While the May board meeting was relatively short, some good information and action was taken. The biggest thing was the trustee board adopting the policy investment statement. This is a vital part of our mission, as it starts to create guiding principles for investing the plan’s assets. Once the agreement comes through with the state, it will become operative and help the investment team understand the roles and responsibilities to invest the plan assets. This is a major step forward for the plan to become self-governing.
As a parity to this, we approved the policy benchmarks. As noted in N.J.S.A 43:16A-13, it states in part that “The board’s primary obligation shall be to direct polices and investments to achieve and maintain the full funding and continuation of the retirement system for the exclusive benefit of its members.”
The goal has, and will always be to, grow, protect and stabilize the system. With these actions taken, we have created a living, breathing and dynamic document that will clarify governance structure and technical philosophy structure. I do need to take a moment to thank investment committee chairman James Kompany from Roselle Park Local 27 for his tireless work and commitment in bringing this crucial piece to fruition.
On the administrative side, we continue to review options regarding the fraud unit and, with the assistance of the director of legal affairs, develop a framework on further procedures. It is extremely important that we have a fair, firm and consistent way of investigating these sensitive and technical matters. The board continues to review bylaws to ensure that we operate in an efficient and consistent manner in the best interest of members.
On the legislative side, we are monitoring and tracking 30 bills that have been presented during this legislative session. As we know, on April 12, Governor Murphy signed P.L. 2022, c 9 which allows police and fire chiefs to serve until the age of 67 under certain conditions. While many of the bills that are being monitored are still in beginning stages, a few have moved into committees. While some legislation may not be directly associated with PFRS, we review them to see if they can affect our system down the road.
With the global climate uncertain, we must keep a pulse on daily activities. Whether it’s the conflict in Ukraine, the COVID upticks in China and North Korea, the inflation scares or outrageous fuel costs, everything can affect the market. Like I have stated in the past, those who prepare for battle are most likely to emerge the victors.
Nobody can clearly predict the market in these controversial times. However, while making money in a good economy is easy, stabilizing in a hostile one is the true challenge. One thing I can say for certain is that we will continue to monitor this by communicating, strategizing and implementing sound decisions to protect and grow the system. Our system is designed to address short-term peaks and pitfalls. Just as when you drive your car in adverse weather, circumstances change, and the roadway becomes much smoother. This pension system is designed to be resilient so that it will be available for all in permanence.