December 2020
TEXPERS' 2021 Annual Conference and
Training Set for May 21-2
ANNOUNCEMENT - After careful consideration, and in light of the ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) developments, the Texas Association of Public Employee Retirement Systems' Board decided to postpone its annual trustee training and conference to May 21-26.
The location at the Austin Marriott Downtown, 304 E. Cesar Chavez St. in Austin, has not changed. 

Texas' public employee pension funds hold ground in unprecedented COVID-19 markets
NEWS RELEASE - Texas' state and local pension funds combined in 2019-20 to nearly maintain the record-breaking achievements of 2018-19, according to a trend analysis of aggregate amortization periods performed by the Texas Association of Public Employee Retirement Systems.

The systems' achievement was notable in holding mostly steady despite extreme market fluctuations early in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Interim committee hears testimony
regarding governmental bodies that use
public funds to pay for lobbying services
BLOG POST - An interim committee of the Texas legislature gathered on Dec. 8 to hear testimony regarding how governmental entities are using public funds to pay for lobbying services.

The Senate Committee on State Affairs invited testimony on its interim charge, which is to study what types of governmental bodies use public funds for services that seek to influence politicians or public officials on issues. The committee also is to make recommendations "to protect taxpayers from paying for lobbyists who may not represent the taxpayers’ interests,” according to the committee's interim charge.
Governor appoints Robert Ries to
fill seat on Pension Review Board
BLOG POST - A state employee whose grandmother retired from public education is now a member of the Texas Pension Review Board, the agency mandated to oversee state and local public retirement systems for their actuarial soundness.

Robert Ries, the deputy executive commissioner for compliance and quality control for the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, was appointed to the Pension Review Board on Dec. 1 by Gov. Greg Abbott.
There are benefits to realigning asset portfolio, say investment industry thought leaders
BLOG POST - The realignment of the weights of an asset portfolio often helps public pension fund trustees control risk, "buy low, sell high," and obtain plan exposure closer to desired target weights, says Aaron Lally, a principal with Meketa Investment Group.
Massive infiltration of government and
Fortune 500 company networks is
a reminder that hackers are a real threat
BLOG POST - The threat of cybersecurity attacks on government agencies became very real on Dec. 13 with the reveal that suspected Russian hackers infiltrated government and corporate networks to steal sensitive information.

The group alleged to have committed the breach is known to the U.S. military and intelligence community, according to a national security and investigations report published by Yahoo news.
Membership Magazine
The fourth and final edition of TEXPERS Pension Observer for 2020 was released last 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. 4, in your email box, here it is.

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, resumes production early in 2021. We have advertising packages you will want to take advantage of before they expire. Click here to see our 2021 Rate Sheet.
Mark Your Calendar
Texas & U.S. Public Pensions
Hawaii’s public pension fund rises
5.38% in Q1 fiscal 2021
NEWS REPORT - The Employees’ Retirement System of the State of Hawaii (ERS) returned 5.3%, adding $900 million to the portfolio’s asset value to close the quarter that ended Sept. 30 at $18 billion, according a report in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

The pension fund also reported five- and 10-year annualized returns of 7.9%, and 7.8%, respectively.
Omaha is slowly making police pension progress; new contract deserves approval
OPINION - Public pension concerns have weighed heavily on the Omaha city government for decades. Contracts poorly negotiated by the city years ago ago committed Omaha to major pension obligations without properly funding them. This was a fundamental failure by a series of mayoral administrations.

Slowly, the city has been climbing out of the hole. The growing cooperation between the city and its police and fire unions over the past decade has opened the way to goodwill and gradual improvement. The proposed police contract now before the City Council provides an encouraging example.
BLOG POST - What happens when your state or city has massive unfunded pension liabilities, no direct access to the Fed's money printer and can't tax your state any further because you're driving people out in droves?

You take on more debt, using whatever you can think of as collateral.

Such was the case in West Covina this July, where the city is paying off its $205 million debt to CalPERS by issuing bonds using its city streets as collateral, according to Forbes. The city of Torrance has done the same thing; it will issue $350 million in bonds using its streets as collateral, as well.
Texas Legislative Update
Presumptive house speaker's staff announced
BLOG POST - Presumptive Texas House Speaker, Rep. Dade Phelan, R-Beaumont, has announced additional members of his administrative staff.

According to a post published by Scott Braddock on the Quorum Report, Phalen's staff includes Mark Bell, who will serve as the House Speaker's his chief of staff.
Texas legislators break records on first day of bill filing for the 87th Legislative Session
BLOG POST - State lawmakers got their first chance to file legislation for Texas' 87th legislative session on Nov. 9, and it was a record-breaking week, according to tables published by the Legislative Reference Library of Texas.

Legislators filed 745 bills and resolutions during the first week of prefiling. On opening day, alone, 541 bills and joint resolutions were filed in the House and Senate, according to the state's Legislative Reference Library.
Education, Research, and Studies
Retirement institute summarizes
lesser-known pension funding approaches
BLOG POST - The overall funded status of public pension plans across the U.S. has mostly held steady during the recession caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic; however, there are concerns that state and local governments may consider reducing required contributions. Texas state and local public pensions could consider adopting alternative funding strategies to address legacy pension costs and stabilize costs over time.

A new report from the National Institute on Retirement Security highlights public pension plans' funding strategies in 13 states. The approaches outlined in the report include separate funding approaches for existing liabilities and on-going plan costs, employer side accounts, pension obligation bonds, withdrawal liabilities, and dedicated revenue streams from sources such as sports betting.
Study: People living longer;
lifetime income strategies needed
NEWS RELEASE - Guaranteed income strategies have emerged as underutilized methods to not only help people save for retirement but also provide a stream of income to sustain them during potentially longer life spans.

The new study from the Longevity Project in collaboration with Principal Financial Group and the Stanford Center on Longevity, explores the implications of longevity in retirement and potential policy and industry recommendations. According to the white paper, Lifetime Income to Support Longer Life: Retirement Innovation and the New Age of Longevity, people entering retirement tend to either overspend and withdraw funds at unsustainable rates, or they underspend, denying themselves basic needs because they’re afraid of running out of money.
Internal vs. external management for
state and local pension plans
BRIEF - As the types of assets in which state and local pension plans invest has expanded, so have the number of external asset managers that plans use. However, due to concerns about fees and recent questions about the value of active management, some large public plans have begun to reevaluate the size of their external management teams.
Economy & Investments
Here’s why Dallas-Fort Worth apartments are a hot commodity for investors
NEWS ARTICLE - The hottest North Texas investment property for 2020 is rental housing. Investors have snapped up thousands of Dallas-Fort Worth apartments in recent months, and the buying spree shows no signs of abatement.

Even the pandemic hasn’t put a pause to the sale of hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of North Texas apartments.
State business leaders discuss important role immigrants have in the Texas economy
NEWS ARTICLE - Texas business leaders are discussing the impact immigrants have on our state’s economy.

In Texas, immigrants account for about 20% of the total workforce, according to the American Immigration Council.
Now Oracle's exiting California for Texas
NEWS ARTICLE - Just 11 days after Hewlett Packard Enterprise, part of the firm that created Silicon Valley in 1939, announced it was moving its headquarters from San Jose, California to Houston, Texas, Oracle announced that its headquarters had moved to Austin, Texas from Redwood City, California.
2017 data show homeowners nearly
89 times wealthier than renters
ANALYSIS - Wealth inequality between homeowners and renters continued to be remarkably pronounced in 2017: Homeowners’ median wealth was nearly 89 times larger than the median wealth of renters and not entirely because of home equity.

The 2017 Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) data shows continued disparities in wealth – the value of assets owned minus the liabilities (debts) owed – revealed in last year’s report on household wealth in 2015.
Biden plan identifies range of retirement priorities for new administration
BLOG POST - President-elect Joe Biden has pledged to address retirement issues when he takes office in 2021, including strengthening Social Security and equalizing savings incentives that currently favor higher-income households.
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.