NCPERS Study: Systems Adapt; Remain Good Stewards of Members’ Retirement Funds

According to the 2021 Public Retirement Systems Study conducted by the National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems (NCPERS) and Cobalt Community Research, public retirement systems managed plan expenses, pursued cost savings and adopted more conservative assumptions in fiscal 2021, in order to continue to efficiently provide long-term financial security in retirement for their members.

Since 2011, NCPERS has surveyed plans, collecting and analyzing the most current data available on funds’ fiscal condition and the steps they are taking to ensure fiscal and operational integrity.

The 2021 study is based on data collected through a survey sent to 156 state and local pension systems with a combined 17.7 million participants and more than $2.6 trillion in assets.

Data showed the surveyed plans overall experienced solid investment returns, with average one-year returns of around 14% and an average funded level of 74.7% for 2021.

Other trends revealed by the survey include the payment of lower investment fees and administrative expenses, and the lowering of assumed rates of return, as well as increases in benefit age and service requirements.

The full study is available on NCPERS' website.