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The South Dakota Retirement System Recognized in the
Society of Actuaries Public Pension Design Contest

The Society of Actuaries (SOA), the research and education professional actuarial organization, has an ongoing initiative called Retirement 20/20, with the goal of designing retirement systems better suited for the economic and demographic needs of North America in the 21st century. In the fall of 2017, as part of this initiative, the SOA issued a Call for Models on governmental pension designs, seeking real world solutions that provide secure retirement benefits in a sustainable design. The South Dakota Retirement System (SDRS) submitted a paper based on its Generational benefit structure established in 2017. We are proud to announce that SDRS was one of four designs honored by the SOA.

The SOA judged the papers based on specific criteria including how the designs handle risk, governance, and administration and whether the design is understandable to all stakeholders.

The award was based on the recent innovative design changes developed by the SDRS Board of Trustees, enacted by the South Dakota Legislature, and signed by Governor Daugaard. However, the updated design was built upon the fiscally responsible principles that have driven the operation of SDRS since consolidation in 1974. It is also a recognition of the excellent financial condition of SDRS, which has been achieved through outstanding and responsible fiscal management, superior investment performance by the South Dakota Investment Council, and the ongoing support of the Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches of state government and all stakeholders throughout the state.

SDRS Senior Actuary, Doug Fiddler, and Retirement Consultant, Paul Schrader, were the architects of the design and authors of the contest submission. Their knowledge and experience has and continues to play a critical role in the success of SDRS.

It should also be noted that in the recently-published Pew Charitable Trusts study, "The State Pension Funding Gap: 2016", the South Dakota Retirement System was recognized as one of the two best-funded public pension plans in the nation. In 2016, SDRS had funded 97% of the plan's accrued liabilities (the ratio increased to 100% in 2017).

The honor from the Society of Actuaries and the recognition from Pew Charitable Trusts again highlight the outstanding fiscal management and financial condition of the South Dakota Retirement System.