PAFR Summarizes NYSTRS' Financial Outlook

01/21/2021

NYSTRS continues to be one of the top-performing, most secure and well-funded public pension plans in the country with total fiscal year-end assets of $120.5 billion and a 30-year rate of investment returns, net of fees, at 8.6%, according to the System’s recently released 2020 Popular Annual Financial Report (PAFR).

Benefits paid to the System’s retirees and beneficiaries totaled approximately $7.5 billion for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2020, with about 80% of those benefits paid to residents of New York state. Retiree spending, in turn, has a significant positive impact on state and local economies.

The eight-page PAFR uses graphics and brief narratives to paint a financial picture of the System primarily using data from the much more detailed 2020 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR). You can find both reports on the Annual Reports page of our website’s Library.

While some other public pension plans are reporting negative investment returns due to the economic turmoil created by the pandemic, NYSTRS’ total investment portfolio returned 3.5%, net of fees, for the fiscal year. Although this fell short of the System’s 7.1% assumed rate of return, NYSTRS’ long-term returns remain strong and are one of the best indicators of pension plan health. The System’s 10-year and 30-returns were 9.6% and 8.6%, respectively.

Another indicator of pension plan strength is its funded ratio. NYSTRS’ funded ratio, as of the last official actuarial valuation, is 101.2% funded based on a market value of assets and 99.6% funded based on an actuarial value of assets. Being fully funded means NYSTRS has the assets necessary to pay all accrued benefits to our nearly 434,000 active and retired members and beneficiaries.

Some additional interesting facts you will find in the PAFR include:

  • The average Maximum annual benefit for all service retirees is $43,316, representing about 54% of a member’s final average salary at retirement.
  • The System serves 261,232 active members, 166,008 retired members, and 6,561 beneficiaries.
  • Over the past 30 years, investment income has made up 84% of NYSTRS’ funding while 16% comes from employer and member contributions.
  • About 60% of System investment assets are managed internally, which keeps administrative costs low and leaves more money for paying benefits and future investments.
  • System assets are broadly diversified among 11 primary asset classes to minimize investment risk and promote stability.

The PAFR has been recognized for the past several years by the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) with the Award for Outstanding Achievement in Popular Annual Financial Reporting.

If you’d like a printed version of the PAFR, you may request one by contacting the System’s Public Information Office at news@nystrs.org or by calling (800) 782-0289.

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