Census Bureau Straightens Out PA Fund Numbers

August 14, 2002 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Pennsylvania pension officials have successfully beaten back a federal report showing that they had lost more money than any of their counterparts in other states.

Officials of the Pennsylvania State Employees’ Retirement System (SERS) and the Public School Employees’ Retirement System (PSERS) said the US Census Bureau had pulled off its Web site the pension fund report originally drawing the conclusion.

The problem, according to the officials: many states report their financial information to the Census Bureau using something other than generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP), which is what Pennsylvania uses. Relying on something other than GAAP doesn’t report all of a fund’s gains or losses, the Pennsylvania pension managers said.

They said the Census Bureau hadn’t included more than $1.2 billion in PSERS investment gains.

The Pennsylvania officials said that if the Census Bureau had gotten all the data it should have, it would have reported that the Pennsylvania funds had more than $4.7 billion in investment earnings. The officials said that would have placed them among the top ten funds on the list.