October 15, 2015

The Task Force met on October 15 at UCOP’s downtown Oakland office to continue its deliberations.


  • Discussion with Marty Morgenstern, former State of California Secretary, Labor & Workforce Development Agency, regarding recent statewide attitudes and trends concerning pension benefits/reforms for public employees.
  • Discussion with Bernie Jones, Deputy Chief of Staff to President Napolitano. Topics included the President’s appreciation for the work of the Task Force, review of her expectations for the Task Force, and some of the parameters/principles to be considered in developing recommendations (cost, competitiveness, etc.).
  • Continued discussion of a supplemental benefit approach, and review of various design options.
  • Continued discussion and review of defined contribution choice options. Topics included design options and related costs, appeal/feasibility of DC choice options for different UC employee groups, and examples of DC choice approach from other institutions.
  • Discussion with Associate Vice President/Systemwide Controller, Peggy Arrivas, regarding various implementation considerations.
  • Brief discussion about the process and timeline for drafting the Task Force report.
  • Next Task Force meeting: Oct. 29 by teleconference.

October 29, 2015

The Task Force met for four hours in person and by teleconference to continue its deliberations. Highlights:

  • Presentation by and discussion with representatives of TIAA-CREF. Topics included:
    • Recent industry shift from defined benefit (DB) plans to defined contribution (DC) plans as primary benefit solution
    • Greater use of Target Date Funds (TDF) for DC solutions with focus on retirement income vs. asset accumulation
    • Pros/cons of off-the-shelf vs. custom TDFs
    • TIAA-CREF’s “Custom Portfolio Solution” — a DB-type of solution that includes a guaranteed retirement income component and focuses on meeting a specific level of retirement income
  • Continued discussion and review of defined contribution choice options. Topics included:
    • Design options and related costs
    • Appeal/feasibility of DC choice options for different UC employee groups
    • Vesting, default and related considerations
    • Vera Potapenko, Chief HR Officer, Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, expressed the Lab’s support for a DC choice option as the Lab has many early-career and late-career employees and a DC option would be appealing to these employees.
  • Further discussion with EVP/CFO Brostrom, including:
    • Costs/financial considerations of both DC choice and supplemental DC options
    • Political considerations for various options
    • How to view/value competitiveness of different options (i.e., appropriate competitive benchmarks for new benefits)
    • Different priorities (i.e., salary vs. retirement options) for different employee positions/groups at different career stages
  • Continued discussion of a defined contribution supplemental benefit approach, including:
    • Costs, savings and competitiveness
    • Eligibility of different employee groups
    • Level of the employer match, and whether the match would be a flat rate or a graded option
    • Vesting considerations
  • Due to time constraints, the following items scheduled for this meeting will be discussed at the next meeting:
    • Revocability options/considerations
    • Task Force report writing process
    • Task Force consultation updates
  • Next Task Force meeting: Nov. 6.