OPERS rates highly among peers
CEM Benchmarking lauds pension system’s service, cost levels
By Michael Pramik, Ohio Public Employees Retirement System
Jan. 11, 2022 — OPERS is a low- to medium-cost pension administrator with high service levels compared to our peers, a benchmarking consultant told the Board of Trustees during a recent meeting.
CEM Benchmarking also reported that the OPERS Investments Division works effectively for members by paying less than its peers for similar services with a lower-cost implementation style.
OPERS participates with CEM Benchmarking each year to compare its administration and investment activities with those of a custom group of 14 peers, as well as a wider universe of 67 leading, global pension systems. CEM ranks our administrative costs, service levels and investment costs, and presents this report to the Board.
CEM Principal Mike Heale said OPERS’ total pension administration cost of $55 per active member and retiree in 2020 was $22 below the peer average of $77 per client. At the same time, OPERS had a service score of 82, well above the peer median of 77.
OPERS’ 5-year net total investment return was 9.9 percent, above the U.S. public pension median of 9.6 percent and equal to the peer median. Our investment costs of 43.3 basis points (or 0.433 percent) was below our benchmark cost of 47.1 basis points (or 0.471 percent).
“We found that OPERS paid less for its external management program,” Heale said. “It had lower implementation costs that are going down, mainly because of a shift to a lower-cost asset mix.”
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.
14 thoughts on “OPERS rates highly among peers”
I’m not surprised. I agree that OPERS pension is a well-run and well-managed fund. What I don’t understand, however, is why the Director is so adamant about freezing COLA. OPERS can clearly afford to continue paying the COLA that was promised to retirees when they retired. That action of freezing COLA would significantly hurt retirees when OPERS does not need to take that action.
The COLA freeze is just temporary, two years. Unfortunately it’s happening at a time when the cost of living is increasing dramatically due to inflation. From what I understand it’s necessary to reduce unfunded liability which will keep OPERS solvent farther into the future. If these changes aren’t made now, it could cause problems with funding OPERS’ future liabilities and they may not be able to afford to pay what they’ve promised future retirees.
The pension administration costs mentioned here were from 2020. Was that when the 5-year investment return was calculated? What dates did the overall study cover?
OPERS operates on a calendar-year basis. The investment report covered the five-year period that ended Dec. 31, 2020.
We should note that the administrative report also measured our calendar-year 2020 results and compared them to many of our peers’ fiscal-year data sets. That’s apparent in a footnote that states “your 2020 data includes almost 10 months of the COVID-19 pandemic, which had a negative impact on your service score. In contrast, 3/4 of your peers and universe participants have June fiscal year ends and their results reflect less than 4 months of the COVID-19 experience.”
Need to let our legislators and the general public know the good news. Ohio doesn’t always do so well when comparing programs to other States.
The pre-Medicare Via Benefits service works great! I have been using the Marketplace for the last couple of years but going through the OPERS connector paid more towards my out-of-pocket expenses. I had a few hiccups in the beginning but this process is pretty seamless. Thank you!
I’m 83 years old and very rarely understand what you are telling me. Could you make it a bit more easier to read????????
We hire an outside company to compare our administrative and investment costs and performance to some of our fellow public pension funds. The comparisons show OPERS is doing a great job containing costs and serving our members in relation to how our peers do the same things.
Keep up the GOOD WORK. I appreciate it. I am just glad that I retired from the GREAT State of Ohio. Thank you, Thank you, Carol E Smith
As a Medicare retiree now from a pre-Medicare retiree, even though my support from OPERS both retirement and medical reimbursement is less than $54 from 2005 till 2021. I believe OPERS is doing their best they can compared to other sizable retirement administrations, especially other states. As this country is entering another recession, the stock market on the verge of collapsing, escalating prices, and out of control border crossing, and what May I say about this government. God help us, get through this and back to the gold standard.
Thank you OPERS for being as efficient as you are and for taking steps to preserve benefits in the future. Considering inflation is twice the highest annual COLA benefit increase allowed, I hope though that our COLA remains intact for all retirees during these inflationary times which we haven’t seen so high since 1982. ***** stars to OPERS Administration.
Good day fellow retirees& OPERS,
I have nothing but praise & exemplary service
for OPERS. I have been retired 22 years this
month. I very much enjoyed my public service
career with Ohio DOT. I am most fortunate with
my OPERS pension. Keep up the great work
OPERS for we present & future retirees.
I believe that OPERS continues to do a great job balancing the needs of retirees and making sure that benefits are still being provided for years from now. While I understand that some folks want all the COLAs back in full force, it is only going to cause more shortfalls in the future. While OPERS is financially sound, it is that way because they know how to ensure solvency in the long run. I’ll forgo a COLA if I’m still getting my check and medical benefits 20 years from now.
For those of us retiring this year or after premedicare, our medical costs will be astronomical. The ACA is not affordable with the stipend the state gives us after 30 years service, the deductibles are through the roof, if the despicable is low, the policy costs thousands per month. Why didn’t OPERS leave us on the previous insurance plan retires were used to and raise the rates, now, people can’t afford to buy insurance and retire premedicare.