Analysis

State Public Pension Plan Strategies for Reporting and Disclosure

A look at practices nationwide

The Center for State and Local Government Excellence, with assistance from the National Association of State Retirement Administrators, in 2016 collected a range of data on how major state pension systems communicate financial, benefit, and governance information to their members and other parties. The importance of complete, clear, and timely reporting of pension plan information and communication to members, policymakers, and interested stakeholders continues to grow as reforms are changing retirement benefits for many state and local public employees.

With the work funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts, the report that details the survey results aims to answer two central questions: How do major public pension systems across the United States communicate key financial, benefit, and governance information to their members and other interested parties? And which retirement systems provide examples and demonstrate how to effectively communicate relevant information?

State systems use a variety of approaches to share important information. The map and table below highlight several key approaches. These are among the more commonly used tools:

  • Experience studies formally monitor how accurate the associated plan’s actuarial assumptions usually over several years. These studies are produced according to state statutes, board rules, and public pension industry best practices. They can help plan fiduciaries determine if they are using the correct assumptions or need to make adjustments. The frequency of experience studies ranged from annually to every eight years; every four or five years was most typical.
  • Participant newsletters provide nontechnical financial information on a plan. About 75 percent of the governments surveyed offer related financial content in plan newsletters.
  • A summary plan description (or benefits guide) communicates information to participants about what benefits are provided by the system, how the benefits are structured, benefit eligibility, and related content. These documents are written in plain language and typically include text and charts to help communicate complicated financial information.
  • A periodic audit is an independent review of a plan’s actuarial statements that is generally completed at a regular interval. This type of audit provides assurance that the plan complies with actuarial standards of practice. It also helps fiduciaries assess whether a pension plan is meeting its funding objectives. The audit can include recommendations for improving the valuation process and presenting results.

For more information on reporting practices and examples of state plans with effective strategies for sharing information with members and other stakeholders, see the Center for State and Local Government Excellence’s full report, “Public Pension Reporting and Disclosure: The Current State of Practice and Examples of What Works Well,” found here.

Source: "Public Pension Reporting and Disclosure: The Current State of Practice and Examples of What Works Well,"  Center for State and Local Government Excellence with input and assistance from the National Association of State Retirement Administrators


State

System name

Does the participant newsletter offer information about plan financial condition?

Is a 'plain language,' 'popular,' or 'summary' financial reporting document offered online?

What is the system’s policy on periodic audits of actuarial statements?

Alabama

Retirement Systems of Alabama

yes

yes

required every 5 years

Alaska

Alaska Department of Retirement Services

yes

no

required every 4 years

Arizona

Arizona State Retirement System

yes

yes

not required, but performed every 5 years by practice

Arizona

Arizona Public Safety Personnel Retirement System

yes

yes

every 5 to 7 years by board policy

Arkansas

Arkansas Public Employees Retirement System

yes

no

not required

Arkansas

Arkansas Teacher Retirement System

no

no

not required

California

California Public Employees’ Retirement System

yes

publishes a "strategic plan annual report"

audited annually as part of outside auditor’s reviewof the comprehensive annual financial report

California

California State Teachers’ Retirement System

yes

yes

every 5 years by practice

California

University of California Retirement System

no

yes

required annually

Colorado

Colorado Public Employees’ Retirement Association

yes

yes

required every 5 years

Colorado

Colorado Fire & Police Pension Association

yes

no

not required, but done about every 5 years as a matter of best practice

Connecticut

Connecticut Teachers’ Retirement Board

no

no

not required

Connecticut

Connecticut State Employees’ Retirement System

no

no

not required

Delaware

Delaware Public Employees Retirement System

yes

no

not required

Florida

Florida Retirement System

no

no

required annually

Georgia

Georgia Teachers Retirement System

no

no

not required, but done every 10 years

Georgia

Georgia Employees Retirement System

no

no

not required

Hawaii

Hawaii Employees Retirement System

yes

no

details not available

Idaho

Idaho Public Employee Retirement System

yes

no

required every 4 years

Illinois

Illinois State Employees Retirement System

yes

yes

The State Actuary review process requires annual auditing of actuarial statements and methods.

Illinois

Illinois State Universities Retirement System

yes

yes

not required, but audits were done in 2012 and 2016

Illinois

Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund

yes

yes

required every 5 to 10 years

Illinois

Illinois Teachers Retirement System

yes

yes

required annually

Indiana

Indiana Public Retirement System

yes

yes

required as part of the external audit

Iowa

Iowa Public Employees Retirement System

no

yes

not required, but audits are conducted every 10 years by practice or when actuarial firm changes

Kansas

Kansas Public Employees Retirement System

yes

no

required every 6 years

Kentucky

Kentucky Retirement Systems

yes

yes

conducted every 5 years

Kentucky

Kentucky Teachers Retirement System

yes

no

not required, but audits are conducted every 10 years by practice

Louisiana

Louisiana State Employees Retirement System

yes

yes

not required

Louisiana

Louisiana Teachers Retirement System

no

yes

The legislative auditor reviews the valuation; the state Public Retirement Systems' Actuarial Committee reviews and approves the valuation when setting the projected employer contribution rate.

Louisiana

Parochial Employees’ Retirement System of Louisiana

yes

no

not required

Maine

Maine Public Employees Retirement System

yes

no

required every 5 years per board rule

Maryland

Maryland State Retirement and Pension System

yes

no

required every 5 years or when the actuary changes

Massachusetts

Massachusetts State Employees Retirement System

yes

details not available

required every 3 years (financial statements only)

Massachusetts

Massachusetts Teachers Retirement System

yes

no

not required

Michigan

Michigan Office of Retirement Systems

yes

no

not required

Michigan

Municipal Employees Retirement System of Michigan

yes

yes

required every 5 years per board policy

Minnesota

Minnesota Public Employee Retirement Association

yes

yes

required every 5 years

Minnesota

Minnesota State Retirement System

yes

no

required every 5 years

Minnesota

Minnesota Teachers Retirement Association

yes

no

required every 5 years

Mississippi

Mississippi Public Employees Retirement System

yes

yes

required every 6 years

Missouri

Missouri Public Schools Retirement System

yes

yes

required every 10 years by statute

Missouri

Missouri State Employees Retirement System

yes

yes

required every 10 years by statute

Missouri

Missouri Local Govt. Employees Retirement System

yes

no

required every 10 years by board policy

Missouri

MoDOT & Highway Patrol Employees’ Retirement System

no

no

required every 10 years bystatute

Montana

Montana Public Employees Retirement Board

no

no

required every 3 to 4 years

Montana

Montana Teachers Retirement System

yes

no

details not available

Nebraska

Nebraska Retirement Systems

yes

details not available

required every 10 years if the same actuary is retained

Nevada

Nevada Public Employees Retirement System

yes

yes

required every 10 years

New Hampshire

New Hampshire Retirement System

yes

yes

not required

New Jersey

New Jersey Division of Pension and Benefits

no

no

details not available

New Mexico

New Mexico Educational Retirement Board

yes

yes

required every 5 years per board policy

New Mexico

New Mexico Public Employees Retirement Association

yes

no

not required; conducted first actuarial audit in 2016; considering addinga requirement

New York

New York State and Local Retirement Systems

yes

no

required every 5 years

New York

New York State Teachers Retirement System

yes

yes

required every 5 years

North Carolina

North Carolina Retirement Systems

yes

no

required every 5 years

North Dakota

North Dakota Public Employees Retirement System

yes

no

required every 5 years

North Dakota

North Dakota Teachers Fund for Retirement

yes

no

required every 5 years

Ohio

Ohio State Teachers Retirement System

yes

no

required every 10 years

Ohio

Ohio Public Employees Retirement System

no

yes

required every 10 years

Ohio

Ohio Police & Fire Pension Fund

yes

yes

required every 10 years

Ohio

School Employees Retirement System of Ohio

yes

yes

required every 10 years

Oklahoma

Oklahoma Public Employees Retirement System

yes

yes

not required

Oklahoma

Oklahoma Teachers Retirement System

yes

yes

not required

Oregon

Oregon Employees Retirement System

yes

no

required every 10 years per statute; past practice had been every 8 to 9 years

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Public School Employees Retirement System

yes

yes

required every 5 years per practice

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania State Employees Retirement System

no

no

details not available

Rhode Island

Rhode Island Employees Retirement System

yes

no

required every 5 to 7 years by board rule

South Carolina

South Carolina Retirement Systems

no

yes

not required

South Dakota

South Dakota Retirement System

yes

no

required every 5 years

Tennessee

Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System

yes

no

required every 10 years by board rule

Texas

Teacher Retirement System of Texas

yes

yes

required every 5 years

Texas

Texas Employees Retirement System

no

no

required every 5 years

Texas

Texas County & District Retirement System

no

no

required every 5 years per state law; board policy requires every 4 years

Texas

Texas Municipal Retirement System

yes

yes

required every 5 years

Utah

Utah Retirement Systems

yes

yes

not required, but practice has been every 10 years (most recent was in 2012)

Vermont

Vermont Retirement Systems

no

no

not required

Virginia

Virginia Retirement System

no

other - financial and statistical highlights

required every 4 years, overseen by the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission

Washington

Washington Department of Retirement Systems

yes

yes

required every 2 years

West Virginia

West Virginia Consolidated Public Retirement Board

no

details not available

board commissions an external actuary to conduct a peer review of the system's internal actuary

Wisconsin

Wisconsin Retirement System

yes

no

required every 5 years

Wyoming

Wyoming Retirement System

yes

yes

not required, but practice has been every 5 years or when the actuary changes

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202.540.6390