August Board News

STRS Ohio Total Investment Return Was +3.14% for Fiscal 2020

STRS Ohio Investment Department staff reported that STRS Ohio’s total investment return for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2020, was +3.14%, outperforming the benchmark return of 3.07%. This follows returns of +7.13% in fiscal 2019 and +9.57% in fiscal 2018. Despite the positive return on investments, total investment assets closed the year lower by about $1.8 billion, ending the year at $77.1 billion. The overall decrease is due to benefit payments of about $7.5 billion in fiscal 2020 far exceeding member and employer contributions of about $3.3 billion.

The investment markets exhibited much volatility during the second half of the fiscal year as world economies felt the impact of the coronavirus. STRS Ohio’s total fund return for the fiscal year stood at –5.7% at the end of March, but made a strong recovery from April through June to finish the year in positive territory.

STRS Ohio’s five-year return for the year ending June 30, 2020, was +6.91%, outperforming the benchmark return of 6.60%. This outperformance covered all investment costs and added about $550 million to the pension fund during this time period. Investment consultant Callan LLC shared a report that showed STRS Ohio’s investment performance ranked in the top 25% of its Public Fund Sponsor Database for the three-, five-, seven- and 10-year time periods ending June 30, 2020.

During the board’s October meeting, actuarial consultant Cheiron will present the results of its annual pension valuation report. The report will show the actuarial impact of the investment return as well as how other economic and demographic factors affected the retirement system’s funding position. STRS Ohio’s estimated net position (including all system assets and liabilities) was $77.8 billion on June 30, 2020.

STRS Ohio Investment Returns Over Various Time Periods
5-year total investment return 6.91%
10-year total investment return 9.39%
20-year total investment return 6.15%
30-year total investment return 8.13%

STRS Ohio Operating Expenses Total About $3 Million Less Than Budgeted Amount for Fiscal 2020

Final figures for fiscal year 2020 show that STRS Ohio’s operating expenses were approximately $3,030,400 less than the operating budget approved for the fiscal year. Administrative expenses totaled $101.4 million for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2020. STRS Ohio posts approved administrative expenses on its website following each board meeting.

Retirements Approved

The Retirement Board approved 1,020 active members and 134 inactive members for service retirement benefits.

Other STRS Ohio News

Member satisfaction remains high for STRS Ohio services

STRS Ohio’s Member Benefits Department regularly surveys members following counseling sessions, member education programs, phone calls and after the completion of the retirement or disability application process. During the last fiscal year, members completed more than 16,000 satisfaction surveys with 96% responding that the service met or exceeded their expectations. For overall satisfaction, 83% of respondents provided the highest score possible.

During the final quarter of the year, benefits counseling began measuring its Net Promoter Score (NPS). A survey question asks the member to rate on a 10-point scale the likelihood of recommending counseling services to a friend. A score of 9 or 10 is considered a promoter, while a score of 0–6 is considered a distractor. Scores of 7 or 8 are considered passive or neutral. The net promoter score is derived by subtracting the percent of distractors from the percent of promoters with 100 being the highest score of 100% of customers being promoters. One third-party resource, Retently, indicates an NPS between 30 and 70 is “great” and a score of higher than 70 is “excellent.” More than 1,000 members scored STRS Ohio’s benefits counselors — with 95% being promoters and only 2% being distractors for an NPS of 93.