National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems

The Voice for Public Pensions

NCPERS Annual Public Retirement Systems Study FAQ

NCPERS Annual Public Retirement Systems Study is conducted each fall in partnership with Cobalt Community Research. Below you'll find frequently asked questions (last updated October 2022) about how to complete your survey.

If you are interested in participating in an upcoming survey or if you have any additional questions about the survey methodology, please email William SaintAmour at wsaintamour@cobaltcommunityresearch.org or call (877) 888-0209.

Can I request a copy of last year’s survey to help fill out the survey?
Yes, while some questions have been changed - the majority of the questions are the same as they were last year. You can request a PDF of a prior submission by emailing William SaintAmour at wsaintamour@cobaltcommunityresearch.org.

How do I save a partial survey and continue it later?
There are two ways to do this:

  • Option 1: simply print off the PDF to help you gather all the information, and then use the PDF to enter your information (or scan and send the completed PDF to Cobalt). 

  • Option 2: use the save button at the bottom of the online survey and enter your email address when prompted. The software will email to you a special link to let you resume where you left off.  Check your junk/spam folder if you don’t see the email come to you in a couple of minutes.  If you just click on the regular link sent with your survey invitation, it will take you back to the beginning, so make sure you keep and use the special link.


My plan is a multi-employer plan, how do I report my data?
If you are a multi-employer plan, you may use aggregate numbers from your ACFR and respond to the questions in the generally applicable way for most of the plans you administer.

How do you calculate the current funded ratio?
From your actuarial valuation: Plan fiduciary net position (total actuarial assets) divided by total pension liability (total actuarial liabilities)
Example: $290,000,000 / $310,000,000 = 93.5%
OR use the GASB 67 method if your actuarial valuation is not available
Funded status = Plan fiduciary net position divided by total pension liability

What if my plan offered multiple Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA) in the last fiscal year?
Report the cumulative average COLA percentage for all reporting units/divisions OR report the COLA percentage offered to your largest unit/division of your membership.

What if my plan has more than one member contribution rates?
Report the cumulative average member contribution rate for all reporting units/divisions OR report the member contribution rate that impacts the largest unit/division of your membership.

What if my plan has multiple employer contribution rates?
Report the cumulative average employer contribution rate for all reporting units/divisions OR report the employer contribution rate that impacts the largest unit/division of your membership.

What is included in investment manager expenses (basis points)?
All investment related fees and expenses paid by the employer or plan. Includes but not limited to: manager fees, trading costs, travel related expenses and/or other overhead costs for investment staff, investment consultants.

How do you calculate the investment expenses basis point?
Total investment expenses divided by market value of plan assets
Then multiply by 100
Example: $70,000,000 / $300,000,000 = 0.233
0.233 x 100 = 23.3 basis points

What does the administrative expenses (basis points) cover?
All plan expenses minus any investment costs, benefit payments and refunds. Includes but not limited to: employee wages, actuarial or auditor services, training and travel costs, board expenses

How do you calculate the administrative basis points?
Total administrative expenses divided by market value of plan assets
Then multiply by 100
Example: $22,500,000 / $300,000,000 = 0.075
0.075 x 100 = 7.5 basis points

If the plan sponsor provides all of these benefits to the participants in the plan (DC, cash balance, DB, etc.).  How should I respond?
If you administer more than one plan, please copy this survey for each and note the name of the fund, skipping questions that are not applicable to the plan (such as the liability of a DC plan). If you are a multiple employer plan, you may use aggregate numbers from your ACFR and respond to the questions in the generally applicable way for most of the plans you administer.
 
What if required contributions are paid, but not actuarial? Our rate is set by statute/board and is lower than the actuarial?  Did your plan receive the full (100%) actuarially determined contribution in the last fiscal year?
If your plan did not receive the full (100%) actuarially determined contribution in the last fiscal year, please answer “no.”