New financial report released

OPERS’ CAFR focuses on moving your pension system forward

By Michael Pramik, Ohio Public Employees Retirement System

July 10, 2018 – OPERS has released its 2017 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, a yearly look at our financial, investment, actuarial and demographic measurements.

This year’s theme is “Focused Forward: Every step makes a difference.” It emphasizes that each decision made in the retirement saving process, no matter how seemingly small, makes a contribution to retirement security.

OPERS employees work daily to make sure each step we take propels the organization forward to achieve five main goals:

  • Provide a stable pension for all OPERS retirees.
  • Continue to provide a meaningful retiree health care program.
  • Minimize drastic plan design changes.
  • Be financially positioned to react to market volatility.
  • Maintain intergenerational equity.

Here are some of the facts you’ll discover about OPERS in the 2017 CAFR:

  • OPERS had a net position of $101.4 billion at the end of 2017, the first time in our history that net position topped $100 billion.
  • The system’s funded status at year-end was 81 percent.
  • We are able to pay off our unfunded liabilities within 18 years, 12 years sooner than mandated by Ohio law.
  • Health care expenses in 2017 were $1.0 billion.
  • The OPERS defined benefit investment portfolio returned 16.82 percent for the year; the health care portfolio returned 15.25 percent; the defined contribution portfolio returned 17.39 percent.
  • In 2017, member and employer contributions in all our pension plans totaled $3.4 billion, compared with net income from investing activity of $14.6 billion.
  • Of the 347,730 active members in our system, 94.4 percent have chosen the defined benefit plan, 3.3 percent the defined contribution plan and 2.3 percent the hybrid plan.
  • Our new retirees’ average pension was $2,285.
  • Of the 210,868 retirees in OPERS, 89 percent remained Ohio residents as of Dec. 31, 2017.
  • OPERS made $5.3 billion in pension benefit payments last year to Ohio residents.

Michael Pramik

Michael Pramik is communication strategist for the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System and editor of the PERSpective blog. As an experienced business journalist, he clarifies complex pension policies and helps members make smart choices to secure their retirement.

Michael Pramik

Communication Strategist

  • Great job! Excellent fiscal management! As is said sometimes, if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it! Thank you, OPERS.

  • In my pass through the latest financial and health are reports I read with some alarm the following statements regarding health care funding:

    “As of … December 31, 2016, health care funding is expected to remain solvent for 12 years before becoming a pay-as- you-go plan. If the funding status of the pension fund improves, the Board may continue to pre-fund the health care program.”

    I’ve known that employer contributions had come to an end to strengthen the pension fund but didn’t know of the short-term insolvency status of our health care fund. This indicates to me that some fairly significant actions are needed very soon to maintain the health care program. Am I interpreting this wrong? If not, I’m sure discussions are going on at PERS, so can you please share with us some preliminary courses of action being considered? I’m particularly concerned since from what i’ve been reading market returns may be much less than favorable over the coming years which could easily put our health care fund at greater risk.

    Thank-you,
    Scott

    • Could someone please address the above question regarding Health Care funding potentially remaining solvent for just another 12-years? What is “pay-as-you-go” and what’s being considered to hopefully improve the funding status of the health care fund?

      Thank-you,
      Scott

      • We continue to look for ways to strengthen the pension fund. Only by strengthening the pension fund are we able to set aside more money for health care.

        Julie, OPERS

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