Photo by John Schreiber.

The average benefit for Los Angeles Department of Water and Power retirees in the fiscal year ending July 1, 2015, was higher than other city and county retirees and comparable to city public safety retirees, according to an audit released Tuesday by City Controller Ron Galperin.

The average monthly retiree benefit for recipients of the Los Angeles City Water and Power Employees’ Retirement Plan was $5,212, according to the audit.

In comparison, civilian city retirees covered by the Los Angeles City Employees’ Retirement System had an average monthly benefit of $4,023; county retirees covered by the Los Angeles County Employees Retirement Association averaged $3,881; and public-safety retirees in the Los Angeles Fire and Police Pensions averaged $5,309, according to Galperin.

The audit also found that WPERP had assets totaling more than $10 billion in market value as of June 30, 2015, and plans to reduce its holdings in domestic equities from 39.2 percent of total assets to 33 percent, while increasing fixed income from 19.6 percent to 24 percent.

Aon Hewitt Investment Consulting, which was a consultant on the report, did not recommend any changes in asset allocation strategy beyond those already adopted by the plan’s Board of Administration, according to the audit, which also found that compared to independent third-party survey data and a customized peer group survey, WPERP’s overall administrative and travel expenses are very low.

The audit also recommended evaluating the cost savings that may be achieved through consolidation of the WPERP with the city’s other pension plans, although it did not render an opinion on the advisability of such a consolidation and recommended that the city research whether an amendment to California’s Constitution would be required as part of such a consolidation.

The release of the audit, which is required every five years, comes one day after Transparent California reported that the LADWP paid $435 million in pension benefits last year, with an electrical engineer who received $363,000 topping the list. It is the first time such information has been made public, according to the group.

But the agency criticized the Transparent California report, saying it includes “extremely misleading and incomplete information about an LADWP retiree that is used to attract interest in the story and is falsely represented as indicative of the LADWP retirement system.”

— From Staff and Wire Reports

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