SFERS Busy This Summer!

After a long debate last year about investment strategies, the San Francisco Employee’s Retirement System has kept busy, with many major issues coming down the pike.

Local 21 has remained engaged and active in monitoring the system, particularly with some major decisions to be made in the coming months.
 
First and foremost is the hiring of a new investment manager who will manage the alternative investment strategies. This is an important step for the system in ensuring that its assets are allocated -- the money strategically utilized -- in the best places possible.
 
Also, we are waiting to see how two major issues affect the health of the fund, including a new mortality assumption rate and the impact of Prop C litigation. Despite how both of these issues will impact the funded status of the system, we remain hopeful that employee contributions will decrease in the next fiscal year, providing relief to our members.

The second issue is Mayor Lee’s proposal that the Retirement System purchase bonded home mortgages for the Down Payment Assistance Loan Program (DALP). Local 21 is still cautiously studying the proposal but is currently leaning against supporting Mayor Lee’s proposal to sell city backed home mortgages to SFERS.  The proposal would free up city funding for new middle income housing loans and is part of a bigger housing initiative, which includes a $350 million bond measure.  
 

Organizationally, we are proud to be engaged in finding creative solutions to improve the city where more than 4,000 Local 21 members are employed.  In this case, however, it is important to steer clear of politics in making decisions about pension fund investments.
 
This is not to say that we are not deeply concerned about housing issues.  Realizing the importance of affordable housing to our members, we at Local 21 continue to deepen our involvement in housing issues by providing resources to our members to better navigate the Bay Area's difficult housing market. Precisely because housing issues directly impact many Local 21 members, the Mayor's option warrants careful consideration.
 
While we remain open to the idea for all the aforementioned reasons, to date we feel that basic quality guarantees and assurances are still lacking in the proposed investment program. Therefore, the DALP still does not seem to be a viable solution. We want to ensure that whatever final position we ultimately take will be a well-researched and fact-based one, rather than a knee jerk reaction.
 
In the meantime, we at Local 21 continue to be engaged with the Mayor’s office and the retirement systems’ staff, and are working through many of our concerns. Stay tuned for more information!!!!