Wednesday, October 10, 2007

MOSERS celebrates 50th anniversary

The retirement fund for public employees in Missouri began in 1957 with $100 thousand dollars in assets. Today, the MOSERS trust fund is worth $8.1 billion.

And the changes don't stop there.

Much has changed over the years for the pension system. Technological advances, increased retirement options and the growing involvement of American corporations in international financial markets have changed the way MOSERS does business. But the system’s executive director said the system has adapted to continue providing state employees with steady retirement benefits.

“Certainly from an administrative standpoint, we have had monumental growth in information technology,” executive Director Gary Findlay said. “The tools that are available to us to administer the plan hadn’t even been thought of in 1957 when we came into business.”

In fiscal year 2007, for instance, the system responded to 8,322 member e-mail messages within 24 hours. In 1957, IBM had just introduced FORTRAN, a computer language based on algebra, grammar and syntax rules that would become one of the most widely used computer languages for technical work.

MOSERS also has become an example of a “terror-free” investment fund. State Treasurer Sarah Steelman, an ex-officio member of the MOSERS board of trustees, urged the system to screen its investments for companies that have financial relationships with governments on the U.S. Department of State’s list of terrorist-sponsoring nations. That the system even had to consider such a policy proves how much the world - and MOSERS - has changed since 1957.



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