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 2021 has continued to challenge all of us as we’ve navigated the pandemic for the second year in a row. But I want to assure you that our commitment to your retirement security and to serving you has never wavered.
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 closed our most recent fiscal year, which runs from July 1 through June 30, with a 33.3% return on our investments, our highest in SBCERA history. While we don’t count on these kinds of returns each year, we are confident we are prepared to fulfill the long-term commitment to our members, while continuing to find appropriate opportunities to achieve our investment return goals—no matter what the economic climate brings.
We want to reassure you that despite 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. That portfolio currently stands at more than $14 billion—stronger than it’s ever been.
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.
Reflecting on 2021
We remain focused on refining additional customer service efforts. 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. This year, we’ve made important technology infrastructure improvements, including launching a new phone system. This has enhanced the customer experience and provided a much-needed upgrade for our staff. We also expanded our digital communications by creating our first eNewsletter with two separate and focused campaigns written with our members in mind, and we conducted our first employer survey with actionable items. Finally, we conducted a Member Engagement Survey that served as a follow up to our 2019 survey, which will help drive our customer service efforts.
Heading into 2022 you can expect more improvements to mySBCERA, which will include additional security features and more self-service options. If you haven’t signed up for mySBCERA, I encourage you to sign up today at www.SBCERA.org/mySBCERA and discover the many resources available. You can access your member portal anytime, anywhere, using your computer, phone, or tablet.
Looking Ahead to 2022
Despite the constant change 2021 has continued to bring, 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 2022. We appreciate and thank you for serving our San Bernardino communities. 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