2017 ORS 238.260¹
Variable Annuity Account
  • rules

(1) The purpose of this section is to establish a well balanced, broadly diversified investment program for certain contributions and portions of the member accounts so as to provide retirement benefits for members of the system that will fluctuate as the value and earnings of the investments vary in relation to changes in the general economy. It is anticipated that investment of those contributions and portions of the member accounts in equities will result in the accumulation of larger deposit reserves for those members during their working years, tend to preserve the purchasing power of those reserves and the retirement benefits provided thereby and afford better protection in periods of economic inflation.

(2) There is established in the Public Employees Retirement Fund an account, separate and distinct from the General Fund, to be known as the Variable Annuity Account. Interest earned by the account shall be credited to the account. The account is part of the Public Employees Retirement System and is not a separate defined contribution plan or account for the purposes of the Internal Revenue Code.

(3)(a) A member who is making contributions to the fund may elect at any time to have 25, 50 or 75 percent of contributions by the member to the fund on and after the effective date of the election paid into the Variable Annuity Account, credited to a variable account, and reserved for the purchase of a variable annuity. A member who has elected to have a percentage of contributions so paid, credited and reserved may elect at any time thereafter to have an additional 25 or 50 percent of contributions by the member, but not to exceed a maximum of 75 percent, so paid, credited and reserved. An election shall be in writing on a form furnished by the board and be filed with the board. An election shall be effective on January 1 following the filing thereof.

(b) Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, a member may not contribute to the Variable Annuity Account after December 31, 2003.

(4) A member who has elected to have contributions paid into the Variable Annuity Account under subsection (3) of this section may thereafter cause the contributions to cease being paid into the member’s variable account by filing a request in writing on a form furnished by the board and filed with the board. The contributions shall cease being paid into the member’s variable account after December 31 following the filing of the request. Contributions paid into the member’s variable account before the effective date of the request for cessation shall remain in the member’s variable account.

(5)(a) An employee who is a member of the system on January 1, 1968, and who thereafter made contributions to the Variable Annuity Account, may elect at any time to have an amount equal to 10 percent per year, for not more than five years, of the balance of the regular account of the member in the fund on the effective date of an election filed under subsection (3) of this section, transferred from the regular account of the member to the Variable Annuity Account, credited to the member’s variable account, and reserved for the purchase of a variable annuity. An election shall be in writing on a form furnished by the board and be filed with the board. An election is final and irrevocable upon the filing thereof. The first transfer pursuant to an election shall be made on July 1 following the filing of the election, but may be made, in the discretion of the board, on an earlier date.

(b) If the transfers elected by a member under this subsection have not been completed at the time of retirement, a transfer equal to one annual transfer shall be made pursuant to an election by the member made and filed as provided in this subsection.

(c) No transfer shall be made under this subsection after the first payment of the service retirement allowance of the member becomes normally due.

(d) Notwithstanding paragraphs (a) to (c) of this subsection, a member may not elect to transfer funds under this subsection after December 31, 2003.

(6) Moneys in the Variable Annuity Account may be invested in investments authorized by law for investment of moneys in the Public Employees Retirement Fund; but, notwithstanding any other general or specific law, moneys in the account shall be invested primarily in equities, including common stock, securities convertible into common stock, real property and other recognized forms of equities, whether or not subject to indebtedness. Not more than five percent of the amortized value of all the investments of the Variable Annuity Account and of moneys in the account immediately available for investment may be invested in the obligations of or equities in a single, primary obligor or issuer. A pro rata share of the administrative expenses of the system shall be paid from interest earned by the Variable Annuity Account.

(7)(a) Except as provided in subsection (8) of this section, the policy-making investment authority for the Public Employees Retirement Fund shall enter into contracts with one or more persons whom the authority determines to be qualified, whereby the persons undertake to invest and reinvest moneys in the Variable Annuity Account available for investment and acquire, retain, manage and dispose of investments of the account in accordance with subsections (1) and (6) of this section and to the extent provided in the contracts.

(b) Performance of functions under contracts so entered into shall be paid for out of the gross interest or other income of the investments with respect to which the functions are performed, and the net interest or other income of the investments after that payment shall be considered income of the Variable Annuity Account.

(c) The policy-making investment authority may require a person contracted with to give to the state a fidelity bond in a penal sum as may be fixed by law or, if not so fixed, as may be fixed by the authority, with corporate surety authorized to do business in this state.

(d) Contracts so entered into and functions performed thereunder are not subject to the State Personnel Relations Law or ORS 279A.050 (Procurement authority) (2) and 279A.140 (State procurement of goods and services).

(e) A person contracted with shall report to the policy-making investment authority as often as the authority may require, but at least annually, the earnings of the moneys invested during the period covered by the report, the capital gains and losses of the Variable Annuity Account during the period, the changes in the market value of the investments of the account during the period and such other information as the authority may require.

(8) The policy-making investment authority for the Public Employees Retirement Fund, for and on behalf of the Public Employees Retirement System and Public Employees Retirement Board, may enter into group annuity contracts with one or more insurance companies authorized to do business in this state. In lieu of any investment of moneys in the Variable Annuity Account as provided in subsections (6) and (7) of this section, the authority may pay, from time to time under contracts so entered into, any moneys in that account available for investment purposes. Contracts so entered into:

(a) May provide that annuities purchased thereunder be payable in variable dollar amounts, but if that provision is made, provision also shall be made that a member of the system who has a variable account, upon retiring from service and before the first payment of retirement allowance becomes normally due, may elect an option to have the annuities payable to the member or the beneficiary of the member in fixed or variable dollar amounts or both.

(b) May provide that payment of annuities purchased thereunder may be made by the insurance company directly to persons entitled thereto or to the Variable Annuity Account for payment therefrom to those persons.

(c) Are not subject to ORS 279A.050 (Procurement authority) (2) and 279A.140 (State procurement of goods and services).

(9) Upon retiring from service but within 60 days after the date of the first benefit payment, a member of the system who has a variable account may elect to transfer the balance in the variable account to the regular account of the member, and by that transfer the annuity shall be based on the amount in the regular account of the member as otherwise provided in this chapter and the member shall not receive a variable annuity as provided in this section.

(10) When an annuity is payable under this chapter to a member of the system who has a variable account, or is payable to a beneficiary of that person, the portion of the annuity payable from the Variable Annuity Account shall be proportionately increased or decreased for a calendar year when, as of October 31 of the preceding calendar year, the balance of the member’s variable account exceeds or is less than the current value of the annuity, determined in accordance with the rate of interest and approved actuarial tables then in effect.

(11) Notwithstanding subsection (10) of this section, the board, in the event of extraordinary fluctuation in the market value of investments of the Variable Annuity Account and in order to avoid substantial inequities, may increase or decrease the portions of annuities paid from the account for periods less than a calendar year and determined as of dates other than October 31.

(12) Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, the retirement allowance to which a member of the system who has a variable account or who made contributions on salary in excess of $4,800 per year during the period January 1, 1956, through December 31, 1967, and whose effective date of retirement is January 1, 1982, or later, is otherwise entitled under this chapter shall be subject to the following adjustment:

(a) The board shall determine the difference between the member account of the member and what the member account of the member would have been had the member not participated in the variable annuity program on or after January 1, 1982, plus the contributions made on salary in excess of $4,800 per year during the period January 1, 1956, through December 31, 1967.

(b) If the member account of the member due to participation in the variable annuity program or due to the contributions made on salary in excess of $4,800 per year is greater, the monthly retirement allowance of the member shall be increased by the value of the difference, using the annuity tables applicable to the plan selected by the member.

(c) If the member account of the member due to participation in the variable annuity program or due to the contributions made on salary in excess of $4,800 per year is lesser, the monthly retirement allowance of the member shall be decreased by the value of the difference, using the annuity tables applicable to the plan selected by the member.

(13) Except as otherwise specifically provided in this section, the rights and benefits under this chapter of an active or retired member of the system or of a beneficiary of the member are not affected by this section and the provisions of this chapter applicable to regular accounts of active and retired members of the system in the fund are also applicable to variable accounts.

(14)(a) In addition to the transfer provided for in subsection (9) of this section, a member of the system who has a variable account may at any time prior to retirement elect to transfer the balance in that account to the regular account of the member in the fund if:

(A) The member is other than a police officer or firefighter and has attained the age of 50;

(B) The member is a police officer or firefighter and has attained the age of 45; or

(C) The member has a combined total of 25 years or more of creditable service in the system and prior service credit.

(b) An election under paragraph (a) of this subsection is irrevocable, and a member who has so elected may not thereafter elect to make contributions to the Variable Annuity Account under subsection (3) of this section.

(c) An election under paragraph (a) of this subsection shall be in writing and shall be filed with the board. The board by rule shall prescribe a form for the purposes of application. An election so made shall be effective on January 1 of the year following the year in which the election is made. If the member account of the member as of the effective date of the election is less than what the member account of the member would have been had the member not participated in the variable annuity program, not including the contributions made on salary in excess of $4,800 per year during the period January 1, 1956, through December 31, 1967, the monthly retirement allowance of a member calculated under ORS 238.300 (Service retirement allowance) (2)(a) or (b)(B) shall be decreased by the value of the difference.

(d) As of the effective date of an election under this subsection, the board shall credit all earnings to the member’s variable account based on the actual calendar year variable earnings rate for the year in which the election is made. This account balance shall:

(A) Be used by the board in determining whether the member’s election is effective under paragraph (c) of this subsection; and

(B) Be the account balance credited by the board to the regular account of the member in the fund if the election is determined to be effective.

(e) Subject to paragraph (c) of this subsection, the annuity of a member who makes an effective transfer under this subsection shall be based on the amount in the regular account of the member in the fund as otherwise provided in this chapter, and the member shall not receive a variable annuity as provided in this section. [Formerly 237.197; 2001 c.945 §47; 2003 c.67 §3; 2003 c.625 §36; 2003 c.794 §218; 2005 c.808 §§2,3]

Note: Section 19, chapter 625, Oregon Laws 2003, provides:

Sec. 19. The amendments to ORS 238.260 (Variable Annuity Account) by section 3, chapter 67, Oregon Laws 2003, do not apply to any judge member who is a judge member of the system on June 30, 2003. A person who is a judge member of the system on June 30, 2003, may continue to make contributions to the Variable Annuity Account for services as a judge member performed on or after January 1, 2004. [2003 c.625 §19]

Notes of Decisions

Elimina­tion of ability to continue making purchases of variable annuity did not violate Contract Clause of United States Constitu­tion. Robertson v. Kulongoski, 359 F. Supp. 2d 1094 (D. Or. 2004)

Amend­ment terminating member ability to make further contribu­tions to variable annuity account is consistent with earlier legislative promise to reserve moneys contributed to variable annuity account for purpose of purchasing variable annuity. Strunk v. Public Employees Retire­ment Board, 338 Or 145, 108 P3d 1058 (2005)

When interest earned on Variable Annuity Account cannot pay for account’s pro rata share of administrative expenses of Public Employees Retire­ment System, difference must be paid by interest earned on Public Employees Retire­ment Fund and employer contribu­tions. Murray v. Public Employees Retire­ment Board, 235 Or App 262, 230 P3d 993 (2010), Sup Ct review denied

1 Legislative Counsel Committee, CHAPTER 238—Public Employees Retirement System, https://­www.­oregonlegislature.­gov/­bills_laws/­ors/­ors238.­html (2017) (last ac­cessed Mar. 30, 2018).
 
2 Legislative Counsel Committee, Annotations to the Oregon Revised Stat­utes, Cumulative Supplement - 2017, Chapter 238, https://­www.­oregonlegislature.­gov/­bills_laws/­ors/­ano238.­html (2017) (last ac­cessed Mar. 30, 2018).
 
3 OregonLaws.org assembles these lists by analyzing references between Sections. Each listed item refers back to the current Section in its own text. The result reveals relationships in the code that may not have otherwise been apparent.