Board Oversight > Minutes Archive > May 17, 2024, CRA Minutes

May 17, 2024, CRA Minutes

Board Meeting: September 15

A meeting of the Governing Board of the Colorado Retirement Association was held on May 17, 2024 at 9:00 a.m.

The following were present at the meeting:

  • Chris Felton, Board Chairperson
  • Adam Ford, Vice Chairperson-Participated by Zoom
  • Darius Allen, Board Member- Participated by Zoom
  • Tobe Allumbaugh, Board Member- Participated by Zoom
  • Jerry DiTullio, Board Member – Participated by Zoom
  • Meghan Martinez, Board Member – Participated by Zoom
  • Terri Schafer, Board Member – Participated by Zoom
  • Tim Mullen, Executive Director
  • Ed Krisor, Legal Counsel
  • Mike Whalen, Retirement Plan Services Director
  • Matt Evans, Communications Specialist
  • Lois Kruse, Office Administrator

Board Chairperson Chris Felton, called the meeting to order at 9:00 a.m.

Mr. Felton asked members of the Board if they reviewed the minutes from the February 16, 2024 meeting and if there were any comments. There being none, a motion was made by Chris Felton to approve the minutes as presented. Tobe Allumbaugh seconded the motion and it passed unanimously. Adam Ford and Jerry DiTullio abstained from the vote as they were not present at that meeting or for portions of that meeting.

Terri Schafer joined the meeting after the minutes motion and vote.


Innovest – Quarterly Update – March 31, 2024:
Jared Martin from Innovest Portfolio Solutions, LLC (Innovest), CRA’s investment advisor, began his presentation by sharing that Innovest has been named Best Small Business of the Year by the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce.

Mr. Martin provided an overview of Innovest’s history with CRA regarding investment activities, enhancements, and fund changes. July 8, 2024 is the date selected for fund changes
approved by the CRA Board of Directors at the February 16, 2024 meeting.


Innovest’s Fiduciary Topics and Trends.
This quarter the focus is on Investment Menu Design.

  • As a fiduciary of a defined contribution plan, Innovest’s and CRA’s focus is on creating a streamlined menu of investment options for participants, while offering full menu coverage and investment diversity.
  • Less is more. A study by the US Department of Labor found that for every 10 funds added to a 401k plan, participation in the plan decreased by 1.5-2%.
  • Plan Sponsors have streamlined investment menus over the past decade. Industry data shows that the average number of investment options has decreased from 26.3 in 2010 to 15.4 in 2020.
  • Fewer fund choices can create more opportunities for economies of scale by taking advantage of higher fund minimums with lower fees.
  • Plan sponsors must monitor all investment options. Overly large fund menus can be difficult and time consuming to monitor.
  • Innovest believes CRA’s investment menu is of the appropriate diversity, design, and size.

Mr. Martin continued his presentation with a brief fee review, noting CRA is very competitive. The fee report is prepared annually and an updated report should be presented at one of the fall Board meetings.

Brett Minnick of Innovest began his presentation noting:

  • US Large Cap stocks returned 29.9% for the year ended March 31, 2024 with large tech names bringing most of the returns.
  • US Small Cap Stocks and Developed International Stocks also performed well, both one-year returns exceeding those of Emerging Market Stocks. Emerging Market returns were 8.2% for the same year ended and have lagged the rest of the market for the last three to five years.
  • Innovest’s Economic update focused on the labor market, inflation, and interest rates.
  • For the first three months of 2024, jobs increased by over 300,00. Expectations were in the 230,000 range.
  • Inflation continues to be somewhat of a problem, with job and wage growth continuing to exacerbate the issue.
  • The Federal funds rate target remains the same at 5.25%-5.50%. With inflation continuing to remain stubborn, any significant rate cuts are unlikely this year.
  • The U.S. government continues to borrow at these elevated funds rates, with net interest costs (as a % of GDP) moving to historically high levels.

The changes in the Fund Manager Scorecard from the previous quarter have all been in a positive direction, reflecting improvements in various prior concerns. Also discussed were the Investment Table of Returns, reflecting strong performance from the Target Date Portfolios and other select funds.


Legislative Update:
Joan Green, legislative lobbyist for CRA, joined the Board meeting to provide a legislative update. Ms. Green noted there were 705 bills introduced, 81 more than the previous year legislative session. This year, a lot of the bills were large, far reaching, and very broad in nature. Several bills from this year’s session were discussed, noting whether they passed or did not pass.
Ms. Green exited the meeting after concluding her presentation.


2024 Scholarship Award Recipients:
Next on the agenda was the notification to the Board of the 2024 CRA Scholarship Award Recipients. This is the fifth year using the format where six winners will receive a one-time $2,000.00 scholarship from CRA. There were a total of 75 scholarship applications this year. The 2024 CRA Scholarship Award Recipients are:

  • Michelle Clark
  • Samson Gryboski
  • Grace Lupton
  • Cinnomon O’Connor
  • Nathon Reinick
  • Kaitlyn Tracy

Denis Rice led the scholarship committee again this year. Mr. Rice explained the process to assemble, score, and analyze all of the applications. Mr. Mullen thanked Mr. Rice and the scholarship committee for the time and effort expended in the selection process.

The CRA scholarship program was discussed and recapped, noting changes over the years. There was lengthy discussion regarding the total number and dollar amount of scholarships. A motion was made by Meghan Martinez to increase the amount of each scholarship to $2,500.00 and to increase the number of scholarships offered to a total of ten. The motion was seconded by Darius Allen and it passed unanimously.


Financial Update – Unaudited as of December 31, 2023:
Denis Rice presented the Plan and Association financial statements for the 2nd fiscal quarter ended December 31, 2023. The discussion reviewed the balance sheets, income statements, budget versus actual, and the Association’s general ledger. Financials for the 3rd fiscal quarter ending March 31, 2024 will be presented at the June 14, 2024 BOD meeting.


Fiscal Year-End (FYE) June 30, 2025 Budget:
Tim Mullen and Denis Rice presented the proposed FYE June 30, 2025 budget and related analysis. Discussed were market considerations, impacts of market movements, estimated current year budget versus actual, and detailed analysis of the proposed revenue and expenses. Additional staff have been hired to accommodate employer growth and plan administration compliance.

Mr. Felton made a motion to accept the CRA FYE June 30, 2025 budget as proposed. Adam Ford seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.


CRA Activity Updates:
Mr. Mullen started the CRA activity update portion of the meeting noting that one new Client Service Manager, Lonnie Sperle, is on-board and two more will be joining CRA on Monday, June 3, 2024. Lonnie Sperle was introduced to the Board.

CRA’s retirement series webinars continue. A Medicare 101 presentation was given on Tuesday, May 14, 2024. A full calendar of seminar dates is available on the CRA website.
Civic Plus is a vendor receiving consideration in assisting CRA with American Disabilities Act compliance changes for the website that will be required beginning July 1, 2024.

Mr. Mullen shared that the CCI conference will be May 28 through May 30, 2024. The CML conference will be June 18 through June 21, 2024.

Education for county management, sheriff’s offices, and Boards of County Commissioners continues with a focus on CRA’s flexibility in plan design and complete plan administration support.
CRA is continuing to respond to various Colorado Employer’s Request for Proposals (RFPs) for retirement services.


Expense Reports:
Mr. Felton asked the members of the Board if there were any questions or concerns regarding the expense reports. There being none, the reports were accepted as presented.


The next meeting of the CRA Board of Directors will be held on June 14, 2024.
Mr. Felton asked if anyone had anything additional for the good of the order. There being no further business to come before the Board, Chris Felton adjourned the meeting at 11:23 a.m.