February Board News
Welcome to Alison Lanza Falls
Ohio Treasurer of State Robert Sprague appointed Alison Lanza Falls to the State Teachers Retirement Board. Falls is currently president of A.L. Falls Advisors, LLC. Falls previously held positions as a managing director with Bank of America Securities and Continental Bank. She served on the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation Board of Directors. She earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from the State University of New York — Binghamton, a master’s degree in economics from The Ohio State University and is a CFA charterholder.
Retirement Board Looks at Pension Benefits Provided Elsewhere
Chief Benefits Officer Christina Elliott presented the board with details regarding the benefit packages new members receive from teachers-only pensions in non-Social Security states. Elliott purposely focused on states with teachers-only pension systems with similar governance structures. She also discussed pension plan resiliency to highlight the complicated structures of teacher retirement systems in other states. Elliott emphasized the importance of public pension boards considering all actuarial data and other relevant factors when comparing pensions and making changes to benefits.
Presentation slides for this and all February board presentations can be found here.
Executive Director Recaps Auditor of State’s Report on STRS Ohio
STRS Ohio Executive Director Bill Neville shared a summary of the Auditor of State’s recent special audit of the retirement system. Neville pointed out that of 29 allegations reviewed, the Auditor of State found only two with merit. Both were related to audits commissioned by the Ohio Retirement Study Council.
Quoting from the special audit report, “STRS’ organizational structure, control environment and operations are suitably designed and well monitored, both internally and by independent experts. These experts help assure that STRS follows applicable asset and liability measurement, reporting, investing and cash management laws, professional standards, and best practices. Our conclusions are consistent with the findings of these independent firms.”
The complete Auditor of State report is available here.
Report Shows STRS Ohio Investment Returns Rank High
Board investment consultant Callan LLC shared its quarterly report on the performance of STRS Ohio’s investments compared to the board’s investment policy benchmark. STRS Ohio’s investment returns reflect the challenging financial markets in the United States and worldwide in 2022. The good news is, STRS Ohio performed better than its benchmark as well as most of its peers. The Callan report showed:
- STRS Ohio’s total fund return for the calendar year was –9.52%. To put this in perspective, the stock market was down –18% and the bond market was down –13%. STRS Ohio’s 2022 return beat its benchmark by 1.38%. STRS Ohio’s total fund benchmark was –10.90%. Beating this goal preserved dollars for the teachers’ pension fund.
- STRS Ohio investments exceeded the benchmark and ranked in the top 10% of public funds examined by Callan for the three-, five-, seven- and 10-year periods.
- When measuring risk versus performance for the past five years, STRS Ohio’s investment return ranked in the top 5% of public funds reviewed by Callan, with a portfolio that had lower average risk than its peers.
Board Reviews STRS Ohio’s Enterprise Risk Management
Chief Financial Officer Lynn Hoover shared a report outlining risks to STRS Ohio and steps taken to mitigate them. Staff identified prominent risks in each retirement system department and weighed the probability and potential financial impact of such events. This ongoing exercise helps the organization stay ahead of possible threats and ensure the long-term security of the retirement system.
The Retirement Board approved 216 active members and 178 inactive members for service retirement benefits.
Other STRS Ohio News
Retirement Board Meetings Livestreamed, Available on STRS Ohio Website
State Teachers Retirement Board meetings are held at 275 E. Broad Street in Columbus and are open to the public. The meetings are livestreamed via Zoom, with the link available through the public notice posted on the STRS Ohio website one week before each meeting. A recording is posted on the STRS Ohio website the week following each meeting. The livestream and recording now include video from the Board Room.
Summary Annual Financial Report Now Available
STRS Ohio’s Summary Annual Financial Report (SAFR) is now available on the website under Annual Reports. The 16-page publication is a reader-friendly summary of the more detailed Annual Comprehensive Financial Report. The SAFR includes streamlined information on funding and investments, membership, the economic impact of STRS Ohio and much more.