CalPERS Adopts Priorities for DB Plans

April 18, 2011 ( - The California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) Board of Administration recently adopted a 12-point set of federal legislative policy priorities that it says underscores the fund’s commitment to preserving defined benefit retirement plans.

The priorities – that will serve as a road map for advancing CalPERS federal governmental goals on retirement – outline CalPERS positions on retirement benefits, funding and accountability of pension plans, and Social Security.   

According to a news release, CalPERS priorities call for the pension plan to support: 

  • Defined benefit retirement plans that provide sound income replacement in retirement through shared employee and employer responsibility; 
  • Expanded opportunities for workers to have access to a defined benefit pension plan; 
  • Tax policies that encourage preservation of pension plans and retirement savings accounts by allowing deferral of taxation of contributions and earnings until benefits are paid in retirement; 
  • Policies that ensure the highest level of integrity and accountability in the administration of supplemental retirement accounts and elements such as fee disclosures; 
  • Policies that report public pension liabilities that reflect the long-term nature of public employee retirement plans;  
  • Accounting standards that preserve the link between accounting and funding such as portfolio diversification, smoothing of investment gains and losses and managing growth of liabilities to minimize contributions volatility, including support of the Governmental Accounting Standards Board; and 
  • Policies extending the long-term solvency of the Social Security system without reducing benefits for CalPERS members and other Americans. 


CalPERS priorities call for the pension plan to oppose: 

  • Mandates on pension plan design features or policies that would undermine defined benefit plans, and 
  • Legislation that would establish mandates requiring specific funding, accounting or actuarial standards for State and local pension plans. 


“Our defined benefit plan has served as the foundation for a secure retirement for more than three quarters of a century,” said Rob Feckner, President of the CalPERS Board of Administration, in the announcement. “Preserving defined benefit plans for workers is critical to ensuring the longevity of America’s retirement system.”  

CalPERS is the nation’s largest public pension fund, with approximately $234 billion in assets. It administers retirement benefits for more than 1.6 million active and retired State, public school and local public employees and their families, and health benefits for 1.3 million enrollees.