The County Employees Retirement System (CERS) Board of Trustees will hold a special meeting on May 9, 2023, to discuss a proposal to increase the assumed rate of return by a quarter of a percentage point. The CERS Actuarial Committee heard from the system’s investment consultants and actuaries last week. Both agreed with the change. However, the CERS board requested that the actuarial firm Gabriel, Roeder, Smith, and Company (GRS) bring a comprehensive report to the May meeting so members can discuss the entire implication of such a change.
GRS Senior Consultant Danny White estimated to the Actuarial Committee that moving the assumed rate of return from the current 6.25% to 6.50% would decrease employer contribution rates for fiscal year 2024 by about 1.2% for nonhazardous and 2.8% for hazardous.
CERS’ investment consultant, Wilshire, told the committee that it expects CERS to exceed the 6.50% return over the next 10, 20, and 30 years. Wilshire Vice President Craig Morton told the group that the small change left “plenty of room for volatility.”
The CERS Board of Trustees met on April 19, 2023, but did not take action on the possible change. Instead, the board called the 1:00 p.m. EDT special meeting to hear from Wilshire and GRS. If the board votes to change the rate, it will take effect on July 1, 2023.
Board members also reelected Betty Pendergrass as chair and elected Lisle Cheatham as vice chair. Additionally, it approved a new policy for public comment. The new rules let the board limit the time for comment and prohibit someone from deviating from their written comments if they wish to read them during a meeting.