Sunshine State Officials See DC Plan Growth

January 12, 2004 ( - Florida's DC plan for state and local government workers is apparently slowly clawing its way to a recovery of sorts.

A recent state study found that only 3.4% of the 625,000 state and local workers opted for the Public Employee Optional Retirement Plan (PEORP), according to a Tallahassee Democrat report. However, among nearly 60,000 new hires – who tend to be younger – more than 8% went the PEORP route.

So, if the recovery continues as older employees retire and new ones come in, state officials expect the PEORP figures to grow. PEORP has about $450 million invested. The Florida Retirement System also still offers a defined benefit plan as well.

The recovering market is good for government employees. SBA Director Coleman Stipanovich told the Democrat that the value of the pension fund’s assets is back above $100 billion – a gain of nearly $25 billion from the low point of October 2000 – and the surplus over liabilities was $12.6 billion as of July 1.

Stipanovich said employees’ true mood and their willingness to enroll in the DC plan won’t be known until they’ve had more time to recover from the recent down market’s trauma. “That was a horrific bear market we came through,” he said. “It takes time to build back investor confidence.”