May 21, 2014

External Affairs Branch
(916) 795-3991
Robert Udall Glazier, Deputy Executive Officer
Brad Pacheco, Chief, Office of Public Affairs
Contact: Amy Morgan, Information Officer

Beliefs Build Foundation for Long-Term Sustainability and Advocate for the Value of Defined Benefit Plans

SACRAMENTO, CA - The California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) Board of Administration today adopted a set of Pension Beliefs that articulate the Pension Fund's views on public pension design, funding and administration.

CalPERS Board Members, executives and staff will use the 11 Pension Beliefs in their communications with members, employers, policy makers, other pension systems, the media and other stakeholders. These important principles will be beneficial for all pension systems and policy leaders to consider during the ongoing State and national policy debates about pensions and retirement security.

"These Pension Beliefs reflect our commitment to our core mission and will help advance and steer today's dialogue on public pensions," said Rob Feckner, President of the CalPERS Board. "The Pension Beliefs support CalPERS role as an advocate for the value of defined benefit plans, which have professionally managed funds with a long-term horizon, and incorporate pooled investments and pooled risks."

Some of the beliefs state:

  • Pension benefits are deferred compensation and the responsibility for appropriate funding should be shared between employers and employees.
  • A retirement system must meet the needs of members and employers to be successful.
  • Inadequate financial preparation for retirement is a growing national concern and all employees should have effective means to pursue retirement security.

The CalPERS Board and staff began development of the Pension Beliefs in October 2013 and worked with key stakeholders to gather feedback for further refinement. Discussions with external partners, Board Members and Executive Staff focused on six key areas of a pension system to guide the development of the Pension Beliefs. The areas focused on were administration, education, funding, governance, plan design and risk management.

"Retirement security for all America's workers is one of the more noteworthy beliefs and I'm proud that CalPERS will play an advocacy role in this effort," said Priya Mathur, Chair of the Pension and Health Benefits Committee.

View the CalPERS Beliefs (PDF).

CalPERS is the largest public pension fund in the U.S., with more than $291 billion in assets. CalPERS administers health and retirement benefits on behalf of 3,090 public school, local agency and State employers. There are nearly 1.7 million members in the CalPERS retirement system and more than 1.3 million members in its health plans. For more information about CalPERS, visit