The Alameda County Employees’ Retirement Association (ACERA) is a public pension fund, but it’s made of more than money alone. ACERA is the 23,000+ current and former public employees working in Alameda County, California who collectively invest their deferred wages to receive a secure income after retirement. ACERA is the 90+ county employees that administer the investment fund and benefits. And ACERA is the Board that oversees their work and makes the financial decisions that keep the fund secure.
The Alameda County Employees’ Retirement Association (ACERA) is the retirement pension plan for public employees in Alameda County, California who work for some of the county’s public employers. ACERA was established in 1948 by the Alameda County Board of Supervisors to provide retirement, disability, and death benefits to Alameda County and member district employees.
ACERA’s participating employers have an integral role in securing their employees’ retirement benefits. Participating employers provide ACERA the employee demographic and payroll data that allows ACERA to calculate retirement benefits and run the retirement system. The employers also transmit the retirement contributions that ACERA invests in order to pay out retirement benefits.
Alameda County and member districts that participate in ACERA’s pension plan are referred to as “Participating Employers.” Their employees who work in retirement-eligible positions are members of ACERA and earn credit toward retirement and other benefits. ACERA’s participating employers are :
Employer contribution rates are set annually and typically vary from year-to-year. Employer contribution rates are recommended annually by the ACERA’s actuary in its Actuarial Valuation. Rates depend on the level of established benefits, rate of return on investments, and the cost of administering benefits.
The ACERA Board of Retirement (“Board”) is responsible for administering the pension plan in accordance with applicable laws, including but not limited to the CERL, protecting the assets of the pension plan and the interests of the plan beneficiaries, and prudently managing the critical risks facing ACERA. The Board is also responsible for establishing the policies that govern the administration of ACERA’s retirement plan, for making benefit determinations, and for managing the investment of the system’s assets.
Pursuant to CA Government Code 31522.8, the California Public Employees’ Pension Reform Act of 2013, and the Board Education Policy, all Trustees must attend a minimum 24 hours of education within the first two years of assuming office and during every subsequent two-year period.
Trustee Education Summary Report
Reporting Period 12/31/2017
Reporting Period Ends
Met Requirements/In Process of Meeting Requirements
ACERA trustees are fiduciaries and are held to the “prudent expert” standard in managing the trust.As fiduciaries, trustees are to “discharge their duties solely in the interest of, and for the exclusive purposes of providing benefits to, participants and their beneficiaries…” Further, trustees must act “With the care, skill, prudence and diligence under the circumstances then prevailing that a prudent person acting in a like capacity and familiar with these matters would use in the conduct of an enterprise of a like character and with like aims.” (California Government Code Section 31595.)
Dave Nelsen was appointed by the ACERA Board of Retirement and began work as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) on April 11, 2016. As CEO, Mr. Nelsen reports to the Board of Retirement and is responsible for leadership and management of all ACERA operations, in accordance with the applicable provisions of the California Government Code, regulations, and Board policies.
Kathy Foster, Certified Employee Benefits Specialist (CEBS), has over 32 years experience in California public pension plans. Ms. Foster began her career path with the Contra Costa County Employees Retirement Association where she spent 18 years as a member of the Benefits Department team. In 2001, she joined Alameda County Employees Retirement Association (ACERA) as the Retirement Benefits Manager. In 2008, she was appointed to Assistant Chief Executive Officer and oversees Benefits.
Margo M. Allen, Ph.D. serves as ACERA’s Fiscal Services Officer, where her department provides accounting and financial services to all ACERA departments. She began her appointment as the Fiscal Services Officer on February 4, 2013.
The Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) provides in-depth information about the operations and financial position of ACERA. Readers will find the CAFR helpful in understanding ACERA’s commitment to financial integrity and member services. Responsibility for both accuracy of the data, and the completeness and fairness of the presentation, rests with ACERA’s management. It is our intent to ensure that the presentation of financial information is accurate and fair, and all material disclosures have been made.
ACERA’s actuary is the analytical backbone of our financial security. Our actuarial firm, Segal Co., uses data to place a value on ACERA’s financial commitments to its members as well as a value on the current holdings.
ACERA’s non-vested benefits are subject to available funds in the Supplemental Retiree Benefit Reserve (SRBR). The SRBR receives regular earnings and half of any interest income above our 7.25% annual projection, a process known as “gain sharing.”
ACERA’s Internal Audit Department prepares an annual audit plan, conducts internal operational audits, and provides periodic reports to the Board of Retirement Audit Committee. The department’s most recent reports are attached to this page.
ACERA’s 90-person team runs the pension fund that provides over 22,000 current and retired public employees in Alameda County, CA with a secure retirement. We’re located in the heart of downtown Oakland, just 193 steps from the 12th St. BART station (give or take, depending on the length of your stride).
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