The Retirement System
Initially established by approval of City voters on November 2, 1920, and the California State Legislature on January 12, 1921, the San Francisco Employees’ Retirement System (“Retirement System” or “SFERS”) is deeply rooted in the history and culture of the City and County of San Francisco and is committed to serving the retirement needs of its members.
Originally established as a fund to assist families and orphans of firefighters and police, today the Retirement System serves more than 74,000 active, vested, and retired employees of the City and County of San Francisco and their survivors.
The San Francisco Employees’ Retirement System is dedicated to securing, protecting, and prudently investing the pension trust assets, administering mandated benefit programs, and providing promised benefits to the active and retired members of the City and County of San Francisco.
SFERS members include eligible employees of the City and County of San Francisco, the San Francisco Unified School District, the San Francisco Community College District, and the San Francisco Trial Courts. Uniformed employees working for the City’s Police and Fire Departments are covered by the SFERS Safety Plans. Eligible civilian (non- Safety) employees of the City are covered by the SFERS Miscellaneous Plan.
Sheriff, Undersheriff, and deputized personnel of the Sheriff’s Department hired after January 7, 2012, are covered by the SFERS Sheriff’s Plan. Probation Officers, District Attorney Investigators, and Juvenile Court Counselors hired after January 7, 2012, are covered by the SFERS Miscellaneous Safety Plan.
The Pension Plan
The SFERS Pension Plan is a tax-qualified defined benefit plan, funded through employee and employer contributions and investment earnings, that provides for the following benefits upon separation: service and disability retirement, refund or vesting allowance, and pre and post-retirement death benefits to beneficiaries. Select the appropriate member group below to get detailed provisions for each type of benefit (Miscellaneous, Safety, Sheriff, or Miscellaneous Safety).
Each year, the Retirement System conducts an actuarial valuation of its assets and liabilities in order to assess the funded status of the System and to determine appropriate levels of City contributions to the Fund for the next Fiscal Year.
The main actuarial assumptions used to measure the System’s liabilities for future benefits payments were:
July 1, 2023
July 1, 2022
|Investment Return||7.20% per year||7.20% per year|
|Wage Inflation||3.25% per year||3.25% per year|
|Price Inflation||2.50% per year||2.50% per year|
|Mortality||Adj. Pub-2010 Mortality Tables projected generationally with Scale MP 2019||Adj. Pub-2010 Mortality Tables projected generationally with Scale MP 2019|
The actuarial funding methods used are:
|Methods||As of July 1, 2023|
|Actuarial Cost Method||Entry Age Normal Cost|
|Asset Valuation Method||5-year smoothing of investment return greater than or less than the expected investment return|
|Amortization Periods||Unfunded liability due to benefit increases amortized as a level percentage of payroll over 15 years (5 years for supplemental COLAs, retirement incentive programs and amendments for inactive members)|
Unfunded liability due to actuarial gains and losses, assumption changes and miscellaneous items amortized as a level percentage of payroll over a closed 20-year period
The increase in unfunded liability due to the 2022 Proposition A Charter amendment was amortized as a level percentage of payroll over 10 years
Employer (City and County) Contribution Rates
The unadjusted employer contribution rates are calculated at the valuation date prior to the fiscal year in which the contributions are paid. Employees will share in the cost of the employer rate depending on their pay rate at the beginning of the fiscal year:
|Fiscal Year Contributions Due:|
July 1, 2022
July 1, 2021
|Remaining Cost of Propositions||2.49%||3.54%|
|Other Unfunded Actuarial Liability||4.45%||6.52%|
|Board Approved Employer Contribution Rate||18.24%||21.35%|
The Retirement System takes great pride in maintaining a level of assets necessary to meet the promise of providing benefits for its members into perpetuity. With prudent investment strategies and annual actuarial valuations, SFERS has a sustained history of sufficient funding levels to meet benefit obligations over many years.
SFERS Annual Funded Status
Periods as of July 1. Funded Radio (rounded to the nearest percent) per year