KPERS remains strong, Conroy says

The pension system for school districts, counties, the state and most municipalities is in good shape.

That was the assessment given Monday by Alan Conroy, who is executive director of the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System.

“The trust fund remains strong,” Conroy told the House-Senate Pensions, Investments and Benefits Committee. “We are going to be able to pay the promised benefits for many, many years.”

He said all groups of employees are at the full Actuarial Required Contribution rate. “That is exactly where we want to be,” he said.

In fact, the State/School group statutory employer contribution is equal to the Actuarial Required Contribution for the first time in 25 years. “That is a very, very good thing,” he said.

KPERS has over $20 billion in assets with a diverse portfolio of investments.

In calendar year 2018, the overall funded ratio remained the same at 68.4 percent although the unfunded actuarial liability increased from $8.9 billion to $9.2 billion.

The investment return on market value in 2018 was negative 2.9 percent but because of smoothing the actuarial assets were a positive 5.3 percent. The Legislature approved additional contributions to KPERS including the State/School group which also mitigated the effect of the low 2018 return on investment.

KPERS has nearly 150,000 active members. The average benefit for retirees and beneficiaries was $14,501 for state workers; $15,657 in the school group; $12,526 for municipal workers; $34,217 for those in the Kansas Police and Fireman’s Retirement System and $42,716 those in the Kansas Retirement System for Judges.

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