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Book details
  • Genre:HISTORY
  • SubGenre:United States / State & Local / General
  • Language:English
  • Pages:296
  • Hardcover ISBN:9781543964318

Alabama's Public Pension Fund Growth and Economic Expansion Since 1973

by Mark Fagan

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The pension fund is the Retirement Systems of Alabama (RSA) which manages pensions for 358,000 public teachers and public employees. This book tells how RSA grew assets and helped expand Alabama's economy through RSA's investments and industrial recruitment for the state. The Oral History chapter includes statements from President Trump, US Senator Richard Shelby, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey, former Alabama governors Jim Folsom Jr. and Bob Riley, retired Alabama Supreme Court Associate Justice Janie Shores and retired Chief Justice Sue Bell Cobb, US congressmen Glen Browder and Jo Bonner, industrial developers Billy Joe Camp and Elmer Harris (Mercedes-Benz), corporate executives locating facilities (Airbus, IPSCO, Bell Micro) to Alabama, and many others. The remaining chapters provide photos and documentation which validate these statements.

RSA' funds under management grew from some $600 million in 1973 to $43.8 billion in 2018 while earning $52 billion in investment income and paying $51 billion in benefits. RSA's most famous investment is The Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail with its 26 golf courses and 8 resort hotels. RSA's other alternative investments were in 65 TV stations, 125 newspapers, and 15 buildings in Alabama and New York City. It serves as a memoir of Dr. David G. Bronner's activities at RSA and preserves these memories for Alabama history.


Details are given on how RSA diversified assets into billions of dollars in office buildings, golf courses, hotels, media companies, housing, and other commercial industries which stimulated Alabama’s economy, created higher paying jobs, and increased tax revenue. RSA played a role in almost every major industrial development project in Alabama since 1993 and assisted with financing for many of the corporations that developed plants in the state. RSA staff helped recruit corporations such as Mercedes-Benz and Airbus to set the foundation for the automotive and aerospace industries in Alabama. RSA developed a massive railcar assembly plant in Alabama and developed facilities for hosting Alabama’s Internet Exchange. RSA worked to develop Alabama companies in the chemical, wood pulp, steel, metals, maritime, and high-tech industries. Details are given on Alabama's economic expansion since 1973.

The basic information in this book was compiled from RSA newsletters, RSA reports, and news stories and interviews about RSA's activities over the last 45 years. It was written for RSA members, RSA Board members, RSA staff members, political and business leaders in Alabama, academic professionals teaching about public pension funds, and historians documenting Alabama history over the last 50 years. It was written for future leaders at RSA and Alabama as well as future members of RSA.

About the author

Mark Fagan earned a degree in psychology and economics at Jacksonville State University (JSU), then received his Master's and Doctoral degrees in social policy along with a doctoral minor in Human Resources Management at the University of Alabama. He retired from JSU as Professor Emeritus in 2012 with 32 years teaching and managing the Department of Sociology and Social Work. He has assisted in efforts for economic development in Alabama, and has written extensively about economic impacts, economic history, and retirement development for 39 years. His research on migrating retirees was used to establish the Alabama program to attract retirees. 

His work on attracting retirees was used as partial justification for developing The Trail. Beginning in 1991, his work on The Trail included: assisting negotiations for three of the golf complexes; completing projected economic impact studies for five of the golf complexes; providing justification for State funding for access roads for four of the golf complexes; assisting with housing development at four of the golf complexes; assisting JSU to launch the first website for The Trail in 1995; writing 35 articles, 17 encyclopedia entries, and making 11 presentations about The Trail; receiving publicity in 24 publications for work on The Trail; being interviewed by The Golf Channel with the story broadcast worldwide during of The Barbasol Championship in 2017 (at Grand National); and appearing on 16 television programs and four radio programs discussing The Trail.

Mark has now published 10 books and has been a consistent resource for national news media outlets concerning retirees and retirement strategies.