CalPERS Adopts Guiding Pension Beliefs

May 22, 2014 ( – The California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) Board of Administration has adopted a set of views about pension design, funding and administration.

The “Pension Beliefs” will guide the pension fund’s practices and decisions. CalPERS says board members, executives and staff will use the 11 Pension Beliefs in their communications with members, employers, policymakers, other pension systems, the media and other stakeholders.

“These Pension Beliefs reflect our commitment to our core mission and will help advance and steer today’s dialogue on public pensions,” says Rob Feckner, president of the CalPERS Board, based in Sacramento, California. “The beliefs support CalPERS role as an advocate for the value of defined benefit plans, which have professionally managed funds with a long-term horizon, and incorporate pooled investments and pooled risks.”

Some of the beliefs include:

  • Pension benefits are deferred compensation and the responsibility for appropriate funding should be shared between employers and employees;
  • A retirement system must meet the needs of members and employers to be successful; and
  • Inadequate financial preparation for retirement is a growing national concern and all employees should have effective means to pursue retirement security.

The CalPERS Board and staff began development of the beliefs in October 2013 and worked with key stakeholders to gather feedback for further refinement. Discussions with external partners, board members and executive staff focused on six key areas of a pension system to guide the development of these beliefs. The areas of focus include administration, education, funding, governance, plan design and risk management.

The complete list of Pension Beliefs can be downloaded here.