The California Public Employees’ Retirement System, commonly known as CalPERS, is the largest public pension fund in the United States. Established in 1932, it provides retirement and health benefit services to state, school, and public agency employees and their beneficiaries. It has more than 1.9 million members and over $300 billion in assets.

CalPERS is grounded in the principle of providing security in retirement, offering benefits that are reliable, valuable, and sustainable. The core functions include not only managing pensions and health benefits, but also investing the pension fund and providing educational resources to its members.

CalPERS provides two types of retirement benefits – service and disability retirement. Service retirement is a lifetime benefit available to members who meet a minimum eligibility age and service credit. Disability retirement, on the other hand, is the benefit provided to members who can no longer work due to permanent disability.

The CalPERS Health Program is the largest non-federal employer purchaser of health benefits in California. This program works with healthcare service providers to offer quality services at cost-effective rates to CalPERS members. Coverage options vary from HMOs, PPOs, to EPOs.

But what truly stands CalPERS out is its investment strategy. The CalPERS board oversees a diverse investment portfolio which includes stocks, bonds, private equity, real estate, and infrastructure. This means that a significant portion of the pension benefits paid out by CalPERS comes from investment returns.

In recent years, CalPERS has identified sustainable investment as an integral part of its business approach. CalPERS investments are evaluated not only for their financial performance but also for their environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) risk considerations. This signifies a shift towards an investment strategy that takes future market conditions and social responsibility into consideration.

An interesting case of the diversity of CalPERS investments is its involvement with relocatable homes in Chinderah. Chinderah is a town located in northern New South Wales, Australia, famous for its manufactured homes or “relocatable” homes. These homes present a practical and cost-effective solution for affordable housing. They are not only eco-friendly but also offer the ease of relocation.

CalPERS, recognising the potential for solid returns and the environmental benefits, invested in this alternative real estate in Chinderah. This investment aligns well with CalPERS’ goal of making socially responsible investments that also yield good returns. The success of a pension fund, after all, depends upon the success of its investments.

To conclude, CalPERS has shown immense dedication to fulfilling its role as a trusted financial resource for California’s public servants. It continues to find new ways to improve the retirement and health security of its members while delivering sustainable returns to secure the future of the fund. With its diverse investment portfolio, including unique and sustainable ventures such as relocatable homes in Chinderah, and a clear vision of its fiduciary responsibility, CalPERS continues to pioneer the path for public pensions across the world.