Saturday, January 15, 2011

The SBCERS pension fund averaged a whopping 11.4% yearly rate of return on investments for a 20 year span that covers 1980 through 2000!

 Wow here we are in 2011 and I have never felt more on my game than I do right now. As I have stated many times before I present a subject or situation in my postings in my current understanding of said topic. I share the facts and data in a true an accurate fashion with no embellishing on my part. Honestly some times I feel I might just be taking the lazy way out, no really. I feel sometimes deep down I hope someone will contradict my findings in a fashion that will make it easy for me to just walk away from that subject with out any further effort on my part. Yet to date I have to say that a majority of the comments I receive confirm my stated position and or even heighten my concern. I now what to take the time for a more informing posting an share why I felt the need for further research.

So early last February I came across some data concerning the SBCERS Pension Fund. An upon first review of this document  more questions where raised than answered. Than as I followed the media coverage for the upcoming County budget last June 2010 I realized that the SBCERS pension fund was something I had to look into deeper. When I look at the first document below I already had an understanding that an 8.16% was the current assumption rate needed by the SBCERS funds assets. This target rate is to help meet all the funds current and future obligations. Now please do not think less of me but I have a very simple thought process. The way I first reviewed the data below was as follows;
1- The first thing that I take away from my review is the 20 Year compound average of 7.6% and that is taking into account the huge financial losses the fund experienced during 2008 an 2009.
2- In the 20 years that this data covers it only reflected 5 years with a negative investment return. An with my limited research at that time I felt at least 2 of the 5 years with negative returns was some what incorrect.
3- My challenges to the negative returns would be for years 1994, Where I have seen a positive return of 9.7% stated on an different document and 2001 where I have seen a -2.7 represented there and I still feel even that number is in correct.
4- The 20 year average Consumer Price Index was just a very low 2.8 % An the assumption rate that the fund had used was at least 25% higher over the full 20 year time frame. I am not sure how that effects the fund valuation but one would assume that the lower C.P.I. index average would benefit the fund in a positive way.
5- So based on what I took away from this data upon my first review was that the fund seemed to be real close to being a success. At least during the 20 years that the data covered and the 7.6% return average. I felt that the 7.6% average investment return was acceptable when you took into consideration the additional funding added by the county to cover the alleged unfunded liability. Than add The lower C.P.I. I just felt that things might be better than we have been lead to believe.

  That is where it all started, my interest into the Santa Barbara County Employees Retirement System. I was aware that some type of future unfunded liability had created a situation requiring  an increased funding need to the pension fund by our county over the same 20 years that the data below covers. Now I hope this next statement saves you all some time on the learning curve to understanding all the confusing an contradicting documents data and statements that are used to explain the funds past and present activity's and earnings? What I have learned is that all the data and reports that I have viewed seem to be an attempt to camouflage and confuse but never to clarify anything! After eleven months of researching the SBCERS fund and its actions I still wonder; how many different ways one can present numbers, data and information and never present a factual account in there presentation? It makes you wonder just what is the real negative effect that all the California Public. City an County pensions funds have created for our economy? I have also just started to research the similarities between the SBCERS fund and at least 16 other California Counties. Alameda, Contra Costa, Kern, San Joaquin, San Luis Obispo, San Diego, Orange, Los Angeles, Ventura, Sacramento, San Bernardino, Fresno, San Mateo, Sonoma, Marin, and Stanislaus an there posable fraudulent values.

 Now over the last eleven months I have  produced many documents, data and charts that reflect a long term positive performing pension fund. That seems to have just been pillaged over an over through out its history much like the last chart on this sheet reflects. Todays posting may seem some what out of order but I doubt any posting could be more alarming, at least that is how I see it any way. Of course I do the advantage of having  additional knowledge from all of my research that I have been putting together for a while now. So based on the first chart I originally thought the fund might be better of than we were being lead to believe. If we increased the 7.6% figure to 8.16% for the same time span would you expect to still have a BILLION dollar future unfunded liability with consequences that could last beyond the year 2028 as we presently do? Than still have the BILLION dollar unfunded issue never resolved despite the required additional funding over the next 18 years? My point is this how close has the SBCERS pension fund performance really come to meeting it's needs already?

Now the second chart on this sheet is the one that just has me totally confused since I found it yesterday. The data on that chart claims that the SBCERS pension fund received a whopping 11.4 % per year return on investments for the time period covering 1980 clear through 2000. This data seems to be more reflective of actual pension fund performance and also seems to have fund results along the lines reflected on the last chart on this page. 20 years with a return on investment rate of 11.4%, can someone please get back to me with there interpretation of this data?. For me it raise's serious accounting concerns that the SBCERS fund is solvent. But has exposed to corruption by our past an current elected officials? Also compare the similar years and what each chart (1 an 2) reflects as return percentages for the same years. Why the two different ways of reporting returns? What does all that really mean to the bottom line? Obviously because of that kind of investment return one can began to understand that the last chart on this page does reflect a pirating of liquid returns once they where some how labeled "excessive returns". I took my new car back because my gas milage was 20% better than the car manufacture represented an was "excessive" to me. The bank an I came up with an investment strategy that we hoped would bring in 8.16% in returns per year. Now the Bank was also able to randomly remove any amount the deemed "excessive returns" with out my knowledge an with no requirement to report the siphoning of my funds if the years investment returns met the minimum bench mark of 8.16%, I said "hell yes" and wait till my friends and family hear! Yes I am being a smart ass, sorry.
 Now chart 3 has huge contradictions of fund value vs future obligations which gives us a funded ratio. Based on the numbers in chart 3 and documents from the Bond market from SB County that I have previously posted, there is almost a 10% discrepancy for the year 1988 alone. The data in chart 2 shows a investment return average for the 7 years between 1980 through 1987 is equal to 12.9 % per year. So I am just amazed to see such a low percentage as 61% funded ratio being represented during the 80's at all. Than once again when you review the excessive funds pulled data on the last chart below, it makes you wonder, why would you allow funds to be pulled while further increasing the liability to tax payers of this county and all this taking place with out voter approval?

I hope we start to realize that we must hold our Government accountable as we do each other?  I see on news shows when they gather some  successful business people and ask them; how do we create new businesses to help improve our economy? I think to myself how dumb is that, me being a simple minded man. If I cannot go to a movie or dinner without my personal economy returning to past levels, why would anyone want to sink hard earned dollars into a further sinking ship that I cannot get on board of any how? Maybe if we take care of the bottom of the income latter we could once again begin to support those at the top of the income ladder? Savings an Loan scandal,  Junk bond corruption, I.P.O offerings with falsified data, and of course Wall street, all paid for by the bottom of the economic ladder. How stuck on stupid are we America? As always I ask that if you find value in my work please share it with as many friends and family as you can. I have over 270 posting on my blog at

I love my Country and I am proof that 1 man can put into motion lasting change.
I want more teachers and less pension fund valuations. I want every person that has taken an oath to uphold the Constitution of these United States to perform there duty!

Let's be honest here folks you all thought I was crazy when I created my own SBCERS pension fund history and value based on my research? Between my version and the one used by Santa Barbara County there is a possible two BILLION dollar difference, what if my positive fund performance collection of data is right?

Your Friend Always

Larry "Magic" Mendoza
When you click on each picture the will open up to there own window.

1 comment:

Magic said...

I don’t have the time/energy to fully understand the details of your analysis, but you seem to now what you’re talking about, so –

Anonymous Question: Assuming your analysis is right, are you saying that the SBCERS Pension Fund has been performing well, despite what the county government - and Board of Supervisors - has been leading the public to believe, and that the real problem is that $2 BILLION dollars is missing, is not presently being publicly accounted for in any way, and has been possibly siphoned off?

An Anonymous Fellow Citizen