State Retirement System In Good Shape, Pension Researchers Say

Mar 6, 2018

Montana’s retirement system is in good shape compared to the rest of the country. That’s what national pension researchers told state lawmakers today.

Keith Brainard, the Research Director for the National Association of State Retirement Administrators told a legislative committee that since the Great Recession, the big question for state pension plans is, "are they sustainable?"

"I think that Montana pension benefits seem to be sound and wholly in hand. The only other comment I might make is that the investment return assumption is north of the national average," Brainard said.

Montana assumes 7.65 percent return on most retirement fund investments; that’s 0.2 percent higher than the national average, although similar to comparable states. That’s after state fund managers lowered that rate a 0.1 percent last year.

While the state’s largest retirement funds are financially sound, two of them, the Game Wardens and Peace Officers system and the Highway Patrol Officers system, are not actuarially sound and are funded below levels ordered by the state constitution.

State lawmakers are studying the state’s retirement systems a head of the 2019 legislative session.