National Association of State Retirement Administrators

Public Pension Coordinating Council

The Public Pension Coordinating Council (PPCC) is a coalition of three national associations that represent public retirement systems and administrators: NASRA, the National Council on Teacher Retirement (NCTR) and the National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems (NCPERS). Together, these associations represent more than 500 of the largest pension plans in the United States serving most of the nation’s 16 million employees of state and local government.

The PPCC established the Public Pension Standards to reflect minimum expectations for public retirement system management, administration, and funding. The Standards serve as a benchmark by which to measure public defined benefit plans. All public retirement systems and the state and local governments that sponsor them are encouraged to meet the standards.

The award application is distributed each year in early October. Applications are accepted for a period of six weeks, until mid-November. Retirement systems may apply for one or both of the following two awards.

Recognition Award for Administration

To receive the Recognition Award for Administration, the retirement system must certify that it meets the requirements in five areas of assessment. Those areas are:

1. Comprehensive Benefit Program. The system must provide a comprehensive benefit program including service retirement benefits, in-service death benefits, disability benefits, vesting, and provisions for granting a cost-of-living adjustment.

2. Actuarial. An Actuarial Valuation must be completed at least every two years using generally recognized and accepted actuarial principles and practices.

3. Audit. The system must obtain an unqualified opinion from an independent audit conducted in accordance with government auditing standards generally accepted in the United States.

4. Investments. The system must follow written investment policies and written fiduciary standards and the system must obtain an annual investment performance evaluation from an outside investment review entity.

 5. Communications.  Members must be provided a handbook or summary plan description, regular updates to the documents, and an annual benefit statement. Meetings of the governing board of the system are conducted at least quarterly with adequate public notice. 

Recognition Award for Funding

To receive the Recognition Award for Funding, the retirement system must certify that it meets the requirements for funding adequacy, as defined as meeting one or more of the following criteria:

a. A funded ratio of 100 percent;

b. Contribution rates equal to or greater than 100 percent of the Annual Required Contribution; or

c. A plan has been approved by the governing body to achieve or one or both of these criteria within five years.