As we reflect on this last year, I’m proud of our team for staying focused on our service to you, while strategically planning for the future.
There’s a saying that change is the only constant in life, which has proven to be true at SBCERA and in the world. Like so many, we’ve navigated our way back to as much normalcy as possible after a few years of uncharted territory. Despite this, 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 and opportunistic investing. We closed our fiscal year, which runs from July 1 through June 30, with a -0.06% return on our investments. Assets stood at $13.4 billion at the end of the fiscal year.
In this last year, during a time of global economic stress, our long-term strategy has shown resilience. The global turbulence in the markets related to inflation concerns, rising interest rates, and supply chain fragility has been challenging for all funds, and SBCERA was no exception.
While we didn’t receive the positive number we were aiming for, it’s important to view these results from a relative return basis, especially as they compare to our policy index and in relation to our peers.
I’m proud of our Investment Team for their diligence and defensive posture that prepared our fund for conditions like these. I’m also grateful we have a supportive Board that has empowered our team to work together cohesively, allowing us to be nimble enough to make quick decisions and take advantage of market opportunities.
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.
Over the last 40 years, we’ve earned an average annual return of almost 9% 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 2022
We have a smart and capable team at SBCERA who have remained committed to providing the service you’re counting on, while tackling many important initiatives as part of our Triennial Strategic Plan. This year, we’ve made significant progress on modernizing our pension software and fostering a renewed focus on member experience.
Your opinions are important to us and have helped us provide better member experience to you. We had a great response to our last member engagement survey in late 2021 and received valuable feedback that we’ve turned into action. Your honest responses have helped tell us what you think we’re doing well, and what you think we can improve on.
In June, the Board adopted a new Triennial Strategic Plan for fiscal years 2023 through 2025, with a continued focus on the following co-equal strategic pillars:
- Operational Excellence and Efficiency
- Superior Service Experience
- Quality Employer and Workplace
- Prudent Fiscal Management
- Effective Communications
This plan is accompanied by a myriad of strategic priorities, which are actionable programs and/or projects that seek to bring these pillars to life.
Heading into 2023, you can expect additional self-service options in mySBCERA, your online member portal, that you can access anytime, anywhere. 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. Additionally, we’re working on new resources like quick tip videos, added topics in our e-newsletters, and more.
Looking Ahead to 2023
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 2023. 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.
We have an amazing team at SBCERA, made up of people who genuinely care about you. In case you missed it, we prepared a special holiday message for you in the video below.
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