Investment Return Volatility and the Michigan State Employees’ Retirement System

Source: Yimeng Yin and Donald J. Boyd, Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government, Pension Simulation Project Policy Brief, March 2017

A new report from the Rockefeller Institute’s Public Pension Simulation Project examines investment return volatility and its impact on the Michigan State Employees’ Retirement System (MISERS). The analysis found that a very conservative contribution policy can protect a plan closed to new members from becoming severely underfunded. However, for large closed plans like MISERS, the sponsoring governments may face a risk of substantial contribution increases if the plan invests in risky assets and if large shortfalls must be recouped in short periods of time. This is the seventh report of the Pension Simulation Project at the Rockefeller Institute, which examines the potential consequences of investment-return risk for public pension plans, governments, and stakeholders in government. The project is supported by the Laura and John Arnold Foundation and The Pew Charitable Trusts.