CalSTRS announces its latest progress report toward long-term sustainability
Fifth annual report showcases advances in pension plan full funding, retirement preparedness and cybersecurity

News release Michelle Mussuto
Jack Ehnes

WEST SACRAMENTO, Calif. (April 25, 2019)– The California State Teachers’ Retirement System today released its fifth annual Sustainability Report. The report, based on data from fiscal year 2017-18, uses the Global Reporting Initiative Standards: Core option.  

“In my role as a trustee on the Teachers’ Retirement Board, over the past eight years, I have supported, encouraged and witnessed the benefits of incorporating the six Principles for Responsible Investment into CalSTRS investment policies and practices,” said Board Vice Chair Sharon Hendricks.

The Global Reporting Initiative is an independent international organization that has pioneered sustainability reporting since 1997.

“The efforts, successes and future visions to maintain our organization’s sustainability outlined in this report are a testament to CalSTRS’ engaged workforce. Each section of the report reflects the high-quality performance that research shows is found in an inclusive workplace environment,” said Chief Executive Officer Jack Ehnes. “This report displays work we do that is generally invisible, not only to the more than 949,000 members we serve, but to the public as well and yet, is essential to CalSTRS’ mission to secure the financial future—in the form of a secure retirement—for California’s educators.”

CalSTRS surveyed members, employees and other stakeholders to determine the top three material issues and respective activities and achievements to highlight in this year’s report. The results: CalSTRS path to full funding, preparing members for retirement, and cybersecurity.

Report Highlights

Funding Plan: Designed to share the responsibility of the fund’s health among members, employers and the State of California

  • Managing investment risk through responsible governance practices resulted in a 9% return on investments—2% above the long-term assumed rate.
  • In 2017, the board adopted new mortality improvement assumptions.

Retirement Preparedness: Committed member relationships that span 60-70 years drive the need for Pension2®, CalSTRS’ voluntary defined contribution plan. Whether their retirement spans 5, or 10, or 30 years, supplemental savings help fill the gap between members’ CalSTRS monthly defined benefit and their retirement income goals.

  • What If and Why Wait online calculators show the advantage supplemental savings make to fill the gap between the CalSTRS guaranteed defined benefit and members’ retirement income goals.
  • Award winning 403bCompare website removes the complexity of choosing a 403(b) product and removes any barriers to plan participation.

Cybersecurity: Reduced cyberattack risk using the Center for Internet Security’s Critical Security Controls.

  • Fewer low-risk alerts mean CalSTRS ability to detect and respond quicker to higher-risk threats minimize the potential impact to member and investment data.
  • Monitoring website use patterns enhances the ability to detect threats.

In addition to these topics, the report covers CalSTRS leadership in sustainable investing, our culture of ethics and responsible business practices, sustainable lifestyle options available to CalSTRS employees, and the environmental performance of the CalSTRS headquarters building.

About CalSTRS

The California State Teachers’ Retirement System, with a portfolio valued at $227.8 billion as of March 31, 2019, is the largest educator-only pension fund in the world. CalSTRS serves California’s more than 949,000 public school educators and their families from the state’s 1,700 school districts, county offices of education and community college districts. A hybrid retirement system, CalSTRS administers a combined traditional defined benefit, cash balance and voluntary defined contribution plan. CalSTRS also provides disability and survivor benefits. CalSTRS members retire on average after more than 25 years of service, with a median retirement age of 62.9, and a monthly pension of approximately $4,475, which is not eligible for Social Security participation. For more data, download the CalSTRS  Fast Facts 2018 brochure.

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