As we reflect on this last year, I am full of gratitude for our team here at SBCERA and for our partnership with all of you—our valued members and public servants who serve our San Bernardino communities. There’s no doubt 2020 has been one of the most challenging years of our lifetime. The coronavirus pandemic and economic uncertainty have been difficult for everyone.
I want to thank you for being understanding and flexible as we’ve tried to provide the best service while navigating unfamiliar territory. Our top priority has continued to be the health and wellbeing of our members, our employees, and our families. To ensure your safety while continuing to serve all of your retirement needs, we’ve needed to adapt and come up with innovative solutions. This meant modernizing technology and thinking of outside of the box ideas. We transitioned in-person retirement counseling sessions to virtual sessions, moved all in-person seminars to online webinars, accelerated the use of electronic documents and signatures, added to our self-service options, installed a drop box so you can safely hand-deliver paperwork, and more — there was undoubtedly a lot of change this year. We deeply appreciate all your support and flexibility during this time.
Reflecting on 2020
The resilience and grit amongst our team has not only helped us continue to provide the service you’re counting on, but it’s helped us tackle many important initiatives as part of our Triennial Strategic Plan—all while working remotely. Implementation of this plan is well under way. This year, we launched our new website, refreshed brand, launched your new online member portal “mySBCERA,” and made technology infrastructure improvements. Top of our efforts into 2021 include modernizing our pension management software and phone system solutions, and a continuing our renewed focus on providing exceptional customer service.
If you haven’t signed up for mySBCERA, I encourage you to sign up today at www.SBCERA.org/mySBCERA and discover the many self-service resources available. Your new online member portal is now easier than ever to access anytime, anywhere, using your computer, phone, or tablet.
Our Response to the Alameda Decision
In response to the Alameda decision issued by the California Supreme Court on July 30, 2020, we’ve had several Board Meetings that included discussion of the ruling. These meetings resulted in the adoption of SBCERA Board resolutions to address the decision. Although a relatively small portion of SBCERA’s total membership is affected, we recognize the impact this has on those who are—and we are here to help guide you through this process. If you are a member affected by this decision, SBCERA has either communicated with you directly through a mailed correspondence or will be in communication with you soon.
More information about the Alameda decision and some additional frequently asked questions can be found on our website at www.SBCERA.org/Alameda. On this page, you can also download a copy of the Supreme Court Decision and the SBCERA Retirement Board’s adopted resolutions related to this matter.
Invested in Your Future
Providing you with retirement security is central to our mission at SBCERA. We’re able to provide that security through long-term investing. We want to reassure you that despite these turbulent times and markets, your pension has mechanisms and strategies in place to protect your income, now and in the future. We’ve built an investment portfolio which is designed to generate returns over decades—rather than days, weeks, or months.
Over the last 40 years, we’ve earned an average annual return of more than 8% on our investments, a period which includes numerous recessions and other economic disruptions. While our fund is not immune to short-term volatility and extreme market fluctuations, our strategy helps SBCERA provide retirement security to our members now and well into the future.
Looking Ahead to 2021
Despite 2020’s challenges, I’m proud we stayed focused on our commitment to you while strategically planning for the future. Whether you are just starting your career, already enjoying retirement, or somewhere in between—we have you in mind and we’re working hard for you every day.
As CEO of your retirement system, I am confident you will be pleased with the progress we are making and will continue to make in 2021. We appreciate and thank you for serving our San Bernardino communities during these difficult times. And, we appreciate the unwavering support and leadership from our Board of Trustees. We will all continue to be at your service for many years to come.
On behalf of the SBCERA team and from my family to yours, I wish you a safe and healthy New Year!
Debby Cherney, Chief Executive Officer