The State Association of County Retirement Systems (SACRS) consists of 20 independent county retirement systems in California that were created as part of the County Employees Retirement Law of 1937 (CERL).
In accordance with CERL, each county retirement system offers a defined benefit pension program to qualified county employees such as firefighters, health inspectors and public works engineers. These employees, along with the agencies that hired them, make contributions to their county pension plan. Trustees and professional staff aggregate, invest and manage these contributions with the intention of generating enough earnings to provide each county employee with a modest monthly retirement income once the employee has ended his or her career in public service.
Trustees and staff of each retirement system are obligated to follow CERL policies and adhere to certain Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) regulations. They must remain up to date on legislative developments that impact CERL. They are expected to deploy solid investment strategies by understanding financial markets, and must always act with the utmost fiduciary responsibility on behalf of their plan's participants.
Today, public pension plans face heavy criticism. Governmental budgetary pressures and the private sector's shift to defined contribution, 401(k)-style retirement plans frequently tempt policy makers to reconsider support for public pensions. This volatility combined with the daily responsibilities of investment management pose unique challenges for trustees and staff tasked with delivering secure retirements.
SACRS supports its system members by providing education and insight to trustees and staff so that they can be more effective stewards of their systems' pension plans.
Our semi-annual conferences are renowned for providing relevant, actionable intelligence on fiduciary responsibility, investment management strategies and recent legislation impacting our member systems' pension programs. These conferences and other SACRS' events provide the perfect platform for trustees, staff and our affiliate members to exchange ideas and best practices on pension administration. Members also look to SACRS for mandated ethics training and continuing education opportunities to stay informed on today's pension matters.
While member education is our cornerstone, SACRS also helps its retirement systems navigate state-level policies, accounting issues and other legislative concerns. We maintain an active presence at the state legislature in Sacramento, monitoring proposed legislation for its impact on CERL and sponsoring legislation beneficial to our collective membership.
We also disseminate factual information to policy makers and the media, putting forth responsible data on county pension programs. Our Association facilitates communication between systems' trustees and staff, so responses to pension-related matters are coordinated and consistent.
SACRS is grounded in integrity, honesty and a passion for people. Our volunteer-driven organization is led by a Board of Directors that keeps the Association forward thinking. Our Standing Committees work tirelessly on behalf of our member systems and embody a unique collaborative spirit.
Assets of our 20 systems exceed $110 billion and represent contributions from 500,000+ current and future plan beneficiaries throughout California.