According to new reports published by Retirement Systems of Alabama Staff, the second largest fund the agency manages saw growth of $567 million since the start of 2014.
Dr. David Bronner, the CEO of the RSA, said the stability within the Employees Retirement System has to do with some consistent growth in recent years but also the cooperation with state lawmakers who provide funding to the ERS.
"You've got to put in what the actuaries say or else you have to cut back costs and cut back the programs," Bronner told the board. "We've done that here in Alabama."
Bronner didn't shy away from criticizing other states, namely Connecticut, California, and New Jersey for either raiding or not providing enough in appropriations to maintain levels of benefits for their members.
"Other states allowed their governors or their legislatures not to send over enough money and that's where they got into trouble," Bronner added.
Bronner, who's presided over the RSA for about 40 years, said he's not as worried for the future of the funds now as he was several years ago.
In addition to the positive news about the ERS performance, Bronner and RSA staff obtained a favorable opinion from Alabama's Attorney General two weeks ago that stated the way the RSA has made investments is entirely constitutional.
The opinion laid out that the controlling boards of the RSA, the Employees and Teachers Retirement System Boards of Control, make investment policy, and it's the responsibility of the Secretary Treasurer, Bronner, and staff to make investment decisions. While the board can make changes to the policies and procedures, it doesn't act as a sort of investment decision-maker on a day-to-day basis.
Some members of the ERS board voted several months ago to have investment decisions and trades go through the Investment Committee of the ERS Board, a subset of the board.
Bronner has maintained his control of day-to-day operations but reiterated during his report to the board Thursday that he has abided by new directives like providing a weekly investment update to the entire ERS board.
The RSA is the primary lender of Raycom Media, the parent company of this station.