The Business of Government
Porter Wilson discusses the opportunities and challenges of public fiduciaries and the leadership required to ensure success for future generations.
- Only the best fiduciary standards will do when public funds are at stake
- Managing through market volatility is to be expected and requires discipline
- The work of government employees continues to evolve as we embrace flexibility, autonomy and accountability
The Employees Retirement System of Texas is one of the most significant pension funds globally, managing over $35 billion in assets. The fiduciary responsibility is no small feat, and it takes relationship-building around all aspects of government. Weaver's Adam Jones tapped Porter Wilson, the system's Executive Director, for his perspective on the role of government in the stability of the Employees Retirement System of Texas and what indicators he has on the future of government employees.
Wilson says that in his ten years as Executive Director, challenges come with the territory, but things have not changed a great deal on a macro level. "On the pension side, we're trying to manage the four pension programs we administer for long-term sustainability. We're trying to make sure the benefits, revenue streams, and investment pieces are all working together so that these programs can continue for long periods."
On the health care side, Wilson says it's essential to ensure stability while managing costs and focusing on ways to keep employees healthy. But one of the most significant challenges to emerge over the past decade from Wilson's perspective is procurement. "It's a big piece of what we do. It's virtually everything. From the health care programs we administer to many of the investment funds where outside money managers are procured, there's been a lot of movement in the procurement space in the last seven to ten years." The balance comes in being nimble while obtaining the best value for stakeholders.
Current issues, including the great resignation and losing employees due to retirement, all impact the future of a pension fund, which begs the question, what do the next few years look like in terms of government employees? It’s something Wilson is keeping a close eye on. "One of the things we're doing is trying to envision what we're going to be as an organization over the next 75 years. A key piece of the conversation we're having within our agency is what we will look like as an organization. We're trying to be flexible and realize that one size isn't going to fit all."