David G. Bronner
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|David George Bronner|
|Born||January 22, 1945|
|Occupation||CEO Retirement Systems of Alabama|
David George Bronner (born January 22, 1945 in Cresco, Iowa) is an American businessman. He is best known as the head of Retirement Systems of Alabama (RSA), the pension fund for employees of the State of Alabama.
Bronner is the son of George David and Marge Bronner. He received his elementary and high school education in Austin, Minnesota. He obtained his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees at Mankato State University (now Minnesota State University, Mankato), in Mankato, Minnesota. From 1967 to 1969, Bronner was an instructor in the School of Business and Finance at Mankato State. He then entered the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa, where he earned a law degree in 1971 and a Ph.D. in 1972.
After teaching in various graduate schools of Education and Business, he was appointed as assistant dean of the Law School at the University of Alabama. Shortly thereafter, Bronner took his present job with RSA in 1973. At that time RSA had approximately $500 million of funds and was owed $1.5 billion by the state. By the end of 2012, RSA had amassed over $28 billion in investments and $42 billion in actuarial liabilities, making RSA the 43rd largest public pension fund in the United States, with the 23rd worst funding ratio. Under Bronner's leadership, RSA's overall returns have consistently lagged those of comparable pension funds, with RSA underperforming other large state pension funds by more than 1.0% per year during the decade from 2002 to 2012. As a result of subpar investment returns, RSA plans are only 62% funded against the actuarial value of their liabilities, exposing the state of Alabama to an unfunded debt ranging from $14 billion (at RSA's assumed investment return of 8%) to as much as $59 billion (discounting plan liabilities using Treasury bonds).
The growth in RSA's asset base has been hampered by a number of highly-public developments and acquisitions. To those in Alabama, the most visible RSA development is the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, which features eleven golf course complexes throughout the state and attracts considerable tourist revenue and out-of-state publicity. Bronner directed the fund to purchase a large interest in US Airways, which resulted in his serving briefly as the airline's chairman, but ultimately in the complete loss of RSA's $150 million investment. RSA has also been a major backer of Community Newspaper Holdings, a chain of over 100 small-market newspapers based in Birmingham, Alabama. The RSA Battle House Tower in Mobile, Alabama is another of Bronner's developments. He also directed the RSA to purchase Raycom Media, now the fifth largest owner of local television stations, with over 50, in the nation. Many of these alternative investments have proved to be controversial money-losers, explaining most if not all of RSA's persistent underperformance versus its peer group.