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History

A History of APERS

From its humble beginnings in 1957 as a multi-employer defined benefit retirement plan for State of Arkansas employees, the Arkansas Public Employees Retirement System (APERS), formerly Arkansas State Employees Retirement System, has developed into a mature system that continues to satisfy the general financial objective of level contribution financing.

As of June 30, 2009, the assets of the System remained healthy at $4.3 billion despite a recently tough investment environment. The APERS investment program has seen rates of return that range from -20.89% (fiscal year 2009) to 38.5% (fiscal year 1985). The investment of these assets has gone from certificates of deposits at local banks to an allocation of assets among numerous investment managers that include domestic equities, domestic fixed income, international equities and alternatives (i.e. timber, real estate).

With changes in the retirement world, APERS has experienced the implementation of a Deferred Retirement Option Plan (DROP), the ability to retire at any age with 28 years actual service, the Partial Annuity Withdrawal (PAW) and the ability to purchase various types of service (i.e. federal, out-of-state, military, national guard/reserves). Enhancements to the monthly retirement annuity have included Ad Hoc increases for retirees and increases in the multipliers for active members, as well as a reduction in the years utilized to calculate the final average salary.

APERS membership has grown steadily. Our active to retired lives is approximately 1:1.8, according to the 2009 APERS Report of Actuarial Valuation and Experience Gain/(Loss). Over the next several years, we will be experiencing the “Baby Boomers” retirement and the active to retired lives is anticipated to be more like 1:1.

Highlights

From 1957 through 1965, county employers (Act 42 of 1959), municipal employers (Act 64 of 1961), college and university employers (Act 149 of 1963) and non-teaching public school employers (Act 63 of 1965) joined the System.

With the establishment of reciprocity, service rendered to other state authorized retirement systems could be recognized for vesting in conjunction with service rendered to APERS.

Any member joining the System prior to January 1, 1978 was required to contribute a percentage of their salary to the System. However, effective January 1, 1978, all new members were no longer required to contribute to the System; only the employer contributed. All contributory members of the System were given an opportunity to remain contributory or choose to be non-contributory.

Throughout the next several years, various other non-state employers were added to the System through various legislative enactments. Act 653 of 1989 required that all newly hired public school employees be enrolled in the Arkansas Teacher Retirement System (ATRS). The School Division became a closed-plan.

In 1991, Act 757 provided for fractional service credit for members who work less than 80 hours per month. Act 975 changed the final average salary (FAS) used in the calculation of retirement benefits from five (5) years to four (4) years. Act 1137 of 1997 set the way for the FAS to be set at three (3) years. Act 1143 required adherence for retirement systems to the Qualified Domestic Relation Orders (QDRO). Effective July 1, 1997 the vesting requirements changed from ten (10) years to five (5) years for all active and future members of the System with the exception of members of the General Assembly (Act 1356 of 1995). As of July 1, 1999 a retired member of another state-sponsored retirement system, who worked in a position covered by APERS and met the eligibility requirements, could be reported to APERS.

In 2005, the 86th General Assembly provided for the establishment of a new contributory provision for the System. Therefore, effective July 1, 2005, all new members of the System would be contributory and contribute 5% of their salary into the System. Current members of the System were given the option to remain non-contributory or choose to be a contributory member of the System.

Effective July 1, 2007, the Arkansas District Judges Retirement System (ADJRS) was transferred to APERS by Act 177 of the 2007 Arkansas Legislature. ADJRS at that time was treated as a closed system and was recorded as one of APERS “divisions”. District Judges entering the System after July 1, 2007 are treated as APERS employees and fall under the same benefits as APERS employees.

Act 295 of 2009, which went into effect in March 2009, broadened members’ ability to purchase retirement credit for time served in the military or armed forces reserves. Vested members who are either eligible for or currently receiving military retirement benefits may purchase up to 5 years of service in APERS. Similarly vested members may purchase up to 5 years of armed forces reserve time in the system. Act 295 also invokes the federal protections afforded by the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) for APERS members called to active duty.

Board of Trustees

Mr. Artee Williams, Chair
State Employee Representative

The Honorable Mike Jacobs , Vice-Chair
County Judge

The Honorable Charles Robinson
Ex Officio, State Treasurer

The Honorable Charlie Daniels
Ex Officio, State Auditor

Mr. Richard Weiss
Ex Officio, Department of Finance & Administration

Ms. Ouida Wright
State Employee Representative

Mr. Bill Gaddy
State Employee Representative

The Honorable Charles “Stephen” Northcutt
Mayor of Malvern

Ms. Carol Bevis
Other Non-State Representative

APERS Board Meeting Schedule and Minutes
APERS Organizational Chart


  APERS ORGANIZATIONAL CHART  
   
     

 

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