News & Announcements

LETTER FROM PERA BOARD CHAIR JOHN MELIA

March 19, 2020

LETTER FROM PERA BOARD CHAIR JOHN MELIA

Dear PERA Members,

I know these are extraordinarily uncertain and stressful times for all of us but I wanted to write to provide you with assurances about PERA and your retirement.

No one can predict exactly how the COVID-19 crisis will play out or when it will end. However, thanks to the leadership of PERA staff, I believe that PERA is better positioned to weather this storm than many organizations.

First, PERA has had a Business Continuity Plan in place for several years. This has allowed PERA to quickly take steps over the past couple of weeks to continue critical business functions such as processing retiree payroll, refunds, disability claims, etc. While our Santa Fe and Albuquerque offices are closed indefinitely, most PERA staff are able to work remotely and we have established a secure lock box at the front of our Santa Fe office for members to drop off forms and other important documentation. We are working to establish a similar lock box in Albuquerque.

This is not to say that it is exactly "business as usual" at PERA. We have put in place a number of restrictions on how many staff can be in our offices at one time in order to keep them safe. We are answering phones and emails, and processing requests, but it may take more time than usual to get back to you and we would ask for your patience and understanding during this time.

Regarding PERA's investments and Fund, like all investors this impact of COVID 19 on the U.S. and world economies has been felt at PERA as well. However, I want to be very clear that we have sufficient liquidity in our portfolio to continue paying retiree benefits. You may know that PERA pays nearly $107 million in pension benefits each month to our 41,000 retirees and those checks will continue to be sent. PERA's Investment Division if fully functioning and working to protect and grow the Fund.

Finally, you may have heard that the New Mexico Legislature passed, and Governor Lujan Grisham signed, important PERA pension solvency legislation, SB 72, earlier this year. We will be providing more information about how that legislation might affect you but we are very fortunate, given what is happening in the world now, that Governor Lujan Grisham and the Legislature had the foresight and leadership to take the action that they did. SB 72 was designed specifically to help PERA better weather downturns in the economy and markets than we have previously.

We will continue to look for ways to communicate with you during the upcoming weeks and months and would encourage you to periodically check our website and social media platforms for updates.

Sincerely,

John Melia

Board Chair

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