The Investment Decisionmaking Process in Two Michigan Public Employee Retirement Plans

HRD-77-31: Published: Dec 29, 1976. Publicly Released: Dec 29, 1976.

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The Michigan Public School Employees' Retirement System, created in 1945, includes all public school districts and almost all universities employees, except those covered by federal programs. The City of Detroit General Retirement System is open to all city employees, except those covered by specific other systems. Until July, 1977, the Michigan System is funded by both employers and employees, after which it will be funded by employers only. The Detroit System is funded by both, also. Both systems provide guaranteed retirement income for life and financial protection for disability or death; but only the Detroit system has provision for automatic cost of living increases.

The Michigan System is jointly administered by the Department of Management and Budget, which monitors the Bureau of Retirement Services, and the state treasurer, who directs the four investment divisions and three investment advisors through the Bureau of Finance. The administrators are monitored by a retirement board and an investment advisory committee. The Detroit System is administered by a board of trustees which oversees a pension bureau and an investment advisor. Both systems elected to be covered by state law which requires diversification of investments, and neither system will lend money to state and local governments. Both systems aim for maximum earnings and neither has a fixed rate of return goal. The Bureau of Retirement Services monitors pension plan assets for the Michigan system. The Detroit System's pension plan assets are managed by the Pension Bureau staff and the bank, which recommends investments and does the buying and selling of securities. The Michigan System is audited by the state auditor general, who retains a firm of accountants for this purpose. The Detroit System is audited by city auditor general and a firm of accountants. The Michigan System, for fiscal year (FY) 1975, had a 5.14-percent rate of return and pension plan assets of $1,748,079,224. The Detroit System, for FY 1975, had a 6.32-percent rate of return and pension plan assets of $456,201,126.

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