrastructure projects, Congress and presidents of both parties have shown little appetite for rolling up their sleeves and finding an acceptable solution.

Regarding promises to deliver big on infrastructure legislation, this election season is no different and there is no doubt that bipartisan legislative action on infrastructure is long overdue. 

Texas Legislature Meets in Less Than
100 Days. How Will it Look?
NEWS - The Texas Capitol is a bustling place when the Legislature is in session — the elevators are crowded, the hallways are packed, the committee hearing rooms are overflowing and the chamber floors are covered with state lawmakers.

But with less than 100 days until the 87th regular session and the coronavirus pandemic still upending once-regular ways of life, it’s unclear what typical functions at the Capitol will look like in January, or whether they will even exist.

Election Scams Surface with
the General Election
BLOG POST - Multiple voting organizations are expressing concerns over fake election-related websites that look like official voting resources, but contain false or misleading information, as well as phishing emails that are designed to gather personally identifiable information or spread malware. Some states are also seeing scammers trying to trick voters with phony text messages, like in California, where they mimic ballot-tracking text services. The FBI and Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency want to help people spot and avoid every form of election scam.  

Navigating Office Politics When
There is No Office
BLOG POST - Across jobs, companies, and industries, people’s success has always depended not just on what they produce or deliver, but also on their ability to navigate the murky waters of office politics. A great deal of scientific research has explored the hidden potent forces underlying the formal and informal power dynamics in any group or organization, unsurprisingly highlighting the pervasive and sometimes toxic nature of office politics. But what happens to office politics when you remove the office?

October is National Retirement Security Month
NEWS RELEASE - NAGDCA announced on Sept. 2 that it has extended National Retirement Security Week to National Retirement Security Month, to be observed during October. NAGDCA conceived and facilitated congressional endorsement of National Retirement Security Week in 2006. NAGDCA is the premier professional association for plan administrators and services providers of government-sponsored defined contribution retirement plans.

America's Racial Wealth Gap in
Retirement Savings
BLOG POST - Saving for retirement is no easy feat. For people of color in the United States, it’s just another reminder of the yawning racial wealth gap.

How Much Trouble is Social Security in if
Valued with Market Interest Rates?
BLOG POST - How bad would Social Security’s underfunding be if we used market interest rates?

Video: Boomers in RVs Seek Job, Security
BLOG POST - Sales and rentals of recreational vehicles have skyrocketed during the pandemic as people working remotely use their newfound freedom to move their workplaces to the great outdoors.

Outdoorsy – the Airbnb of recreational vehicles (RVs) – reports that 40 percent of its new rental customers are under age 40. But long before younger adults hit the road, thousands of baby boomers were buying RVs to roam the country in search of work.

About Us 
The Texas Association of Public Employee Retirement Systems (TEXPERS) is a statewide voluntary nonprofit association that provides education and legislative advisory services to the trustees, administrators, professional service providers and employee groups that manage the retirement money of police, firefighters, municipal and district employees in cities across Texas.