A statement from the chairman of the PSPRS Board of Trustees

July 17, 2017

We sympathize with the many local governments and entities across Arizona that are struggling to keep up with their public safety retirement expenses. We understand that these rising expenses impact people and communities, and are not just numbers on a piece of paper.

We’d like to take the opportunity to thank our employers and members, who are also taxpayers, and explain some of the functions and accomplishments of PSPRS that otherwise go unmentioned or minimized in media coverage.

Our sole intention is to provide accurate information to our stakeholders, policymakers, and the public and to react to the accidental and deliberate spreading of misconceptions.

Please consider the following:

  • PSPRS and its employers and members have negotiated not one but two cost-saving pension reforms within the last five years

  • PSPRS investment staff inherited and transformed a high-risk portfolio that once lost $1 billion in a single year into a trendsetting portfolio that generates significant returns while avoiding the risk of losses that could irreparably harm employers

  • PSPRS investment performance now beats benchmarks for 1, 3, 5 and 10-year periods

  • PSPRS is outperforming a peer group of more than 100 private investment funds with similar low-risk allocation strategies

  • No public pension in the U.S. achieved their assumed earnings rate in 2016 – and many even lost money

    PSPRS generated a return, increased assets and distributed $1 billion to retirees and survivors

  • The PSPRS Board of Trustees were appointed less than a year ago and state law requires the trustees who represent employers to have extensive financial knowledge and experience

  • Different portfolios – including PSPRS, ASRS and the State Land Trust – have different risk levels and investment strategies that make apples-to-apples comparisons almost meaningless

  • PSPRS pension reforms will take time to produce lower contribution rates for employers

Thank you on behalf of PSPRS staff,

Brian Tobin

Chairman, PSPRS Board of Trustees

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