Ohio Auditor’s Report Says Nothing Illegal in STRS, Recommends Review of Bonuses and Transparency

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WTVG) — An audit of the Ohio State Teachers’ Retirement System found no evidence of anything illegal, but says STRS could be more transparent and rethink how it awards bonuses to investment staff.

State Auditor Keith Faber conducted a special audit that found no evidence of fraud, illegal activity or data manipulation related to $90 billion held in an Ohio STRS trust, the auditor’s office said in a press release. When reviewing the pension system, the investigation showed that the SSS is well designed and well controlled by both internal authorities and independent experts. However, the audit service recommends that stakeholders review the policies and laws of the pension system to consider changes and improve the management of pension funds.

Suggestions for improvement include taking better measures to ensure that necessary actuarial reviews and fiduciary audits are completed in a timely manner, as well as considering changes to how and whether bonus payments to investment personnel will be offered, and removing provisions that shield investment decisions from further scrutiny.

“STRS should strive to be as transparent as possible about the funds held in their trust,” Auditor Faber said in a statement. “This means full disclosure of how these funds are invested, as well as the gains or losses on those investments.”

The audit report comes after retired teachers, concerned about the pension system and its removal of cost-of-living payments, commissioned a 2021 study that accused STRS of lack of transparency and paying large employee bonuses. STRS disputed its findings.

Faber’s office said Thursday that there is room for public debate and possible changes in the police force to address the concerns of STRS members, including on issues of transparency, investment, and audit and verification requirements.

Find the full report by clicking here.

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