Volume 22 | April 23, 2019
April 2019 Newsletter
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In this Edition:
  • Meet the Team: Lauren Thompson, Assistant CEO
  • COLA Posting on May 1, 2019
  • 2019 COLA Tracker
  • March 2019 Investment Performance
  • April 3-4, 2019 Board of Retirement Meeting and Retreat Highlights
  • April 24, 2019 Board of Retirement Meeting Agenda
  • CareCounsel Information
  • RESBC Membership Information
Meet the Team: Lauren Thompson, Assistant CEO

I joined the SBCERS team in February 2014 as an Investment Analyst, and became Assistant CEO for Finance in September 2018. Prior to joining SBCERS, I worked for RVK, Inc. an institutional investment consulting firm as a Manager Research Analyst. 

What brought you to SBCERS?
My husband and I moved to Santa Barbara in 2012 when he entered the History department at UCSB to pursue his PhD. After working remotely for a year and a half I was ecstatic to be offered a job at SBCERS in 2014. I had spent the first part of my career working as an investment consultant, helping pension plans like SBCERS invest their assets. Coming to SBCERS allowed me to use the skills I had learned as a consultant and also to learn all of the intricacies of managing a public pension plan. I have thoroughly enjoyed my first five years at SBCERS and look forward to many more.

What question are you asked the most by retirees?
In my position I don’t get to spend as much time with our members as my colleagues in Member Services. When I do get the chance to talk to members, they are interested in learning more about how we invest the portfolio. We aim to return 7.0% per year, and in fiscal year 2018 we returned 7.8%. Over the past few years I have been working with our investment consultants and the Board on implementing new investment strategies that will further diversify the portfolio and enable it to perform optimally during all different types of market conditions.

What do you do in your free time?
I have two kids under the age of four so I don’t have a lot of “free” time! On the weekends you can usually find us out and about – at the Santa Barbara Zoo, the Natural History Museum or any of the awesome parks around Santa Barbara and Goleta. We also love to head up to the Santa Ynez valley for picnics and wine tasting. 

Click   HERE   to read a PDF version. 
COLA Posting on May 1, 2019

The 2019 Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) will be posted for eligible members in the May 1, 2019 Benefit Payment. Most members will receive a 3% COLA and 1% COLA bank increase, depending on the plan . If you are a member of Plan 2, you will not receive an adjustment to your pay.
2019 COLA Tracker

For March 2019, Los Angeles Area Inflation (year over year) was 2.71%. The average monthly increase for 2019 to date is 2.79%.

Click HERE   or on the chart to see monthly inflation figures compared to last year. 

Want to track the COLA on your own? On the 15th of each month, the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor statistics releases CPI data for Los Angeles. Click   HERE   to read the current Bureau of Labor Statistics report. 
March 2019 Investment Performance 

The Total Fund returned 1.06% for the month of March. Since the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2018, the portfolio has returned 4.31%, generating over $127 million for our beneficiaries.

April 3-4, 2019 Board Meeting and Retreat Highlights

At the Board of Retirement's April 3, 2019 meeting, the Board adopted earning codes for the Santa Barbara County Association of Governments and Small Special Districts, and selected Brown Armstrong CPAs to perform independent auditing services. The Board also received a presentation on the risks associated with SBCERS' actuarial assumptions and methodologies, and an overview of actuarial risk reporting standards.

The minutes for the April 3, 2019 regular Board of Retirement meeting can be found HERE .

On April 4, 2019, the Board of Retirement held its annual retreat. The topics discussed were current macroeconomic trends; considerations in systematic equity investing; blockchain and the transition to the digital world; impact investing and e nvironmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) in private equity; and hedge fund education.

The minutes for the April 4, 2019 Board Retreat can be found HERE .
April 24, 2019 Board Meeting Agenda Available

The next Regular Board of Retirement meeting is on April 24, 2019.

Click HERE to access the Board Materials on our agenda management website.   
Want help with your Health Care Inquiries and Concerns?

Looking for a stress-free solution to your healthcare inquiries and, or concerns?CareCounsel is our health advocacy partner and is a service offered as part of your benefit package. CareCounsel works independently from your insurance carrier and is a completely confidential resource. 

It’s easy, call: (888-227-3334), or email: [email protected] Monday through Friday 6:30 am to 5:00 pm PST. After hours, you can leave a message and they will get back to you the next business day.

A few examples of why you should contact CareCounsel:
  • Education
  • Making Sense of Medicare
  • Benefits and Coverage Questions
  • Claims and Billing Assistance
  • Eligibility Status
  • Quality Concerns
  • Grievances and Appeals
  • Assistance with Locating Healthcare Provider

RESBC is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of county retirees by providing information on critical retirement issues and offering educational/cultural social opportunities. Membership in RESBC is $2.50 monthly. Dues are deducted from the member’s Santa Barbara County pension payment. County employees may join RESBC by completing the RESBC Membership Deduction Authorization form at the time of their retirement exit conference.

Retirees may join at any time by requesting a membership form from SBCERS, 3916 State Street, Suite 100 Santa Barbara, CA 93105, 1-877-568-2940 or, by clicking here  and sending the completed form to [email protected].  

RESBC Membership benefits include:
  • 4 issues of the RESBC newsletter per year
  • 4 subsidized luncheon meetings per year held at various county locations
  • Opportunities to participate in subsidized day trips and special events
  • Attendance at special presentations on critical issues such as health insurance, pension litigation, pension-related court decisions, etc
  • Opportunity to socialize and have fun with former co-workers and friends
Have a question about an item in this newsletter?

Call a Benefit Representative at 1-877-568-2940. We are ready to help you!
Want to look at prior Newsletters?

Click HERE to visit the SBCERS Newsletter Archive.