UC Pension Plan’s Funded Status Improves

A higher funding level better positions UCRP for the long term

by UCOP

Thanks to strong investment returns and increased contributions from UC and employees, the funded status of the UC Retirement Plan (UCRP) increased to 80 percent from 76 percent as of July 1, 2014, Dwaine Duckett, vice president of human resources, told the UC Board of Regents on Nov. 19.

A higher funding level better positions UCRP for the long term.

“In the four years since the Regents approved a series of changes to post-employment benefits, we’ve gone through an intensive discussion and collective-bargaining process to ensure all employee groups – as well as the university – now make appropriate contributions,” Duckett said.“This has helped stabilize the plan and put it on a solid footing for the future.”

Duckett briefed the regents on the annual valuation report produced by the regents’ pension actuary, Segal Consulting.

The 80 percent funded status reflects an actuarial value of assets, which smoothes investment gains and losses over a five-year period, reducing the impact of volatility in the investment market. On a market value of assets basis, which reflects a snapshot of the actual dollars in the trust as of June 30, 2014, the funded ratio increased to 87 percent from 79 percent.

In 2009 and 2010, the regents approved restarting UC and employee contributions to UCRP, a new pension tier for new employees (the 2013 Tier) and other measures to maintain financially sustainable pension benefits for employees.

UCRP provides retirement benefits to eligible faculty and staff who have at least five years of service credit. In fiscal year 2013-14, more than 64,000 retirees and beneficiaries received $2.7 billion in benefits.

As of July 1, 2014, UCRP has more than $52 billion in assets. There are more than 120,000 active members, of which about 14,000 are members of the new 2013 Retirement Plan Tier.

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