August Board News

Board Elects Price to Fill Contributing Member Seat

At the August meeting of the State Teachers Retirement Board, the board elected Dale Price to fill the contributing member seat previously held by Tim Myers, who retired in June. Price, a high school mathematics teacher for Toledo Public Schools, just completed his second term on the Retirement Board. The term for this seat expires in 2020. When a vacancy occurs during the term of office of any elected member of the board, Ohio law directs the remaining members of the board to elect a successor member. Board members receive no compensation for service on the board other than reimbursement for actual, necessary expenses.

STRS Ohio’s Total Fund Returns 9.57% for Fiscal 2018; Active Management Adds $350 Million in Value

At the August board meeting, Investment Department staff reported that STRS Ohio’s total fund return for the year ending June 30, 2018, was +9.57%. This follows returns of +14.29% in fiscal 2017 and +0.92% in fiscal 2016. The fiscal 2018 return beat the total fund benchmark by 0.63%. The system’s active management of the funds, rather than relying on index funds, added approximately $350 million in value after all investment costs during the fiscal year. Total fund assets were $77.7 billion as of June 30, 2018.

STRS Ohio’s fiscal 2018 total fund return ranked in the top 20% of Callan’s public fund sponsor database. Callan serves as an investment consultant to the Retirement Board. The strong performance was led by a +16.21% return on domestic equities and a 13.59% return on alternative investments.

While the fiscal 2018 return topped STRS Ohio’s actuarial assumed rate of return, STRS Ohio’s investment consultants continue to call for lower than normal returns over the next decade. During the Retirement Board’s October meeting, new actuarial consultant Cheiron will present the results of its annual pension valuation report. This report will show the financial impact of the investment return as well as how other economic and demographic factors affected the retirement system’s funding position.

STRS Ohio’s Returns Over Various Time Periods
5-year total fund return 9.26%
10-year total fund return 7.04%
20-year total fund return 6.78%
30-year total fund return 8.57%
Current assumed actuarial rate of return 7.45%

Board Continues Discussion on Plan Management Policy for Health Care Fund

The Jan. 1, 2018, valuation of the Health Care Fund showed that strong investment returns and good claims experience have the fund in a stable financial position with assets of $3.69 billion. The Retirement Board has expressed its interest in preserving this stability and is continuing its discussion about adopting a plan management policy for the fund. A plan management policy is designed to provide the guidance necessary to help make the plan more stable, secure and reliable. During its August meeting, the board discussed how to develop a policy that addresses two key principles: 1) the board’s desire to offer a meaningful premium subsidy to plan enrollees, and 2) sustainability of the fund for current and future plan enrollees. In the months ahead, the board will continue its discussion of how to find the right balance between these two principles.

With all 14% of employer contributions needed to fund pensions, the Health Care Fund currently is funded by premiums paid by enrollees, government reimbursements and investment earnings on these funds. The board hopes to finalize decisions about the plan management policy for the Health Care Fund later this year.

Fiscal 2018 Operating Expenses Total $637,000 Less Than Budgeted Amount

Final figures for fiscal 2018 show that STRS Ohio’s operating expenditures were approximately $637,000 less than the operating budget approved for the fiscal year. Administrative expenses totaled $98.9 million for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2018. STRS Ohio posts approved administrative expenses on its website following each board meeting.

Retirements Approved

The Retirement Board approved 794 active members and 124 inactive members for service retirement benefits.