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Oklahoma law creates defined contribution plan for some new public employees


Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin on Friday signed a bill that would create a new defined contribution plan for some future public workers.

Under the law, some public employees hired on or after Nov. 1, 2015, will be shifted into the new defined contribution plan administered by the $8 billion Oklahoma Public Employees Retirement System, Oklahoma City. District attorneys, assistant district attorneys and employees of district attorney's offices are exempted from the law.

The state Legislature passed the bill last week.

Employees will contribute a mandatory minimum 3% of salary to the DC plan. Employers would match contributions up to 7%.

Gov. Fallin praised the bill.

“This bill allows flexibility for future state employees to take the money they have accrued if they change careers,” Gov. Fallin said in a news release. “That helps us to make state employment more attractive and aids in recruitment.”

OPERS already administers a 457 deferred compensation plan and a 401(a) plan, with combined assets of $870 million. The retirement system will “phase out the state's current system over the next several decades and reduce the state's unfunded pension (liability),” according to the news release.

Tom Spencer, executive director of OPERS, could not be reached for comment.

Meaghan Kilroy writes for Pensions & Investments, a sister publication of Business Insurance.