LACERS BOARD UPDATE
By Michael R. Wilkinson
It’s that time again. No, not the time to clean your gutters or join a gym. It’s almost time for another election of the LACERS Board of Administration’s retired member seat. I am honored to have served in this post as your representative since 2013 and now as Board Vice President.
The reason that this election should matter to you is that you need an advocate keeping the plan financially strong and with an independent voice representing you as Retirees.
The mayor appoints three members on the Board — active members get two and Retired members only get one. So make it count.
Important decisions for running the pension plan should be made with a very long-term horizon. Decisions should not be made on what is best for the short-term needs of City politics.
As your elected Board member, I am always looking for ways to protect our plan and keep us out of investments that are high risk and do not provide the long-term risk-adjusted return needed to sustain our plan.
Risk-adjusted return simply means that the investment return should be measured against the risk that the investment will go down in some markets. So, if you have an investment that might provide a 20 percent positive return in a good market, you should measure that against the possibility that may go down significantly in a down market. If the risk-adjusted return is significantly positive, it is worth considering the investment. Of course, there are many other questions that must be answered before an investment is made.
Finally, I am strongly in favor of fully funding the LACERS plan. Across the country, some of the plans that are in the worst shape financially share one problem — a failure of the employer to properly fund the plan. I am proud to say that the City of LA has always paid 100 percent of the full employer’s contribution as determined by LACERS.