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Arizona public safety pension fund ranks in top 10 nationally


A new study released by the American Investment Council has recognized Arizona’s Public Safety Personnel Retirement System as one of the top 10 public pension funds in the country by private equity returns.

As leaders of the Arizona Fraternal Order of Police, the Arizona Police Association and the Professional Fire Fighters Association of Arizona, we are excited to see such positive returns. The success of this fund is incredibly important because PSPRS represents a lifeline on which the hard-working public safety personnel of Arizona rely. Returns like these provide greater financial security for our state’s most dedicated public workers, for their municipal and agency employers and Arizona’s taxpayers.

Tens of thousands of Arizona firefighters and police officers put on their uniforms each day and face the serious risks inherent to their professions. The success of PSPRS helps provide them the assurance that their loved ones and families will be taken care of under any unfortunate circumstances. Just as our police and firefighters give back to Arizona’s communities, PSPRS gives back by ensuring stable, middle-class retirements for first responders and their families.

PSPRS was founded in 1968 to provide a consistent and equitable statewide retirement program for Arizona’s public safety personnel. Part of this responsibility includes managing a diverse and responsible investment portfolio. With a current value of about $10.5 billion, the PSPRS portfolio is designed to produce solid investment returns while reducing the risk of losing money to the greatest extent possible.

These returns are not just numbers on a report, either. They tangibly influence the hopes, dreams, and future aspirations of police officers, firefighters, and others in Arizona and across America. As highlighted in the investment council’s report, PSPRS’s investment in private equity is a forceful driver that yields impressive returns for its beneficiaries. In fact, this study ranked PSPRS fifth in the country by private equity returns.

Private equity firms themselves are also major drivers of growth and innovation across the country. They help businesses of all sizes, providing much-needed capital investment, as well as strategic thinking and management expertise. Across the state of Arizona, private equity helps grow many local businesses and is critical to helping PSPRS provide a more secure future for those it serves.

It is great to see that the private equity performance at PSPRS has not gone unnoticed. Our police and firefighters are grateful for these returns. Arizona’s public safety personnel, who put their lives on the line for the safety of Arizonans, should be able to enjoy a secure, stable retirement after many years of service. We are equally grateful that PSPRS – with new organizational leadership, a Board of Trustees all appointed within the past three years and whose members have more collective financial experience than previous boards – continues to make progress on the path to systemic sustainability.

Together with important legislative reforms and a new investment model, improved private equity returns represent a necessary step forward for PSPRS, Arizona’s communities and the nearly 60,000 members who rely on the system to keep them safe after a career spent keeping us safe.

— Sean Mattson is president of Arizona Fraternal Order of Police. Joe Clure is executive director of Arizona Police Association. Bryan Jeffries is president of Professional Fire Fighters of Arizona.

One comment

  1. Then why have the unions allowed, if not lobbied for, the removal of new hires from the retirement system? New hires will have their own 401 system rather than contribute to the state retirement system. Soon pay outside will out pace investment.

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