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Timothy M. O’Brien

Retiree Candidate

Retired as Colorado State Auditor from the Office of the State Auditor


Education/Special Courses/Certifications

B.S.B.A., Loyola University of Chicago

M.B.A., University of Colorado

Certified Public Accountant for over 40 years

Chartered Financial Analyst designation for over 25 years

Chartered Global Management Accountant designation

Employment History

Denver Auditor, 2015–Present

Independent Consultant, 2003–2015

American Humane Association, 1999–2003

  • CEO

Mercer Investment Consulting, 1995–1999

  • Principal

Office of the State Auditor, 1984–1995

  • Colorado State Auditor

Colorado Bureau of Investigation, 1980–1981

Department of Institutions, 1977–1980

Public accounting, 1972–1977

Organizational Affiliations/Achievements

PERA Board of Trustees, 2011–Present and 1984–1995

  • PERA Board Chairman, 2016–2020
  • PERA Audit Committee Chairman, 2021–Present

Board of Directors, Vantagepoint Mutual Funds, 2005–2016

  • Vantagepoint Board Chairman, 2012–2016

Past Board Member, Past President, Colorado Society of CPAs

Past Member, Governing Council, American Institute of CPAs

Chartered Financial Analyst Institute

Chartered Financial Analyst Society of Colorado

National Association of State Auditors, Comptrollers, and Treasurers

Association of Local Government Auditors

Responses to Key Questions

Candidate responses were limited to 100-150 words; responses have not been edited by PERA.

Interest in Serving as a PERA Trustee

Please briefly describe why you are interested in being elected to the PERA Board of Trustees.

All people deserve to retire with security and dignity. Across the country, pension funds are under attack by politicians and others who make a living saying the “sky is falling” because of public pensions. Some states moved towards defined contribution plans that do not offer the same level of retirement security to workers. That is neither in the best interest of the participant nor our society. We cannot have teachers, nurses and other public employees retire into poverty. I will always advocate for a well-funded defined benefit pension plan that will be there when we retire.

Challenges/Opportunities Facing PERA

Please describe what you consider as areas of challenge/opportunity facing PERA and the Board’s role in addressing these issues.

PERA’s funded status was affected by recently adopted new mortality tables and a lower rate of return assumption. This created an opportunity for legislation that enacted reforms to get the pension fund fully funded in 30 years. It is both a challenge and an opportunity to find creative and equitable solutions to funded status. I believe the Board needs to “stay the course”. There will be future attempts to change the funding solution enacted in 2018. I believe there are opportunities to better communicate and increase transparency using technology. This will enable our stakeholders to provide input and feedback. We should continue provide our stakeholders the technical means to weigh-in on challenges that we will be faced with in the future.

The Role of a Trustee

What do you see as the role of a Trustee on the PERA Board?

It is the obligation of each PERA Trustee to conduct himself or herself solely in the interest of PERA Participants. This requires that Trustees behave in accordance with the highest standards of fiduciary conduct, professionalism, and ethics. We must act with the utmost good faith, scrupulous honesty, and loyalty to the participants and beneficiaries.