June 24, 2016

State Employees Retirement System Investments Returned 0.4 Percent In 2015

The PA State Employees’ Retirement System Friday released its 2015 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report detailing the audited financial statements of the system for the year, as well as investment, actuarial, and statistical information.
The independent auditor’s report included an unmodified opinion that the system’s fiduciary net position and changes in fiduciary net position, as reported in the financial statements, are fairly presented, in all material respects, in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles.
The SERS portfolio returned 0.4 percent net of all fees and expenses in 2015, which provided nearly $88 million to the fund.
Highlights of the 2015 CAFR include:
-- In 2015, SERS served 104 agencies/employers, and more than 235,000 members – more than 105,000 active employees, nearly 125,000 retirees and beneficiaries, and nearly 7,000 inactive members no longer working for the commonwealth but owed a benefit.
-- As of December 31, 2015, the SERS Fund stood at approximately $26.1 billion after paying out $3.1 billion in retirement benefits to nearly 125,000 retirees and beneficiaries; $2.8 billion – more than 90 percent  - was paid to people living in Pennsylvania, stimulating local economies. SERS benefit payroll obligations continue to steadily grow, from about $1 billion just two decades ago to our current payroll.
-- Last year, nearly 6,700 employees retired and were added to the annuity payroll with an average annual benefit of about $26,100; while more than 4,000 retirees, who had an average annual benefit of about $14,600, were removed from the rolls.
-- Based on the actuarial methods used for funding purposes as of December 31, 2015, the unfunded actuarial accrued liability was $19.5 billion. SERS funded ratio was 58.0 percent .  
-- With 2015’s returns, the SERS Fund achieved positive annual earnings for 17 of the last 20 years, and actual earnings have exceeded the assumed long-term rate of return for 13 of them.  
Employers contributed approximately $1.4 billion to the SERS Fund in 2015; members contributed approximately $372 million.
While SERS is not legally required to produce a CAFR, the system does so each year out of a commitment to transparency and accountability to its members, participating employers, and the public.
SERS has also released the 2015 Actuarial Report that details SERS current membership, explains assumptions underlying our pension system’s calculations, projects future cash flow, and reports our liabilities and funded status.