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Santa Barbara County Employees’ Retirement System Boasts 10.5% Gain in Last Fiscal Year

Santa Barbara County’s billion-dollar retirement fund showed a positive gain that will phase in over the next five years, as the fiscal year ended last month.

The Santa Barbara County Employees’ Retirement System, or SBCERS, posted a return rate of 10.5 percent for the financial year that ended June 30, the public agency announced.

It also marked an improvement over the previous year, with assets at the end of the 2016-2017 fiscal year at $2.8 billion — an increase of more than $243 million compared to the prior financial year’s asset value.

Over the five-year period ending June 30, the fund averaged an annual return of 7 percent, which is consistent with the assumed rate of return that became effective June 30, 2016.

Generating returns above the assumed rate is expected to improve the retirement system’s funding ratio, according to SBCERS CEO Greg Levin.

“It is great to see SBCERS achieve double-digit investment returns,” Levin wrote in a statement. “The SBCERS portfolio performed well over several asset classes and provided a positive result.

“The performance will positively impact the upcoming contribution rate setting process, and results in a gain that will phase in over the next five years.”

More information about the funded status of the plan and impact of the year’s investment performance on future constitution rates will be available in fall, Levin said.

Countywide per-employee pension costs have almost doubled since 2008.

In June, the county Board of Supervisors discussed the proposed $1.07 billion 2017-2018 budget, which includes higher pension costs.

Noozhawk staff writer Brooke Holland can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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