Milliman released a funding study for what they say* are the 100 largest public pension plans in the country as drawn from official actuarial valuation reports (with liabilities ‘recalibrated’ to use 7.25% as an interest rate instead of 7.65%) and among the notable excerpts:
For the first time, retired and inactive members outnumber active members.
The plans reported aggregate accrued liabilities of $4.08 trillion for the more than 25 million members covered by the plans in the study. Individually, the plans range in size of accrued liability from $9 billion to $375 billion. The 10 largest plans account for nearly 40% of the total accrued liability and the top half of the plans represent more than 80% of the total.
The reported aggregate accrued liability consists of $1.67 trillion for the 12.5 million plan members who are still working, plus $2.41 trillion for the 12.6 million plan members who are retired and receiving benefits or who have stopped working but have not yet started collecting their pensions.
On average, active members have a sponsor-reported accrued liability of $134,000 per person and retired and inactive members have a sponsor-reported accrued liability of $191,000 per person. In aggregate, the plans currently have assets sufficient to cover 100% of the sponsor-reported accrued liability for retirees and inactive members but only 39% of the assets needed to cover the sponsor reported accrued liability for active plan members.
Per their Figure 7 – 70% of the assets are in risky investments (47% in Equities and 23% in Private equity, real estate, etc.)
Even with the recalibration the overall numbers are not to be taken seriously but they are of some comparative value since everyone is lying pretty much equally in their valuation reports. Milliman in their study includes an alphabetical listing of those valuation numbers they pulled off but it would have been helpful to get totals in a manipulatable format so, for your sorting pleasure, here it is.
* Hard to tell what Milliman’s criteria was for inclusion but Puerto Rico can’t possibly have two of the 100 largest public plans in the country but they are here possibly for the dark humor of a 3% funded ratio.