Report Marks 5th Consecutive Year for Clean Audit
For the fifth consecutive year, the Colorado Public Employees’ Retirement Association (PERA) received a clean financial audit. Auditors did not find any significant deficiencies or material weaknesses in PERA’s financial reporting or controls. Nor did their report make any recommendations for best practices improvements.
Every year, the Office of the State Auditor contracts with an independent accounting firm that reviews the financial operations of PERA. The findings of the 2015 audit were released today after receiving approval from Legislative Audit Committee of the Colorado General Assembly. The audit was conducted by national firm CliftonLarsonAllen. PERA’s actuary, Cavanaugh Macdonald, also provided information about the funded status of the state’s largest retirement system.
In addition to reviewing and approving the audit, the Legislative Audit Committee also reviewed PERA’s implementation of a new reporting methodology designed to communicate PERA’s financial health. PERA’s use of this new “signal light” technology, developed by Pension Trustee Advisors in accordance with Senate Bill 14-214, showed the PERA trusts to be in the yellow category, meaning that the trusts are sustainable, but will require more than 40 years to reach 100 percent funding levels. The yellow designation reflects that the plan will be able to pay benefits into the future, unlike the situation in 2009 when the fund was predicted to run out of funds in 20 years. As a result of those projections, the General Assembly passed Senate Bill 10-001, which resulted in significant reforms that returned the fund to being able to always pay benefits due.
“This year’s clean audit and PERA’s adoption of the signal light technology demonstrate our commitment to transparency, as well as our desire to ensure the highest level of quality in all of our operations,” said Gregory W. Smith, PERA Executive Director. “We take seriously our responsibility to provide a secure retirement for our members. That means ensuring that our operations are sound and providing an honest assessment of the financial status of the fund,” he added.
Colorado PERA provides retirement and other benefits to more than 547,000 current and former teachers, State Troopers, corrections officers, snow plow drivers, and other public employees who provide valuable service to all of Colorado. PERA is a vital and stable contributor to Colorado’s economy, distributing $3.7 billion in 2015 to retirees who live in Colorado. PERA is one of Colorado’s best investments.