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BISMARCK, ND – The Teachers’ Fund for Retirement (TFFR) pension program has earned the 2023 Public Pension Standards Awards for Plan Funding and for Plan Administration from the Public Pension Coordinating Council (PPCC). Overseen by the TFFR board of trustees, the Retirement and Investment Office (RIO) manages the program.

“The Teachers’ Fund for Retirement pension program provides North Dakota educators with the foundation for a secure and stable retirement,” said Jan Murtha, RIO executive director. “This recognition by the Public Pension Coordinating Council is a reflection of the Retirement and Investment Office’s commitment to safeguarding the financial future of our members.” 

“This is the seventh year that the Teachers’ Fund for Retirement program has received both Public Pension Coordinating Council awards,” said Chad Roberts, RIO deputy executive director and chief retirement officer. 

To receive the funding award, a pension program must certify that it meets the requirements for funding adequacy, either a 100% funded ratio or an actual contribution rate at a level equal to or greater than the actuarially determined contribution. 

“The long-term outlook of the program is positive thanks to forward-thinking action taken by the state legislature in 2011 to improve its solvency,” said Roberts. The most recent actuarial valuation report provided by TFFR’s pension fund actuary indicated that the current statutory contributions, 12.75% by employers and 11.75% by members, still meets the board’s funding policy objectives with full funding of the program anticipated by 2043.

To be recognized for administration, a pension program must certify that it is a comprehensive benefit program with a recent audit and actuarial valuation illustrating the soundness of the program, that it has adopted and follows investment policies, that it adequately communicates with its members, and that its board meets quarterly at a minimum. RIO has been recognized by the PPCC nine times for administration alone.

The PPCC recognized 111 pension systems with both the Plan Funding and Plan Administration awards this year. The award standards serve as a benchmark to measure public defined benefit plans, reflecting the expectations for public retirement system management, administration, and funding. 

The PPCC is a confederation of the National Association of State Retirement Administrators, National Council on Teacher Retirement and National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems. Together, the associations represent more than 500 of the largest pension plans in the United States, serving most of the nation’s more than 18 million state and local government employees. 

A qualified defined benefit public pension plan, the TFFR program has more than 24,000 members, approximately 11,800 are active members employed by public schools and state institutions. TFFR’s funding comes from member and employer contributions and investment earnings.

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