Contra Costa County Chooses the “Full-Service Leader in OPEB” – PARS

Categories: Hot Sheets,OPEB/GASB 45/75
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Contra Costa County has taken steps to address its $1 billion OPEB liability.

Understanding the need for addressing a $2.6 billion OPEB liability, Contra Costa County worked together with labor through collective bargaining to reduce the liability to just over $1 billion. That being accomplished, Contra Costa County set up their own trust in 2008 but had not chosen an investment firm. PARS was asked to come in to share its program. When the County learned of the full-service approach of PARS and Union Bank, including an IRS-approved 115 trust and customized investment strategy from HighMark Capital Management, Union Bank’s wholly-owned subsidiary, they adopted the PARS OPEB Program.

The County had originally designated Trustees, consisting of County Financial Officials, to administer the plan and report back to the Board. All fiduciary oversight was placed on these County Officials. By setting up its own trust, the County sought to maintain local control over the trust and its assets. Under the PARS program, Union Bank will operate as a “discretionary” trustee, permitting the County to delegate investment fiduciary risk and responsibilities from County officials to the bank for investment management of the trust assets. PARS will provide ongoing trust administration to minimize the burden on County staff.

Lisa Driscoll, Finance Director for Contra Costa County explains why PARS was right choice for the County, “We were looking for a program administrator with experience and a proven track record. PARS is just such an administrator. Not only do they offer security, flexibility and personal service, but they also allow us to participate in selecting the investment strategies for these funds, giving the County control on target rate of return and level of risk on investments. Plus, Union Bank has a great reputation for Trustee services too.” This program will have a positive impact on the County’s OPEB liability and consequently its overall fiscal stability.

By adopting the PARS OPEB Trust, the County stands to benefit from:

  • Fifteen years of successful OPEB trust experience
  • IRS-approved 115 trust
  • Complete investment flexibility, including customized investment strategies
  • Union Bank acting as Trustee, providing oversight protection
  • Discretionary Trustee approach minimizing fiduciary risk
  • Senior Portfolio Manager from HighMark Capital Management dedicated to their account
  • Assistance with investment policy development

The PARS Advantage

Over the last 28 years, PARS has designed and delivered more than 1,060 individualized retirement solutions for more than 570 public agencies, covering 270,000 public employees. We are on the cutting edge of designing and administering post-retirement healthcare funding solutions for California local governments. PARS first began administering post-retirement healthcare trusts in 1996. Since that time, we have consulted with numerous public agencies on GASB 45 issues, and designed and developed two trailblazing multiple-employer IRC Section 115 trusts.

Like Contra Costa County, you can take advantage of PARS’ experience and innovation, with Union Bank’s strength and protections. Consider the PARS Trust now.


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