LAGERS Executive Director Announces Retirement
Jefferson City, MO - May 19, 2017
Jefferson City, MO – Keith Hughes, Executive Director of the Missouri Local Government Employees Retirement System (LAGERS), has announced he will retire effective July 1, 2017.
An employee of the LAGERS system since 1987, Keith has undoubtedly left his mark on public pensions in Missouri. In an era of growing opposition to public defined benefit plans, Keith has helped set the tone reminding all of the mission our founders set forth 50 years ago: that LAGERS is here to serve those who serve others. In 2015, LAGERS was named Plan Sponsor of the Year, a true testament to Keith’s continued leadership. “Anything and everything you do, stay focused on the membership and you will always get the right results.” Keith said to PLANSPONSOR Magazine in 2015.
But perhaps one of Keith’s most lasting legacies will be that of the Local Plans Administration Bill that he saw passed into law in 2016 allowing LAGERS to take on the administration of other closed public pension plans across the state. Keith has called this initiative “LAGERS’ clarion call” as it provides a solution for many local governments in Missouri.
In addition to his leadership of LAGERS, Keith has volunteered for various pension related boards, serving as the President for the Missouri Association of Public Employee Retirement Systems (MAPERS) for 2 years and as Chairman of the Board of Pensions of the Church of God for 7 years. Keith has been a member of the Special Review Committee for the Certificate of Achievement in Financial Reporting (GFOA) for the past 30 years.
Keith has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, emphasis in Accounting and Management, from the University of Central Missouri. In addition, Keith attained the Certified Employee Benefit Specialist (CEBS) certificate from the Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania, in 1994.
As for this future plans, Keith will retire to his Black Angus cattle farm in South-Central Missouri and spend more time with his children and grandchildren.
Succeeding Keith as LAGERS’ Executive Director will be Bob Wilson. Bob has been with LAGERS since 1994 and is currently the Assistant Executive Director, Member Services.
LAGERS Celebrates 50 Years of Retirement Security
Jefferson City, MO - January 31, 2017
This year, the Missouri Local Government Employees Retirement System (LAGERS) will celebrate 50 years of providing retirement security to Missouri’s local government workers!
Missouri LAGERS was created in 1967 by the 74th Missouri General Assembly as the ultimate retirement solution for local government employers across the state. Prior to LAGERS’ creation, only the largest governmental employers in the state could legally establish a retirement plan for non-uniformed employees. Through a cooperative effort in the mid-1960s with the Missouri Municipal League, local government units from across the state decided to change the law and together create a system that could provide a retirement solution for all of Missouri’s local government workers. No matter how big or small the community, LAGERS' founding members believed that a strong retirement system is a tool for attracting and retaining the highest quality employees into Missouri’s local communities, and provides those public servants with a tool to reach a secure retirement.
Fifty years later, Missouri LAGERS still holds this belief: that every hardworking public servant should be able to retire with a little dignity and security and that LAGERS can be a great solution that benefits both public workers and the communities they serve.
Beginning with just ten chartering member employers, LAGERS membership growth has been remarkable and steady for five decades with approximately 15 new local government employers choosing to partner with the system every year. Today LAGERS is comprised of nearly 700 local government units with nearly $7 billion in assets and serves nearly 60,000 members, retirees, and beneficiaries.
Over the years, LAGERS has established itself as a nationally recognized pension system. In 2015, LAGERS was named Plan Sponsor of the Year, by PLANSPONSOR magazine. The system’s strong plan design and funding policies have positioned LAGERS well for the future. LAGERS boasts a 95% funded ratio along with strong long-term investment performance and robust participant services. LAGERS truly has broken the retirement system mold and continues to set the standard in pension administration across the county.
LAGERS is planning to celebrate its 50th birthday in several ways:
New Vision Statement
LAGERS Board of Trustees recently adopted a new vision statement: “A Secure Retirement for All.” Our vision is the very essence of why LAGERS staff gets up and goes to work each and every day. We strive in everything we do to ensure that our members can someday retire with dignity and security.
New Responsive Website
Coming in July 2017, LAGERS will be rolling out an all-new responsive website. The new website will feature enhanced user navigation; new, interactive content, and even more great ways to connect with your LAGERS system. LAGERS remains committed to ensuring that you have the best access to information you need about your benefits!
A History of LAGERS
Stay tuned on our social media channels throughout the year as we look back at a complete 50 year history of the LAGERS system. Beginning as a dream in 1967, LAGERS has grown into a nationally acclaimed pension system, setting the gold standard for pension administration across the county.
LAGERS Annual Meeting
Don’t forget to join us at our annual meeting as we return to the site of our very first LAGERS Annual Meeting at Lake of the Ozarks.
LAGERS' Megan Loehner named one of the Top 30 Women Rising Stars in Institutional Investing by to Trusted Insight magazine.
Jefferson City, MO - October 18, 2016 The Missouri Local Government Employees Retirement System (LAGERS) Director of Investments Megan Loehner was named one of the Top 30 Women Rising Stars in Institutional Investing by to Trusted Insight magazine.
At LAGERS, Megan's job entails focusing on all aspects of portfolio management. She is a graduate of University of Missouri, where she received a B.S. and a master’s degree in accounting. Loehner is a Certified Public Accountant, a Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst and holds the Chartered Financial Analyst designation.
An excerpt of the interview with Trusted Insight:
"Many people don’t understand the math on what they would actually receive over a lifetime compared to
what they contribute to their pension. It’s not that the systems don’t relay these important messages, sometimes the small negatives or the overbearing bold print on the front of the newspaper overshadows the large positives within the fine print, and sometimes there’s a disconnect in the desire to understand."
For more information or to read the article, go to
LAGERS Pension Funding Hits close to 95%
Local Government Employees’ Retirement System on Firm Financial Footing
Jefferson City, MO - September 20, 2016 The Missouri Local Government Employees Retirement System (LAGERS), the pension fund that covers almost 60,000 Missouri local government employees and retirees, is 94.7% pre-funded according to the system’s actuary. This is up from 94.4% a year ago.
“This is wonderful news and a shining example of how LAGERS is getting it right for our members, employers, taxpayers, and the communities we serve.” said Keith Hughes, the Executive Director of the $6 billion LAGERS fund.
The pre-funded rate represents a pension plan’s assets versus liabilities, or, how much money a plan has on hand today to pay the benefits promised for tomorrow. Though LAGERS strives to be 100% funded, an 80% funded rate is normally considered the benchmark for a well-funded plan and the average funded rate for US public plans is 73%, according to the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College. A 95% funded rate is roughly equivalent to having pre-funded 95% of your home mortgage.
The LAGERS investment portfolio, which has a return of 7.57% for the last 5-year period ending June 30, 2016, is a major reason for the increase in the funding level.
An increase in the funded rate is good news for the 686 local government employers that participate in the LAGERS system, and ultimately, taxpayers across Missouri because it means LAGERS is in a better position to meet all of its obligations now and into the future.
Governor Nixon Appoints Citizen Trustee to LAGERS Board
Jefferson City, MO – April 15, 2016 Governor Jay Nixon has appointed Claire (West) Scoville as the citizen trustee of the board of trustees for the Missouri Local Government Employees Retirement System (LAGERS).
Ms. Scoville brings extensive public pension and policy experience to LAGERS board. Before retiring in 2011, Scoville operated her own consulting firm where she represented public pension systems, political subdivisions and other clients before the Missouri Legislature. Prior to this, Scoville worked for the Joint Committee on Public Employee Retirement from 1984 – 2006 and began serving as Executive Director in 1993. Her primary duties were to provide analysis and recommendations to the Legislature and to Missouri’s public retirement plans concerning the long-term fiscal and actuarial impact of state legislation and local ordinances.
In addition, Scoville has served on many public pension related boards including the Jackson County Employees Pension Plan, Jefferson City Firefighters Retirement Fund, City of St. Louis Pension Task Force, State Retirement Advisory Commission, and the Missouri Association of Public Employee Retirement Systems. She also previously served as the citizen trustee on the LAGERS board from 2001-2004. She received the Public Pension Lifetime Achievement Award from the Missouri Association of Public Employee Retirement Systems in 2007.
Ms. Scoville’s term begins immediately and will end December 31, 2020. She replaces John R. Franklin, whose term expired. The LAGERS board of trustees is made up of three elected member trustees, three elected employer trustees and one appointed citizen trustee.
Missouri LAGERS Pension System Wins National Award for Plan Administration
Jefferson City, MO – April 1, 2015 The Missouri Local Government Employees Retirement System (LAGERS) has been awarded the 2015 Plan Sponsor of the Year by PLANSPONSOR Magazine for the public defined benefit category. According to an article in the March issue of PLANSPONSOR magazine, the system was chosen for this award because of its strong one-, three- and five-year investment returns of 19.0%, 12.2% and 15.0% respectively, their innovative participant services, strong plan design features, leadership in public policy, and an overall focus on the membership.
“Anything and everything you do, stay focused on the membership, and you will always get the right results,” Keith Hughes, LAGERS Executive Director, said.
LAGERS is a $6.3 billion system that covers close to 60,000 current and former local government employees from 668 cities, counties, fire protection districts, libraries and other government agencies within the state of Missouri. Joining LAGERS is voluntary and the system adds about 15 new employers each year.
The magazine specifically noted LAGERS’ “Reframing the Debate” campaign that aims to show the value of the public sector workers that serve their communities. LAGERS found that 94% of their members continue living in the community they served after they retire. The retirement benefits they are receiving are then reinvested in the local economy. LAGERS Economic Impact Report, which is distributed to the state’s legislators, shows that $216 million was paid to the system’s retirees living in Missouri in 2014. Showing those kind of numbers to senators and representatives demonstrates that “there are two sides of that financial equation,” Hughes said.
PLANSPONSOR magazine is the nation’s leading source of information and solutions for retirement benefits administrators. According to the magazine’s web site, each year the editors recognize U.S. retirement plans that “show a commitment to their participants’ financial health and retirement success, and are leaders in their respective categories.”
LAGERS is the fourth Missouri public retirement system to be named the Plan Sponsor of the Year in past seven years. The Missouri State Employees Retirement System (MOSERS) received this honor in 2008, the Public School & Education Employee Retirement Systems (PSRS/PEERS) of Missouri in 2011, and the State of Missouri Deferred Compensation Plan was selected in 2013.
Legislation Filed to Allow Governments to Assign Pension Administration to LAGERS
Jefferson City, MO - January 21, 2016 - Senate Bill #639, sponsored by Senator Jeanie Riddle, R-Callaway County and House Bill 1443, sponsored by Representative Mike Leara, R-St. Louis, would give local governments the opportunity to voluntarily transfer the administration of their frozen pension plan to the state wide Local Government Employees Retirement System (LAGERS).
The local government must already have some employees covered under LAGERS in order to pursue this option and final action could not be taken by the local employer without approval from the local pension board and the current plan members.
“We are a prime example of a system that would benefit from this,” said Norm Robinson, Jefferson City Fire pension board’s vice chairman. “The active firefighters are already in LAGERS, as are all the other city employees in Jeff City.”
Similar legislation received wide support from law makers during the 2014 and 2015 legislative sessions but failed to reach the finish line for enactment.
“We currently have 50 retirees, 10 surviving spouses,” Robinson said. “We have expenses for actuarial services, auditing services, liability insurance — costs that would be mitigated by going into LAGERS.”
LAGERS Director, Keith Hughes, says there is no mandate for local governments to choose LAGERS for their pension administration.
“This simply gives the local employer another option for pension administration, allowing them to focus on serving their communities,” he said.
Senator Mike Kehoe, R-Jefferson City, who sponsored the 2015 bill, called the proposal “common sense. It’s optional to (retirement) systems, and it just gives them some flexibility.”
LAGERS is the third largest public pension plan in Missouri and the largest for local government employees. The system currently serves around 60,000 current and former local government workers and beneficiaries.
Pension Fund Pays $230 Million Annually to Missouri Retirees
Retiree Spending stimulates and stabilizes Missouri Economy
Jefferson City, MO - July 1, 2015 - The Missouri Local Government Employees Retirement System (LAGERS) paid over $230 million in pension benefits to former members living in Missouri in 2015 (July 1 - June 30), up from $216 million in 2014.
LAGERS retirees receive a protected monthly benefit based on their years on the job and salary earned during their career in public service. Because LAGERS provides this predictable monthly income, benefits paid from the pension fund help stimulate and stabilize the local economies where retirees live.
“Missouri retirees don’t put their pension checks in a drawer and forget about them,” said said Diane Oakley, Executive Director of the National Institute on Retirement Security. “They use it for daily living expenses and to pay taxes. The money goes right back into the economy, which means financial stability for the retiree and economic impact for Missouri.”
LAGERS has 17,729 former police officers, fire fighters, EMTs, and other local government administrative personnel living in Missouri. The average annual benefit these retirees receive is $11,392.
“Missouri communities deserve the best service from its public entities. Employers providing LAGERS benefits are better able to attract and retain quality employees, which, in turn, reflects upon the service provided to the citizens.” Said LAGERS Assistant Executive Director, Bob Wilson. "Ninety-four percent of LAGERS members retire and remain living in the same place, so their retirement checks are being spent in their hometowns."
LAGERS was created by the Missouri legislature in 1967 and is only available to local government employers such as cities, counties, fire protection districts, and libraries. Although local governments in Missouri are not required to participate in LAGERS, the fund covers almost 60,000 members and retirees from 668 employers.
“Employers and employees are looking for security,” said Wilson. “Members appreciate the steady income in retirement and employers appreciate the efficiency of our system. LAGERS is truly getting it right for Missouri’s communities. ”
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