July 2020
Texas Pension Review Board Staff Delivers
10-point Plan for Legislative Modifications
During the June 30 Texas Pension Review Board meeting, agency staff provided Board members with a 10-point list of issues that will likely be presented to the Legislature in 2021. The issues relate to existing law  HB 3310  establishing funding soundness restoration plans and to  SB 2224  requiring funding policies. 

5 Songs to Play When You Want Someone to Hear the Importance of Pensions
Retirement has been the basis of novels and film scripts, pondered by philosophers, and poets have romanticized it. Retirement also is the subject of songs. Some songwriters even specifically mention pension benefits in their music.  

The COVID-19 pandemic is introducing market forces and volatility that will inevitably affect the long-term health of your pension fund. Now is the time to consider tools to manage the crisis that do not require a wholesale change to your asset allocation and manager line-up.

Public Employees Go Above and Beyond to
Help Their Communities
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.

Disaster Declaration's Extension Includes
Open Meetings Act Provisions
On July 10, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued  a proclamation  extending the state's Disaster Declaration in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. A provision in the declaration allows governmental bodies, including state and local pension boards, to continue hosting remote meetings.

Membership Magazine
Due to stay-at-home orders, TEXPERS' membership magazine was not printed and mailed this quarter. However, an expanded and digital-only edition was created for our members. If you missed our newest edition in your email box, here it is.

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

Watch your email for the next quarterly edition, Vol 3., which publishes digitally later this month.
Mark Your Calendar
TEXPERS Cancels Annual Conference Due to COVID-19 Pandemic
Due to the ongoing pandemic and social distancing requirements, the board of directors of the Texas Association of Public Employee Retirement Systems has cancelled the August dates for its Annual Conference and trustee training. TEXPERS is planning to host some sessions as webinars, which will allow trustees and administrators to sit in online educational sessions to earn continuing education credit hours.

TLFFRA Cancels Educational Conference Originally Set for October
The Texas Local Fire Fighters Retirement Act Educational Conference that was to set to take place in Corpus Christi this October has been canceled. 

According to a TLFFRA email, the Foundation Board canceled the conference due to the ongoing "COVID-19 pandemic and guidelines and restrictions that go along with it."

TEXPERS Members are Invited to Register for this Free Educational Online Event
TEXPERS Associate member Federated Hermes, Inc. (formerly Federated Investors, Inc.) is hosting a free virtual event from 3-6 p.m. ET on Thursday, July 16. 

The firm's  Real Impact Tracker Summer Soiree  features ideas and insights from top environmental, social, and governance investing experts worldwide. This is the first year the virtual event is to take place on ESG investing, an investment topic that continues to see demand grow. 

Register to Attend NIRS' Summer Webinar Series
Join the National Institute on Retirement Security for a series of webinars scheduled for July and August on a range of issues related to retirement security.

Additional Events
Texas Public Pension News & Opinion
TMRS Chooses New Executive Director
NEWS - On July 13, the Texas Municipal Retirement System’s Board of Trustees appointed David B. Wescoe as the System’s new Executive Director. 

Killeen City Manager Proposes
$204.4 Million Budget
NEWS - Last year, retired City Manager Ron Olson said the first step to addressing the city’s finances in approaching the FY21 budget is the city’s retirement fund.

If the employee retirement fund formula is not adjusted, the city could go bankrupt by 2038, Olson said after the release of FY20 budget. The proposed general fund budget includes increases to the contribution level by $900,000 more than what was budgeted for the current fiscal year. 

Texas Employees Allocates $135 Million to Real Estate, Private Equity
NEWS - Texas Employees Retirement System , Austin, made three new commitments in June totaling $135 million, a transaction report shows.

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Education, Research, and Studies
Building Better Retirement Systems in
the Wake of the Global Pandemic
REPORT - In the wake of the global pandemic known as COVID-19, retirees, along with those hoping to retire someday, have been shocked into a new awareness of the need for better risk management tools to handle longevity and aging. This paper offers an assessment of the status quo prior to the spread of the coronavirus, evaluates how retirement systems are faring in the wake of the shock. Next we examine insurance and financial market products that may render retirement systems more resilient for the world’s aging population. Finally, potential roles for policymakers are evaluated.

IPRA Conference 2020:
Pension Challenges and Opportunities
CONFERENCE RECAP - The International Pension Research Association conference took place online on June 26, 2020, co-hosted by CEPAR, the Pension Research Council at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and Netspar, in collaboration with the OECD. Click below to learn more and to access presentation slides.

How Widespread Unemployment Might Affect Retirement Security
BRIEF - The Center for Retirement Research at Boston College has released a new Issue in Brief.

Key findings are:

  • Before the virus, half of households were at risk of falling short in retirement.
  • The virus-related surge in unemployment has likely increased the share of households at risk from 50 percent to 55 percent.
  • And this increase does not capture the impact of lower asset prices and interest rates.
  • In addition, even the unemployed who were already at risk before the pandemic are in worse shape now as they face a larger savings gap.
  • The results stress one more reason to get people back to work quickly: the shorter the unemployment spell, the less harm to retirement prospects.

U.S. Public Pensions
NASRA Publishes Response to Equable Critique of Rising Pension Costs for Public Schools
OPINION - The National Association of State Retirement Administrators has published a response to a critique published earlier this year by Equable, which claims that "many states simply have not ensured education funding levels are keeping up with the increased costs created by pension funding shortfalls." NASRA believes that the methodology and findings of the Equable report raise serious concerns.

White House Presses Railroad Pension Fund on China Investments
NEWS - White House officials have raised economic, national security and humanitarian concerns over the National Railroad Retirement Investment Trust's investments in Chinese companies.

However, some of the issues raised in a letter sent Tuesday from Larry Kudlow, director of the national economic council, and National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien to Erhard R. Chorle, chairman of the U.S. Railroad Retirement Board, are misplaced, Mr. Chorle said in response Wednesday.

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Stress Test of Montana Pension Plans
Highlights Recession Risks
ANALYSIS - A stress test analysis of Montana’s two largest public pension systems shows that reforms adopted by state lawmakers in 2013 have had a significant positive impact but that additional policy changes may be needed if future investment returns fall below the plans’ average annual target of 7.6%.

Public Pensions and the COVID-19
Fiscal Dilemma
OPINION - We've just passed an annual day of reckoning in public finance: Most states and many local governments close their books for the fiscal year on June 30, and public pension funds typically report their quarterly portfolio balances shortly thereafter. With the Senate still dithering over federal stimulus aid to state and local governments, after its majority leader suggested that  state bankruptcies would be a better solution  and that it's all the fault of public pensions, it's time to reality-check the pension scoreboards.

Economics & Investments
Almost 2,000 Financial Advisory Firms Received PPP Loans, but a Full Count Remains Unclear
NEWS - Almost 2,000 companies in retail financial services received Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans for economic relief during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to data released by the Treasury Department on Monday. That number included more than 1,400 registered investment advisory firms and over 300 securities brokerage firms, as well as a significant number of technology and business support vendors.

Texas Seeks Millions From Unemployed Workers After State 'Overpaid' Benefits
NEWS - The state is trying to recoup  tens of millions of dollars in unemployment benefits  that it mistakenly paid to thousands of Texans, many of whom have already spent the money and face difficulties paying it back.

Negative Interest Rates Can be a
Doom Loop for Pension Investors
OPINION - Negative interest rates are an oxymoron. Most people’s jaws drop when they first hear of them. Yet, about $15tn of bonds already had a negative coupon at the end of 2019. Even the US Federal Reserve has been under pressure lately from President Donald Trump to embrace them. 

Public Pension Reckoning Delayed With Stimulus Pumping Up Stocks
NEWS - U.S. public pensions may have finished the fiscal year with small gains, a dramatic turnaround after losing about $1 trillion during the first quarter when the coronavirus pandemic triggered a stock market plunge.

www. finance.yahoo.com

Governance & Board Management
The Future of Remote Public Meetings Rests with Good Policy
NEWS - Now that remote public proceedings have become more common after COVID-19, an observation has been made: remote meetings can compromise the transparency of government and the ability of the public to participate.

13 Tips for Facilitating Teamwork With a Nonprofit Board of Directors
COLUMN - When managing a nonprofit, you’ll need to work closely with your board of directors—the team of individuals who ultimately govern your organization. While board members and management staff are working toward the same greater mission, it can be difficult to achieve goals with so many parties involved. 

As leaders in the nonprofit space, the members of  Forbes Nonprofit Council  have learned a few things about coordinating the efforts of management staff and board members. They describe 13 ways managers can successfully work with their board of directors to achieve their mutual goals. 

Aging & Retirement
It's Good Most Millennials Don't Plan to
Rely on Social Security
BLOG POST - Social Security could run out of money in the next few decades. The program’s projected funding shortfall has been a political talking point for years. 

Many younger Americans aren’t even counting on full Social Security benefits when they retire. ... That cynicism may be a good thing. The coronavirus pandemic could impact the amount of Social Security money available to go around, according to new research from the  Penn Wharton Budget Model , which predicts that the program’s funds may now run out sooner than expected. 

Texas Teachers Consider Retirement Over Teaching During a Pandemic
NEWS - Texas teachers can expect to spend some time in classrooms in the upcoming school year, but much about the school year is unclear since the Texas Education Agency  has not released guidelines  for teaching and safety as the pandemic continues. What’s also unclear is how many teachers have decided to retire rather than head back to the classroom and face COVID-19. 

A Pandemic Problem for Older Workers:
Will They Have to Retire Sooners?
NEWS - Older workers face particular challenges brought on by COVID-19 - issues, experts say, that could lead to retirement earlier than planned.

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.