Seattle ERS Basics
- Established 1929
- Currently open to new hires
- Plan covers local employees
- Plan members covered by Social Security
- Single employer
Assets, Participants, and Benefits
State and local government pension benefits are paid from trust funds to which public employees and their employers contributed while they were working, not from general operating revenues. Trust fund assets are invested and grow over time. The combined value of defined benefit plan assets held by state and local governments as of Q2 2020 increased to $4.6 trillion, from $4.5 trillion as of Q2 2019 (Federal Reserve Flow of Funds, December 2020). PPD data covers the period from 2001 to the most recently available plan reports, and the historical charts presented in this page mirror the period for which PPD data are available.
Assets at Year-End, Seattle ERS, 2003-2019
|Fiscal Year||Net Assets (billions)|
State and local employees make up 13.8 percent of the US workforce. About 25 percent of public sector workers are covered by a public pension in lieu of Social Security, including nearly half of all teachers and over two-thirds of firefighters and public safety officers. Public employees live in every city and county in the nation; more than 90 percent retire in the same jurisdiction where they worked. PPD data covers the period from 2001 to the most recently available plan reports, and the historical charts presented in this page mirror the period for which PPD data are available.
Number of Actives per Annuitant, 2003-2019
|Fiscal Year||Seattle ERS||US State and Local Pensions|
2019 Membership for Seattle ERS
The Annual Required Contribution (ARC) is the amount needed to finance benefits accrued each year, plus the cost to amortize unfunded liabilities from past years, minus required employee contributions. It is a projection that matches a yearly payment amount to a particular amortization period, taking into consideration an assortment of assumptions adopted by the plan. In practice, all plans do not calculate the ARC in the same manner. Assumptions used to calculate the ARC reflect actual plan experience, including investment return , actuarial cost, salary growth, total payroll growth and mortality, as well as an adopted amortization method. These assumptions and methods will differ from one plan another, so caution should be taken when comparing ARC between plans. PPD data covers the period from 2001 to the most recently available plan reports, and the historical charts presented in this page mirror the period for which PPD data are available.
Employer's Annual Required Contribution as a Percentage of Payroll and Portion Paid for Seattle ERS, 2003-2019
|Fiscal Year||Portion of Employer ARC paid||Portion of Employer ARC left unpaid||US Avg Employer ARC||ARC as a Percent of Payroll|
While funded ratios among pension plans vary substantially, in the aggregate, public pension funding levels rose steadily during the 1990s, due largely to strong returns in global equity markets. Since then, sharp market downturns in 2000-02 and 2008-09 negatively affected asset values and increased unfunded pension liabilities and required contributions. A combination of the market downturns, insufficient contributions (for some plans), and increased benefit levels (also for some plans) resulted in a decline in aggregate funding level between 2001 and 2012, and has since remained relatively stable.
Actuarial Funded Ratio for Seattle ERS, 2003-2019
|Fiscal Year||Seattle ERS||National Data|
The major asset allocation classes presented in the PPD are generated from the specific asset classes that plans report. For consistent reporting in the PPD, the individual asset classes reported by plans are categorized as one of eight major asset classes: equity, fixed income, real estate, private equity, hedge funds, commodities, misc. alternative assets, cash, and other. For more details on the PPD allocation data please see documentation.
Asset Allocation for Seattle ERS, 2019
Asset Allocation for State and Local Pensions, 2019
Asset allocation for Seattle ERS, 2011-2019
|Fiscal Year||Equities||Fixed Income||Private Equity||Real Estate||Cash||Other||Commodities||Hedge Fund||Misc. Alternatives|
Annual Return as of December 31 for Seattle ERS, 2003-2019
|Fiscal Year||Seattle ERS||Assumed return|
Annualized 5-Year Return
|Seattle ERS||PPD Sample|
Annualized 10-Year Return
|Seattle ERS||PPD Sample|
Cash Flow vs. Total Assets (Millions)
|Fiscal Year||Cash Flow||Assets|
2019 Cash Flows for Seattle ERS (millions)
|Inflows||Outflows||Investment Gains (losses)||Change in Net Assets|
Cash Flow as a Percentage of Assets
|Fiscal Year||Seattle ERS||National Average|