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Kevin Kroskey, CFP, MBA
Recent posts

STRS Ohio December Board News

CliftonLarsonAllen Completes Fiscal 2017 Annual Financial Statement Audit and Issues Clean Opinion

At the December meeting of the State Teachers Retirement Board, CliftonLarsonAllen reported the results of its audit of the STRS Ohio financial statements for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2017. The report showed that the retirement system’s financial statements were fairly stated in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles and that no material weaknesses in internal controls or instances of noncompliance were found. As a result, STRS Ohio received an unmodified opinion — also known as a “clean” opinion — which is the highest level of opinion that an organization can achieve.

STRS Ohio’s financial statements are included in the 2017 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, which will be posted on the system’s website by Dec. 29, 2017. In addition to the financial statements, the report includes investment, actuarial and statistical information about STRS Ohio. This report c…

STRS Ohio October Board News

Actuarial Valuation Shows COLA Change, Investment Returns Lead to Funding Gains
During the October meeting of the State Teachers Retirement Board, actuarial consultant Segal Consulting presented key findings from its July 1, 2017, annual pension valuation report. This report provides a detailed look at the financial health of the pension fund. The most common ways to express the system’s financial condition are through the funded ratio and the funding period. This year’s valuation report shows the funded ratio — the value of assets compared to actuarial accrued liabilities (benefits earned by members of the system) — improved to 75.1% from 69.6% last year. The funding period — the amount of time needed to pay off the system’s unfunded liability under current assumptions and benefit levels — also improved, decreasing to 18.4 years from 26.6 last year. Segal shared that without the board’s action to reduce cost-of-living increases granted on or after July 1, 2017, to 0%, STRS Ohio’s fun…

STRS Ohio September Board News

Board Reviews Health Care Subsidy Options for 2019 and Beyond

During the September meeting of the State Teachers Retirement Board, the board continued its discussion on the solvency of the Health Care Fund and how to provide a meaningful subsidy for plan enrollees. The Health Care Fund has a balance in excess of $3 billion and is currently estimated to remain solvent through 2034. Solvency is largely driven by the subsidy provided to each enrollee — both the initial subsidy level and the growth of the subsidy. The STRS Ohio Health Care Program is currently funded through premiums charged to plan enrollees, government reimbursements and investment earnings on the fund. STRS Ohio no longer allocates a portion of employer contributions to the Health Care Fund, as all of the employer contributions are needed to fund pensions.
Finding solutions for health care funding is challenging for several reasons. The board has already implemented many cost-saving options available through plan desig…

STRS Ohio August Board News

STRS Ohio’s Investment Return of 14.29% in Fiscal 2017 Is a Positive Step For The Fund
At the August meeting of the State Teachers Retirement Board, Investment Department staff reported that STRS Ohio’s total fund return for the year ending June 30, 2017, was +14.29%. This follows returns of +0.92% in fiscal year 2016 and +5.45% in fiscal 2015. The fiscal 2017 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 $400 million in value after all investment costs during the fiscal year. Total fund assets were $75.1 billion as of June 30, 2017.
STRS Ohio’s fiscal 2017 total fund return ranked in the top 20% of Callan Associates’ public fund sponsor database. Callan serves as an investment consultant to the Retirement Board. The strong performance was led by a +22.2% return on international investments (vs. a benchmark return of 21.6%) and a +19.6% return on domestic equities (vs. a benchmark ret…

STRS Ohio June Board News

Retirement Board Approves Health Care Premiums For 2018; Approximately 80% of Enrollees Will See No Premium Increase

At the June meeting of the State Teachers Retirement Board, the board approved 2018 premiums for all plans offered through the STRS Ohio Health Care Program. A complete list of these premiums is posted on the system’s website, or can be obtained by calling STRS Ohio’s Member Services Center toll-free at 888‑227‑7877. Additional information about the 2018 Health Care Program will be provided in upcoming newsletters and on the STRS Ohio website. In late October, all plan enrollees will receive personalized health care plan information in preparation for the fall open-enrollment period that extends from Nov. 1‑21, 2017.

When determining premiums, the Retirement Board and STRS Ohio staff consider the claims experience of plan enrollees, annual health care cost trend rates and administrative expenses for the program. Factors that proved favorable for 2018 rate setting includ…

STRS Ohio May Board News

Correthers Wins Contributing Member Board Seat; Stein, Walters Unopposed for Retired Member Seats

Contributing teacher member Carol Correthers was reelected to the State Teachers Retirement Board in the 2017 election that concluded on May 1. Retired teacher member and current board chair Robert Stein, as well as retired teacher Rita J. Walters, were unopposed for the two retired teacher seats on the board. Walters will be serving her first term on the board. The terms for these three seats begin Sept. 1, 2017, and end on Aug. 31, 2021. Board members receive no compensation for service on the board other than reimbursement for actual, necessary expenses.

Board Reviews Preliminary 2018 Health Care Premiums; Will Continue to Explore Options to Improve Solvency of the Health Care Fund

During the May meeting of the State Teachers Retirement Board, STRS Ohio staff presented a preliminary look at health care program premiums for 2018. Staff works with health care consultants and actuaries to de…