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The District of Columbia Retirement Board (DCRB) is an independent agency of the District of Columbia Government. DCRB is responsible for managing the assets of the District Retirement Funds.
The mission of DCRB is to prudently invest the assets of the Police Officers, Firefighters, and Teachers of the District of Columbia, while providing those employees with total retirement services. DCRB manages the Teachers’ Retirement Fund and Police Officers and Firefighters’ Retirement Fund (the "Funds").
As authorized by DC Code, DCRB pools the assets of the Funds into a single investment portfolio. DCRB allocates the investment returns and expenses, and the administrative expenses of the Board, between the two District Retirement Funds in proportion to their respective net asset value.
DCRB maintains financial records of contributions, purchases of service, benefit payments, refunds, investment earnings, investment expenses and administrative expenses.
DCRB was created by the U.S. Congress in 1979 under the Retirement Reform Act (“Reform Act”). The Reform Act established DCRB’s structure, legal responsibilities and composition. The 12 member Board of Trustees consists of 6 individuals elected by their participant groups (2 each by active and retired police officers, firefighters, and teachers), 3 appointed by the Mayor, and 3 appointed by the City Council. The D.C. Chief Financial Officer, or his or her designee, sits on the Board of Trustees as an ex-officio, non-voting Trustee. The Fund is managed and controlled by DCRB, and is held in trust by DCRB for the exclusive benefit of members, retirees, survivors, and beneficiaries of the Plans.
Prior to the Reform Act, eligibility and benefit rules and financing arrangements for the Plans were authorized by acts of Congress and administered by the Federal Government. Benefits were paid monthly from the general revenues of the U.S. Department of the Treasury (“Treasury”), on a “pay-as-you-go” basis when workers retired, not on a prefunded basis using actuarial assumptions and methods. Under the “National Capital Revitalization and Self-Government Improvement Act of 1997” (the “Revitalization Act”), the Federal Government assumed responsibility for the unfunded pension liabilities for retirement benefits earned as of June 30, 1997.
The following year, the District of Columbia (“District”) passed the “Police Officers, Firefighters and Teachers Retirement Benefit Replacement Plan Act of 1998” (the “Replacement Plan Act”) which established retirement plans for pension benefits accrued after June 30, 1997. To facilitate the effective monitoring of the retirement system, the Reform Act and the Replacement Plan Act require that DCRB publish an annual report for each fiscal year. The DCRB Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) fulfills that requirement.
The District’s “Office of Financial Operations and Systems Reorganization Act of 2004”, transferred the responsibility for administering the retirement programs for the District’s police officers, firefighters and teachers to DCRB. At that time, cooperation with the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of D.C. Pensions (“ODCP”) and the District, ensured the transition of Benefits Administration from the District’s Office of Pay and Retirement Services (“OPRS”) to DCRB.
Effective October 1, 2005, DCRB was assigned the responsibility of administering the pension benefits for retirees, survivors and beneficiaries of the District Retirement Funds. The related administrative expenses are assumed by the District Retirement Funds as described above.
Effective October 1, 2005, the Board entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (“MOU”) with the United States Department of the Treasury (the “US Treasury”) to administer the District of Columbia Teachers, Police Officers and Firefighters’ pension benefits that are the financial responsibility of the Federal Government (service earned before July 1, 1997).
The US Treasury reimburses the Board for expenses incurred to administer the federal portion of the retirement plan. DCRB and the US Treasury Office of DC Pensions (“ODCP”) are collaborating on the split retirement benefit calculations for retirees with service earned before and after July 1, 1997. This ongoing project will result in the financial reconciliation of pension liabilities between the DCRB trusts and the ODCP trust.