PUBLIC EMPLOYEES’ RETIREMENT SYSTEM (PERS) BOARD MEETING NOTES
NOVEMBER 21, 2019
The actuarial valuation process was thoroughly explained at the November 21 meeting of the Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS) Board. Brad Ramirez of Segal Consulting provided results of the agency’s 2019 valuation, which is to determine the actuarial liabilities of the system and the level percentage of payroll contribution rates required to fund the system on an actuarial reserve basis. This is the “unfunded liability” issue that opponents (like the Nevada Policy Research Institute-NPRI) complain about so much in the media when they call for reforms to PERS and its’ defined benefit system. Ramirez told the board there were no surprises in the report except that there was a loss in investments but that it wasn’t that concerning since it was a non-rate setting year. He said the loss came from a combination of a net gain in post-retirement increases and salary increases, and a net loss from investments due to the 5 year asset smoothing and other experience including age and service retirements, mortality and disability retirements. The report also found total membership in PERS up over 2018 to 96,072; with an average age of 45.7 and an average salary of $52,007, up 1.6%. He said retirees made up 54,678 of the total membership which was up around 300 over 2018 and the average retiree pension was $3,005/month compared to $2,923/mo in 2018. Based on the report, Executive Officer Tina Leiss told the board she felt PERS was in pretty good shape going into 2020, adding if things continue on the way they are they may be able to keep contribution rates stable with what they are now.
The board heard more about bond returns in another investment report. Investment Officer Steve Edmundson was asked if the 2020 election year would impact anything and he said it would be hard to tell, though it is typical for stocks to be up in the 3rd year of a president’s term and stocks this year were up 26%. Edmundson reported the PERS Fund’s Market Value as of September 30 2019 was $44.65 billion.
Leiss also reported that the Interim Retirement and Benefits Committee is scheduled to meet February 5, 2020. This group hears reports on PEBP and PERS during the non-legislative year, and used to meet once per year though it was decided a few years ago that this legislative committee should gather at least twice per year. Their second meeting normally falls in December as it leads into a legislative year.
The next PERS Board meeting will be January 16 and will be held at the PERS location in Las Vegas, though a video conference will still be available at their Carson City board room.