The Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) held their regularly scheduled Board of Trustees meeting on December 8 and 9.

TRS Investments Experience Difficult Quarter

This meeting provided a substantial overview for the previous quarter and offered news that reflects market conditions from the last three months. In other words, the pension trust fund had a hard quarter and experienced several billion dollars in investment losses. The good news is that the system has earned a large portion of that loss back thanks to a very positive October.

The TRS fund is still valued at over $100 billion and is moving forward with an investment plan to protect the fund during these challenging times. The next TRTA VOICE news bulletin will be released in a few weeks and will have additional commentary about the TRS investment condition directly from Mr. Britt Harris, Chief Investment Officer of TRS. TRS will continue to fluctuate as the market does, but the system has one of the most professional management teams in the world protecting your TRS pension trust fund.

TRS Consultants Provide Background on DB vs. DC

The Texas Legislature has charged TRS and the Employees Retirement System of Texas (ERS) with studying the advantages and disadvantages of the defined benefit plan and defined contribution plan. As you know, there are a number of interest groups and decision makers that want to eliminate the traditional defined benefit plan for Texas public educators and state employees. TRTA reported on these attacks in our previous VOICE publication. The political agenda attacking the defined benefit plan is one that could be extremely harmful to TRS retirees as well as current and future active school personnel.

TRS is preparing a number of resources to help facilitate this study. The first group to provide some background on this issue is Hewitt Ennis Knupp, who works for TRS as an investment consultant. TRTA will provide a link to the full video presentation including the slides used at the meeting. TRS is preparing a link to their website with this video (it should be available early next week).

TRTA members know that we are in for a fight to preserve the TRS traditional retirement plan. To assist with this, the TRTA Board of Directors and State Legislative Committee are working on new programs, handouts, position papers, and many other resources to assist you in helping protect the TRS fund.

Also, the next issue of the VOICE will offer an in-depth background on why protecting the TRS plan is in the best interest of all education retirees and employees, and the entire State of Texas. We will also provide a fact sheet on the TRS pension fund and its role in providing retirement security for over 1.3 million Texans.

TRS Hires New Chief Financial Officer

The newest member of the TRS executive management team is Mr. Don Green, who will fill the vacant TRS Chief Financial Officer (CFO) position. Mr. Green has a long career in public service in Texas and has served as the CFO of other state agencies.  He has also served in various budget roles with members of the legislature. A full press release on Mr. Green will be available next week.

Next Meeting

The TRS Board will not meet again until February, when they will retreat to Lubbock and review a number of issues. That meeting is scheduled for February 15-17. Meeting agenda highlights include: overview of financial valuations and assumptions; GASB update; the TRS DB/DC study; discussing the TRS-Care program and its plan design and premiums; the TRS 75th Anniversary Celebration and much more.