The Ohio Public Employees Retirement System (OPERS) today released its preliminary, unaudited investment performance for 2010. As of Dec. 31, the OPERS Fund achieved a 13.91 percent investment return for 2010 with total assets reaching $75.7 billion.
“The strong performance of our investments in 2010 illustrates the professional, prudent manner in which the OPERS pension and health-care portfolios are managed,” said Ken Thomas, chairman of the OPERS Board of Trustees. “The results are encouraging as we adjust our asset allocation to weather continued market volatility.”
In 2009 the OPERS Board approved a new asset allocation plan for its Defined Benefit fund. The new plan increased or initiated the allocation into alternative investments including private equity, real estate, and hedge funds, and decreased investment in U.S. equities.
“While our investment gains last year were encouraging, they serve primarily as the foundation of a sustained recovery,” OPERS chief executive officer Chris DeRose said. “It is still vital that we work with the Ohio Legislature to enact the pension reform measures that our Board of Trustees recommended in 2009 to ensure a secure retirement for Ohio public workers.”
The OPERS Board’s proposal raised members’ retirement age, altered the formula to calculate benefits and offered other substantive recommendations to maintain OPERS ability to provide pensions with no increase in public employer contributions.
“The OPERS pension fund is sustainable,” DeRose said. “Pension systems are major economic drivers for Ohio. Studies have shown defined-benefit programs are efficient and economical. Without pensions, public workers in Ohio, who don’t pay into Social Security, would have no major source of retirement and health care, thereby increasing the burden on government programs.”
Nearly 90 percent of OPERS retirees live in Ohio, spending the vast majority of retirement dollars on goods and services in the state. In addition, for every $1 of taxpayer contribution to OPERS, investments and employee contributions plus other sources of revenue return more than twice that amount into the Ohio economy.
Historically two-thirds of OPERS’ revenue, from which benefits are paid, is derived from investment returns. The remaining one-third of the revenue comes from employee and employer contributions.
OPERS is the largest public pension fund in Ohio and the 12th largest public pension fund in the United States. OPERS, which recognized its 75th year in 2010, provides retirement, disability and survivor benefits for public employees throughout the state and serves nearly 936,000 members, including more than 166,500 retirees and beneficiaries.
Julie Graham-Price, MBA, APR
Manager – Communication