From STRS, December 14, 2007
Subject: [News] December Board News Details Retirement Board Actions and Discussions
This week, the State Teachers Retirement Board held its monthly meeting. Following the regularly scheduled meetings, a report titled "Board News
" is posted on the STRS Ohio Web site, as well as mailed to a number of members and education organization representatives who have requested it. As a member of STRS Ohio with an e-mail address on file, you will also receive this report each month. The December report follows.
DECEMBER BOARD NEWS
2007 ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT AUDIT COMPLETED
Clifton Gunderson completed its audit of the STRS Ohio financial statements for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2007. In reporting the results of the audit to the State Teachers Retirement Board at its Dec. 13, 2007, meeting, the auditors noted that the system's financial statements were fairly stated in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. During its audit, Clifton Gunderson also considered internal controls over financial reporting and tested compliance with certain laws and regulations. Its report indicated that no material weaknesses in internal controls or instances of statutory noncompliance were found. As a result, STRS Ohio received an unqualified opinion, which is the highest level of opinion that an organization can receive. STRS Ohio's financial statements are included in the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, which is available for viewing on STRS Ohio's Web site or by calling the Member Services Center (see article below).
ANNUAL REPORT FOR 2007 NOW AVAILABLE
Every year, STRS Ohio publishes its annual Comprehensive Annual Financial Report. This report has received the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada for 17 consecutive years, as well as recognition from the Public Pension Coordinating Council.
The current Comprehensive Annual Financial Report provides a detailed look at STRS Ohio's investment activities, plus financial, actuarial and statistical information for fiscal year 2007 (July 1, 2006-June 30, 2007). The report can be accessed through the STRS Ohio Web site at www.strsoh.org
, beginning Dec. 26. Copies of the report can also be requested by calling STRS Ohio's Member Services Center toll-free at 1-888-227-7877.
COLUMBUS FIRM CHOSEN TO ASSIST WITH EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR SEARCH
The Columbus-based executive search firm, Hudepohl and Associates, has been chosen to assist the Retirement Board in its search for STRS Ohio's ninth executive director. Executive Director Damon Asbury announced in November that he plans to retire when his current contract with the Retirement Board ends on June 30, 2008. An ad hoc committee of the board, consisting of Jeffrey Chapman, who chaired the committee, Craig Brooks, Mary Ann Quilter Cervantes, John Lazares and Mark Meuser, reviewed proposals, checked references and conducted interviews of several firms before recommending Hudepohl and Associates to the full board. The committee determined that this firm offered the best overall combination of work plan, qualified staff, experience and cost structure to assist the board in recruiting an executive director.
JANUARY BOARD SCHEDULE INCLUDES PLANNING RETREAT
In addition to its regularly scheduled meeting in January, the Retirement Board will hold its annual Planning Retreat on Jan. 30 and 31, 2008, at the STRS Ohio Building. The tentative agenda includes sessions on board governance, board policies and fiduciary responsibility; analysis of the four-year experience review of actuarial assumptions; and a review of STRS Ohio's associate severance policy.
In other action at the December meeting, the board rejected a motion requiring a formal board vote for the payment of associates' legal fees incurred with performance of their job duties. The vote followed lengthy discussion among board members and internal legal counsel and the Attorney General representative, who both indicated that the Ohio Revised Code already addresses these matters.
RETIREMENT, INVESTMENT TRANSACTIONS APPROVED
The Retirement Board approved the following retirements and investment transactions:
...• 149 active members for service retirement; 84 inactive retirements were approved.
...• In November, fixed-income purchases totaled $1.5 billion, domestic equity purchases totaled $2.3 billion and real estate purchases totaled $137 million.
ADDITIONAL ITEMS REPORTED AT THE MEETING BY EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR DAMON ASBURY
MEMBER EDUCATION PROGRAM ON HEALTH CARE PROGRAM ENDS SUCCESSFULLY
More than 1,000 retirees attended one of the 25 "Health Care Plan 2008 Highlights" programs presented by the Member Education Department. Becky Frasher, assistant director - Member Education, reviewed the plan changes for 2008 as well as information to ensure a smooth transition to Express Scripts from Caremark. Staff members from Health Care Services were also on hand to answer questions, along with representatives from Aetna, Medical Mutual, Paramount and Express Scripts. Attendees were very appreciative of the information shared at the meeting, with four out of 10 rating the program a "perfect 10" on a 10-point scale while six out of 10 said the information provided rated a "perfect 10." Based on its success, this new program will be repeated in future years.
LIST OF HEALTH CARE CHAMPIONS CONTINUES TO GROW
With the completion of additional training sessions in Columbus, Toledo and Lebanon in November, the number of Health Care Champions now totals 152 active and retired members. These individuals are volunteering their time in support of House Bill 315. Their activities have included contacting legislators, writing letters to the editor, contacting employers and sharing information with their colleagues.
RETIREMENT BOARD ELECTION PROCESS CONTINUES
To date, five individuals have requested petitions for the contributing member seat on the Retirement Board. The deadline for the return of petitions is Feb. 29, 2008.