February Board News

Member Survey Results Show Positive Impressions of STRS Ohio

At its February meeting, the State Teachers Retirement Board reviewed the results of the 2019 membership survey that was conducted in October and November 2019. The survey included a random selection of 301 active members and 301 retired members — giving the results a sampling error of no more than plus/minus 5.7 percentage points. Key findings included:

  • More than nine out of 10 retirees and eight out of 10 active members have positive overall impressions of STRS Ohio.
  • Eight out of 10 retirees and about three-quarters of active members agreed that STRS Ohio has earned the trust and confidence of its members.
  • 71% of retirees and about two-thirds of active members reported positive impressions of the Retirement Board, with only about one in 10 members expressing negative impressions.
  • A majority of members (88% of retirees and 84% of active members) believe STRS Ohio is open and honest in its communications.
  • 90% of retirees and 82% of active members indicated that STRS Ohio keeps them well-informed about pension- and retirement-related issues.
  • Nearly three out of four active members indicated they are setting aside savings for retirement in addition to their STRS Ohio contributions.
  • About 90% of retiree households have at least one source of income in addition to their STRS Ohio pension. About 70% indicated they have at least two additional sources of income. Investments, Social Security and spouse’s pension (including Social Security) are the most common forms of additional income. On average, retirees indicated STRS Ohio provides about 55% of their total household income.

Consultant’s Report Shows STRS Ohio Investment Returns Compare Favorably to Peers

STRS Ohio’s investment consultant, Callan LLC, reviewed its quarterly performance report for periods ending Dec. 31, 2019, at the February board meeting. The report showed STRS Ohio’s investment returns ranked in the top 20% of Callan’s public fund sponsor database for the three-, five-, seven- and 10-year periods and exceeded its total fund benchmark returns for each of those time periods. The report also noted STRS Ohio’s calendar year 2019 return was +18.39%. Callan’s public fund sponsor database includes 386 U.S.-based public funds.

Board Hears Pension Benefits Comparison of Teacher Retirement Systems

STRS Ohio staff shared information about the pension benefits provided by teacher retirement systems throughout the United States along with their contribution rates. Data showed that plans in 32 states have been modified since 2010 (following the great recession). STRS Ohio benefits changes have been in line with changes made elsewhere around the country. The data revealed that when comparing benefits, no system rated as best in all categories. Overall, STRS Ohio compares well against the other 12 states that do not contribute to Social Security, with:

  • A total contribution rate in the bottom 25%
  • A high level of purchasing power retention
  • Subsidized health care coverage
  • A service retirement benefit at the 50th percentile

Information about the systems was gathered through system websites, the National Council on Teacher Retirement, the National Association of State Retirement Administrators, financial reports and interviews with retirement system officials. The report shared with the board is available here, along with the rest of this month’s board presentations.

Board Recognizes Chief Financial Officer For Outstanding Service

The Retirement Board recognized Paul Snyder, deputy executive director — Finance and chief financial officer, who is retiring after 32 years of service at STRS Ohio. Under Snyder’s leadership, STRS Ohio’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report has received the Government Finance Officers Association’s Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting for 29 consecutive years. The board thanked Snyder for his dedication and outstanding service to the retirement system’s members, board and staff.

Retirements Approved

The Retirement Board approved 171 active members and 150 inactive members for service retirement benefits.