National Association of State Retirement Administrators


The operation of a state retirement system is overseen by a retirement system director or administrator and other professional staff. Some of the operations functions are described briefly below:

  • Accounting and reporting: Staff is responsible for ensuring plan financial information is collected and produced following industry standards;

  • Audit: Staff enforces internal policies and procedures, as well as external regulations.

  • Benefits distribution: Staff verifies and calculates benefits, and distribute payments to retirees and survivors.

  • Information technology: Staff develops and maintains computer and software systems that aid in record-keeping, communications, and benefits distribution.

  • Membership: Staff is responsible for enrolling new members in the retirement system and updating and maintaining member records throughout their career with the participating entity.

Policy Implementation

State retirement systems carry out the policies enacted by plan sponsors, or in some cases, craft internal policies for system operations or benefits delivery. Some examples of state policies with application to retirement systems are listed below:

Retirement plan options for State University faculty and staff: In some states, it is mandatory for university faculty and/or staff to participate in the statewide retirement system. In other states, select groups may decide to join an optional retirement program. 

Retirement programs for charter school employees: States differ concerning their inclusion of charter school employees in the state retirement system. In some states, these employees must participate in the state system while in other states it is available as an elective option.

Forfeiture of Retirement Benefits: Some states stipulate certain conditions that may lead to the forfeiture of pension benefits for a covered employee. In some cases, the conditions are established in statute, and in other cases, the retirement system board has authorized discretion concerning forfeiture. Some states have no laws or policies governing the forfeiture of benefits.

NASRA Resources

  • Resolution 2003-05 - Public Pension Systems - Operational Risks of Defined Benefit and Related Plans and Controls to Mitigate those Risks

  • Resolution 2012-01- Public Employee Retirement System Accounting Standards & Actuarial Methodologies

  • Resolution 2011-02 - Ethics Policies and Disclosure Requirements of State and Local Retirement System Staff, Trustees and Service Providers

  • Roll Call (members-only)

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