Auditor Releases Study of State Retirement System

February 18, 2021

JACKSON, Miss. – The Public Employees’ Retirement System of Mississippi (PERS) operates well in some areas when compared to pensions in other states but could be improved in other areas according to a report released today by State Auditor Shad White. The study was conducted for the Office of the State Auditor for no charge by the Pew Charitable Trusts, an internationally-respected non-partisan public policy research organization.

Key findings listed in the report include:

  • As of 2018, Mississippi ranked 39th among all states when it comes to the “funded ratio” of our pension. The funded ratio is the pension’s assets over its liabilities.
  • Mississippi ranks 42nd among states when it comes to the ratio of our operating cash flow to our assets. Unfortunately, that ratio has deteriorated over the last twenty years.
  • PERS’ investments have underperformed the S&P 500 since 2010. The performance of PERS’ investments during that time has been in the top quartile of states, though.
  • Over the next twenty years, if the state increases the employer contributions as a percentage of state revenue to around 12%, the financial stability of PERS will improve over time.

“In late 2018, I requested this study to determine how Mississippi’s pension plan is doing compared to other states,” said Auditor White. “My hope is that this overview will provide policymakers and PERS leadership with information that can help them make decisions in the future. I also hope that it provides state employees, pensioners, and taxpayers with transparency into how PERS is performing.”

The full report can be found online at the Auditor’s website.