WEST SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) today announced it has received top honors for the portfolio’s 2013-14 performance from iiSEARCHES—Institutional Investor’s investment management, sales and marketing data service.
This page outlines how CalSTRS handles pension spiking, what we’ve done recently to improve our prevention, detection and resolution of suspected incidents of spiking, and how we intend to continue improving our capabilities.
CalSTRS takes pension spiking seriously. We have a fiduciary responsibility to collect and ensure accurate reporting of compensation. Efforts that improve our ability to aggressively detect and pursue instances of suspected inappropriate pension benefit enhancement, known as spiking, are underway.
CalSTRS determines spiking to be the inappropriate enhancement of the retirement benefit, which most frequently occurs when an employer pays an excessive increase in compensation to a member at the end of his or her career. In instances where spiking has been determined, CalSTRS adjusts benefits to the appropriate level and collects overpayments in a manner consistent with the law.
Audits: CalSTRS regularly conducts school district audits and analyzes employer compensation reports to identify excessive increases that could enhance a member’s final pension benefit. This includes an analysis of other risk factors, such as large amounts of special compensation and inconsistent pay raises throughout a members’ career. For calendar year 2012, CalSTRS identified approximately $1,500,000 in benefit overpayments based upon 19 employer audits.
Compensation Review Unit: In September 2011, CalSTRS formed an additional, anti-spiking, Compensation Review Unit (CRU) focused on analyzing individual instances to determine if compensation changes have resulted in pension spiking. For calendar year 2012, the CRU reviewed 175 instances and identified 13 individual overpayments totaling $320,000.
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