March 2021
Registration Now Open for
TEXPERS' 2021 Annual Conference
BLOG POST - The Texas Association of Public Employee Retirement Systems' 2021 Annual Conference will be held May 23-26 in Austin, marking the organization's official return to operation after the worldwide novel coronavirus pandemic halted large gatherings nearly a year.

As the pandemic's spread slows due to nationwide vaccine rollouts and adherence to health protocols, TEXPERS' staff and Board of Directors decided to move this year's conference from its customarily scheduled dates in April to late May. This year's theme: Back to Business.

"We are excited to gather as many of our members together as possible for our Annual Conference this May," says Art Alfaro, TEXPERS' executive director. "Just because we are getting back to business; however, doesn't mean we will be lax in following safety protocols as the novel coronavirus is still among us. Although many of our first-responder members may have received their vaccine shots, not everyone will have. That means we must enforce masking and social distancing rules outlined by the event's hotel and conference center. We might be operating under safety precautions, but we still plan on offering our members access to the quality programming they have come to associate with TEXPERS."
A bill affecting pension funds has been introduced in the Texas Senate. Keep this one on your tracking list -- SB 1372. Click here for a recap of PRB recommendations is available here. To read the text for SB 1372, click here.
The Pension Review Board's recommendations for changes to the law about Funding Soundness Restoration Plans is put forth in this new bill, HB 3898. Learn more by clicking here.
Governor Appoints Three to
Pension Review Board
BLOG POST - Texas Gov. Greg Abbott recently appointed three people to the Pension Review Board, the state agency charged with reviewing state and local public employee retirement systems for actuarial soundness and state law adherence.

Of the appointees, Christopher Gonzales is new to the Pension Review Board. The governor reappointed Stephanie Leibe and Christopher Zook to continue serving the Board. Their terms of all three board members expire on Jan. 31, 2027.
Here Are The Resources You Need to Become a Better Tracker of Proposed Legislation
BLOG POST - Texas public-employee pension plan trustees and administrators can access online resources to keep up to date on proposed legislation that could impact their systems and membership. 

Learn more about this topic and additional legislative happenings on our Capitol Update blog page by clicking the link below.
TEXPERS Takes Neutral Stance on House Bill
BLOG POST - TEXPERS executive director Art Alfaro testifies TEXPERS' neutrality on Texas House Bill 867 (87th legislative session) during a public hearing hosted on March 8 by the Texas Committee on Juvenile Justice & Family Issues.
Membership Magazine
The first edition of TEXPERS Pension Observer for 2021 here. We have an expanded edition printed and in the mail to our members. However, you can access a digital copy of the magazine now.

Click here or on the magazine cover at left to access your digital flipbook.
Want to Advertise in TEXPERS'
Membership Magazine? Here's How!
TEXPERS' quarterly publication Pension Observer offers its members advertising packages you will want to take advantage of before they expire. Click here to see our 2021 Rate Sheet.
Mark Your Calendar
TEXPERS' 2021 Legislative Workshop
Set for March 30 and 31 in Austin
WORKSHOP - TEXPERS is hosting a Legislative Advocacy Workshop Tuesday, March 30 and Wednesday, March 31 at the DoubleTree Suites by Hilton in Austin, Texas.

State and local public pension plan trustees and administrators are invited to register for the 1- and half-day program to learn about proposed legislation impacting public pensions as well as how to become a more effective advocate for secure retirement. The program will feature legislative, pension and government relations experts who are sure to make this an informative event.
The agenda is still being planned, but you can register for the workshop now by clicking here. More information is on the way. Follow TEXPERS on Facebook and Twitter and visit our website for the latest updates.
Texas & U.S. Public Pensions
San Antonio Fund Terminates Lazard from Emerging Market Strategy
NEWS ARTICLE - San Antonio (Texas) Fire & Police Pension Fund terminated a $49 million small-cap emerging markets equities strategy run by Lazard Asset Management, recently released board meeting minutes show.

The strategy was terminated for performance issues. Hillary Yaffe, a spokeswoman for Lazard, declined to comment.
Note: Site may required subscription to access article.
Department of Labor Says it Will Not Enforce Final Rules on ESG Investments
NEWS RELEASE - The U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment Benefits Security Administration today announced that it will not enforce recently published final rules on “Financial Factors in Selecting Plan Investments” and “Fiduciary Duties Regarding Proxy Voting and Shareholder Rights.” The department released the announcement as an enforcement policy statement under Title I of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974.
Ohio’s public pension funds have $234B invested
NEWS ARTICLE - A year ago the global pandemic cast a cloud of uncertainty over all things financial, including Ohio’s five public pension funds that have hundreds of billions of dollars invested for more than 1.9 million Ohioans, but each retirement system ended 2020 in the black.

“I recall in March of last year, we were down over 12%. If you had told me we had a chance of breaking even, I’d have been glad,” said Carl Roark, director of the Ohio Highway Patrol Retirement System.

Instead, the patrol’s retirement fund earned an annual return of 14.3% and its portfolio tipped over $1 billion in value for the first time in its history.
Legislators Can't Praise Hardworking Front-line Workers While Undercutting Their Retirement
OPINION - Though we continue to hear soundbites from state legislators praising Florida’s essential workers risking their lives in the face of COVID-19, many have shown themselves to be less interested in truly helping dedicated shift workers answering the call.

Unfortunately, the pandemic has spurred political opportunists to rush through disingenuous legislation, including Senate Bill 84, aimed at breaking our retirement plan for frontline and essential workers.
Education, Research, and Studies
Understanding PSPRS Pension Financing
VIDEO - Understanding the financial mechanics of pensions can be difficult – but it’s not impossible. Learn how PSPRS sets an estimated present value of current and future retirement benefits, and how assets, obligations, and assumptions are used to measure financial health and determine contribution rates.

PSPRS is Arizona’s pension system for first responders, corrections officers and judges and elected officials.
Survey Shows Most First Responders Have Post-retirement Careers
SURVEY - The results of a new survey conducted by the Illinois Public Pension Fund Association (IPPFA) indicate the majority of Illinois firefighting and law enforcement professionals continue working in a variety of professions after retiring from their first responder jobs.
Stress Testing of Public Pensions Can Help States Navigate the COVID-19 Economy
ISSUE BRIEF - The COVID-19 pandemic has upended life in the U.S. and disrupted the economy. Real gross domestic product (GDP) fell sharply in the second quarter of 2020 while job losses soared and state and local government finances weakened. Public pension systems, funded by those same governments, only narrowly averted large losses in the spring after a historic stock market rally boosted investment earnings.

Economic data released in January and February 2021 by the federal government, including the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), showed signs of improvement. According to advance estimates from the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA),1 the economy held ground in the fourth quarter of 2020 following a sharp rebound in the summer. And with vaccine distribution now underway, the outlook for recovery has improved. By 2025, CBO expects real GDP and labor force participation rates to recover close to their pre-pandemic trajectories— significant upgrades over its July 2020 forecast.
Here's Evidence That Paying Public Pension CIOs More Leads to Better Performance
NEWS ARTICLE - Public-sector pension funds, with their high political scrutiny and relatively low pay, have often struggled to compete for talent against more lucrative endowment and asset management jobs. But the public pensions that pay their CIOs the most have been able to attract and retain better investment chiefs — and deliver meaningful outperformance, according to a new study from researchers at the University of Central Florida and University of Alabama.
State & U.S. Economy & Investments
Tesla is Plugging a
Secret Mega-battery Into the Texas Grid
NEWS ARTICLE - Elon Musk is getting into the Texas power market, with previously unrevealed construction of a gigantic battery connected to an ailing electric grid that nearly collapsed last month.

The move marks Tesla Inc.’s first major foray into the epicenter of the U.S. energy economy.
Central Texas Economist Forecasts
Continued Recovery and Growth
NEWS ARTICLE - The most recent Perryman Economic Forecast for the US and Texas calls for continued recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and a return to growth through 2025.

According to Dr. M. Ray Perryman, President and CEO of The Perryman Group, “While we are still dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic and timing remains uncertain, there is a plausible path forward with ongoing vaccination programs and better therapeutics. We aren’t out of the woods yet, but over the next few years we should see major improvement.”
Teamsters Celebrate Passage of COVID-19 Stimulus Bill Delivering Pension Relief
BLOG POST - The Teamsters are euphoric about the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan (ARP) clearing its final legislative hurdle in the House today, ensuring more than 1 million U.S. workers and retirees in struggling multiemployer pension plans will receive the nest eggs they were promised while other Americans hit hard by the global pandemic get the help they need.
USDA: Supermarket Prices Spiked in 2020 but Might Go Back Down Some in 2021
BLOG POST - The average cost of prices at grocery stores and in restaurants spiked in 2020 but might go back down some in 2021, according to a new report by the Agriculture Department's Economic Research Service. 

COVID-19 is Forcing
More Employees Into Early Retirement
NEWS ARTICLE - Employees are being forced into an early retirement, due to nation-wide layoffs and workers opting to leave the workforce to care for themselves or others during COVID-19.

According to a recent survey by Allianz Life, more than two-thirds of respondents said they retired earlier than expected, up significantly from the 50% of employees who left the workforce for early retirement last year.
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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.