The survey of 103 public retirement systems with 127 public retirement plans found that 71% of the plans that report an actuarial funding ratio are 80% or more funded, the mark of good health cited by actuaries. The average funding level of all plans in the survey is 85.2%.
Though the number of plans with a funding level below 80% rose from 30 to 35 in fiscal year 2005, NASRA points out that the largest five plans in the survey – California PERF, California Teachers, Texas Teachers, Florida Retirement System, and New York State Teachers – fall above the 80% funding level.
Other key findings of the survey include:
- For the 108 plans that reported new valuation results for FY04, the annual median rate of growth for actuarial liabilities was 6.4%. NASRA attributes this low growth rate to a reduction in the number of new benefit enhancements in recent years.
- Since 2001, for the 93 plans who reported membership changes in FY04, the number of annuitants (retirees, beneficiaries, and disabilitants) increased by 13.1%, while the number of actives only increased 1.3%.
- Total contributions to public pension funds increased about 12.5%, from $62 billion to $70 billion. This does not include the $7.5 billion in bond proceeds distributed to three Illinois systems and the San Diego County system.
- Total benefit payments rose about 8%, from $104 billion to $112 billion.
- The combined median figures for investment and administrative expenses result in a median cost to administer the plans in the survey of less than one-third of one percent of assets.
- For the 94 systems for which data is available, about 60.6% of assets are invested in equities, while 27.3% are invested in domestic fixed income vehicles.
The complete report from NASRA is here .