(January 22, 2010) — Missouri’s main government pension system will cease providing its staffers with bonuses, sparking concern as to whether the public fund’s top-tier managers will seek higher-paying opportunities elsewhere.
According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, even as the system’s portfolio lost $1.8 billion in 2008, the system’s 72 employees received about $460,000 in bonuses and incentive pay performance, based on how well the plan’s investments did over five years, compared to similar portfolios. Chief Investment Officer Rick Dahl received $114,000, the largest payment and a figure equal to half his salary.
Gary Findlay, executive director of the Missouri State Employees Retirement System (MOSERS), initially defended the payments when controversy about bonuses arose last year, but recently he changed his side on the issue. This week, he said that even though he believes incentives are an important tool to improve performance and retain talented staff, anything that can be termed a bonus is ‘poison’ and hurts the image of the retirement system, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
The MOSERS board of directors voted 8-1 in favor of ditching bonuses and automatic cost-of-living raises.
MOSERS administers retirement, life insurance, and long-term disability benefits, covering about 55,000 state employees and 30,000 retirees. Pensions are funded solely from investment income and taxpayer money.
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