Pension Bill Passed the House of Representatives

If you reside in one of these zip codes, *55114 *55104 * 55105 *55116 *55108  The following request pertains to YOU!

Please contact Senator Cohen NOW by web form, letter, or phone call (651) 296-5931 to his Capital office.

Dear Chairman Cohen,
I am contacting you to thank you for support of a $7 million annual appropriation from the state to assist in funding my pension plan. The St. Paul Teachers need your vital help to secure this important appropriation. We have waited years to deal effectively with our under funding. We are fortunate that you are the Chair of the Senate Finance committee and in position to get this done. Please make every effort to secure the $7 million annual appropriation in this session’s Omnibus Pension Bill.
Thank you, (Your Name)

It is important to be respectful and to know that Senator Cohen is a great, long term friend to our plan. By contacting him, you are demonstrating the vital importance, as a St. Paul educator in Senator Cohen’s constituency, of this Bill to the future of your Retirement Plan and to best ensure the continued strength of Defined Benefit Plans and their ability to allow public teachers to enjoy a well-earned, dignified and secure retirement.

[Watch a full video archive of Thursday's floor session here.]

The long-term financial outlook for Minnesota pensions would improve if a bill that passed the House Thursday becomes law. There are many more steps in the process and possible “potholes” to avoid.  But the House vote represented an important milestone for SPTRFA in its efforts to secure important longer term State funding assistance.

The Omnibus Pension Bill, HF1951, sponsored by Rep. Mary Murphy (DFL-Hermantown), passed by a 79-52 vote. The bill now heads on the Senate, where Senate President Sandy Pappas (DFL-St. Paul) is the lead sponsor.

The Senate Finance Committee, chaired by Richard Cohen (DFL-St. Paul), is the first stop with its hearing expected sometime after the Legislature returns from its Easter recess April 22.  The Administration’s hint that it would prefer to set aside a sizeable cash “reserve”, potentially up to $1 billion in expected future State revenues, will be a hurdle for the Pension Bill to overcome during Senate consideration.

What does House passage mean especially for St. Paul Teachers’ Pension Fund? The bill includes provisions that would continue the $7 million in annual funding to help address the SPTRFA unfunded liabilities brought on by funding shortfalls from the State in years past.  It also sets a fixed date of 2042 for the Plan to meet its unfunded obligations and clarifies procedures for future annual post-retirement benefits.  The bill importantly would leave SPTRFA as a separate Plan rather than merging it into TRA, which would be the case with the Duluth Teachers’ Plan.  Rep. John Lesch (DFL-St. Paul), also a co-sponsor, in floor debate pointed out that it would cost more than $38 million annually to merge St. Paul teachers with TRA. “Remaining separate is far less expensive and effective option,” he said.
Read updates from MN House session writer, Charlie Shaw,@MNHouseInfo
Bill Authors

Murphy, M.; Simonson; Nelson; Kahn; Lesch; Morgan

Institutional Investor magazine announces winners!

A big Congratulations is in order and we couldn’t be more proud!!

Named Small Public Pension Fund Manager of the Year, Paul Doane, Executive Director, CIO, St. Paul Teachers’ Retirement Fund Association.

The awards recognize U.S. institutional investors whose innovative strategies and fiduciary savvy resulted in impressive returns in 2013, as well as U.S. money managers in 37 asset classes who stood out in the eyes of the investor community for their exceptional performance, risk management and service.

This year’s manager winners were announced on March 17 and will be awarded along with the honorees at a dinner and ceremony on Thursday, May 15, 2014 at the Mandarin Oriental in New York City. Read More here.

SELECTION PROCESS: Institutional Investor’s U.S. Investment Management Award winners are chosen by the editorial staff of Institutional Investor magazine based on their market intelligence, performance data and additional information received from the industry following a public call for nominations and survey to investors.

Pension Withholding Contribution Change

February 21, 2014 payroll will include a 0.25% increase in your pension withholding. On July 1, 2013, your SPTRFA pension contribution rates, made by payroll deduction through SPPS (the District), were scheduled to be increased by 0.25%. We were notified by the District of an unfortunate delay in the implementation of the increased pension contribution rate. The District will begin to apply the additional 0.25% deduction beginning with the February 21st SPPS payroll.

The proper collection of pension contributions is the responsibility of St. Paul Public Schools, but we can share what we now understand. The 0.25% increase will be retroactive to July 1, 2013. The time period for the retroactive collection may be stretched over the remainder of the school year, but this will ultimately be the decision of St. Paul Public Schools. The SPPS Human Resources/Payroll department is working on the plan this week and will communicate the plan after it has been approved.

The SPTRFA pension fund is not part of the District, so you may wish to contact the SPPS Payroll department directly for further information. If you have questions regarding your payroll deductions, please contact SPPS payroll directly.

Attention Retirees: 1099-R forms were sent out on Friday, January 31, 2014

Need help understanding the 1009-R Form?
Similar to a W-2 form from an employer, the 1099-R reports your annual benefit payments for the previous year. For a full 1099-R form explanation, click here.

Calendar Year 2013 Investment Review

St Paul Teachers’ Retirement Fund portfolio edged above $1 billion in assets by year’s end, marking a return to that level reached just ahead of the global financial crisis back in 2008-09. For the calendar year, the portfolio produced a 19.6% return, well ahead of its 8% target rate. The strong year placed the three and five year returns into a strong position as well, up 10.4% and 13.5% respectively. Assets were $1.010 billion as of 12/31. The portfolio’s 2013 growth easily outperformed its benchmark, which recorded a 17.1% return for the period.

Read more from the Calendar Year 2013 Investment Review, here.

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