Public Retirement System Organizations and Governing Bodies
This site classes organizations affiliated with the public pension community into five broad categories:
- Public retirement systems
- Non-profit and educational organizations
- Service providers
- Federal entities and GASB
- National private sector retirement organizations & governance
Public retirement systems
|According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are more than 2,500 public retirement systems in the U.S. that administer defined benefit pension benefits to employees of state and local government. The largest 75 systems account for approximately 80 percent of all participants and assets. The largest public retirement system--CalPERS--has assets of more than $200 billion, and more than one million active and retired members. The smallest systems have assets of less than $1 million.|
Non-profit and educational organizations
Three national organizations provide advocacy and research services on behalf of public retirement systems, their directors, top staff or trustees:
- National Association of State Retirement Administrators (NASRA)
- the National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems (NCPERS)
- the National Council on Teacher Retirement (NCTR)
The organizations below are trade groups for professionals employed by or for public retirement systems, or provide education and research to the public pension community, or both.
- CFA Institute
- Council of Institutional Investors
- Employee Benefits Research Institute
- National Association of Public Pension Attorneys
- National Institute on Retirement Security
- National Pension Education Association
- Pension Pension Financial Forum
- Public Retirement Information Systems Management
Public retirement systems rely on a wide range of professional service providers, including those listed below.
- Actuarial valuation and consulting
- Asset management
- Benefits consulting and design
- Fiduciary counsel
- Information technology
- Investment consulting
- Legal counsel
Federal entities and GASB
Unlike private sector pensions that are subject solely to federal regulation, state and local government plans are creatures of state constitutional, statutory and case law and must comply with a vast landscape of state and local requirements, as well as government accounting and reporting standards. While many of the Federal ERISA (Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974) requirements for corporate pensions are not applicable to plans of state and local government, public plans must comply with various Federal tax qualification, age discrimination and investment law requirements. Congress sets the Federal laws in these areas, and various Federal agencies issue and enforce the corresponding regulations.
Key Congressional Committees
The congressional committees with direct jurisdiction over pension tax measures that impact public retirement systems are the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee. The House Education and Labor Committee and the Senate Health Education Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee have jurisdiction over ERISA and ADEA (Age Discrimination in Employment Act), and set corporate pension requirements as well as age discrimination requirements that impact both the public and private sectors. The House Committee on Financial Services and Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs have jurisdiction over investment laws. Relevant Federal Agencies.
The U.S. Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service (which is within the Treasury Department) are responsible for implementing and enforcing the tax laws passed by Congress – including the tax qualification requirements that must be met by pension plans of state and local government entities. A retirement plan that does not fall within one of the Code provisions for favorable tax status may suffer adverse tax effects, including unfavorable income tax consequences for employees, retirees, or both..
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is the primary overseer and regulator of the U.S. securities markets, including securities exchanges, securities brokers and dealers, investment advisors, and mutual funds. The Chairman of the SEC, together with the Chairman of the Federal Reserve, the Secretary of the Treasury, and the Chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), serves as a member of the President's Working Group on Financial Markets. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is responsible for enforcing Federal laws aimed at preventing age discrimination.
Accounting and Reporting Standards
The Government Accounting Standards Board sets accounting standards that govern how public pension assets and liabilities are measured and reported. Specifically, GASB Statements 25 and 27 pertain to Financial Reporting for Defined Benefit Pension Plans and Accounting for Pensions by State and Local Governmental Employers, respectively. GASB currently is reviewing these statements as part of its so-called Post-employment Benefits Project.