I read with interest your Dec. 22 editorial, "Some public funds need to tell more." Specifically, you made reference to the Iowa Public Employees' Retirement System and the length of time it takes to get our annual report posted on the web. As the manager responsible for the publication of IPERS' annual report, I would like to apprise you of some information.
IPERS' fiscal year closes on June 30. Following the close of the fiscal year, our managers and consultants begin the process of reporting to IPERS audited financial data. This process usually takes a couple of months because these reports include activity for the entire fiscal year. Once the reports are received by IPERS, we go through the necessary steps to confirm this data. Once IPERS confirms this data, they are sent to the system's actuary, along with all the experience data needed for the actuary to produce the annual valuation of IPERS. Typically, the actuary submits a draft report in late October or early November. A final report usually is transmitted to IPERS by the actuary in mid-November.
IPERS is required to be audited on an annual basis by the Iowa Office of Auditor of State, which is independent of IPERS. Auditors typically begin reviewing various aspects of IPERS in October even before the final valuation is received. Once the valuation is received, it has to pass the scrutiny of the state auditor. Thereafter, the auditor issues the independent auditor's report for the public and IPERS members to review. This report is included in the annual report. Concerning the annual report for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2003, the auditor's independent report was issued on Dec. 2, 2003. After the auditor's report is received, my staff can finalize the financial data and other areas of the annual report before it is sent to the printer.
The drafting of the annual report is completed prior to Dec. 15, when Iowa Code requires IPERS to provide the governor with a copy of the annual report every year. IPERS has always met this statutory deadline.
The governor received the annual report on Dec. 15, as did the Department of Management. On the same day, a PDF version of the report was posted on IPERS' website for our members and the general public. After the receipt of the annual reports from the printer in early January 2004, a formal copy of the annual report will be provided to the leadership of the Iowa General Assembly, caucus staff and members of the two boards associated with IPERS — the Investment Board and Benefits Advisory Committee.
I can assure you that time is not wasted in the production of the IPERS' annual report. The five and one-half months used to produce the annual report seems short to my unit when considering the process from beginning to end. Some of the process is within our control, but much is not. Nevertheless, the goal is to produce the annual report in a timely manner so that the various entities and people interested in the information contained in the annual report can have expeditious access to it.
I agree with the general theme of your editorial regarding the provision of timely information to members and to the public. IPERS does strive to accomplish this. However, there is always room for improvement.
Gregg A. Schochenmaier
& communications unit
Iowa Public Employees'