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story.lead_photo.caption In this photo provided by the New York Stock Exchange, a board above the trading floor, Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020, shows an intraday number for the Dow Jones Industrial Average. (Colin Ziemer/New York Stock Exchange via AP)

Document: Joint Committee on Public Employee Retirement's 2020 Third-Quarter Report

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Economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic slowed in July, August and September compared to the three months before, but most of the largest statewide public retirement funds in Missouri had still regained more than they lost in the spring's economic crash.

The Legislature's Joint Committee on Public Retirement discussed third-quarter results last week, and data shared by Executive Director Michael Ruff showed an average quarterly growth of more than 4 percent for each of the state's six largest statewide public retirement funds: County Employees Retirement Fund (CERF, which had growth approaching 5 percent); Local Government Employees Retirement System (LAGERS, which had growth of 2.4 percent); Missouri State Employees Retirement System (MOSERS); MoDOT & Highway Patrol Employees' Retirement System (MPERS); Public Education Employees' Retirement System (PEERS); and Public School Retirement System (PSRS).

PSRS is the single largest public retirement system in the state, worth more than $42 billion at the end of the third quarter, out of a combined value of more than $78 billion between all public retirement funds listed — which include municipal funds from across the state for cities' and other district's police officers, firefighters, transportation workers, librarians and other public workers.

PSRS alone lost more than $4.15 billion in value in the spring, with other large statewide funds each having lost tens or hundreds of millions of dollars. Many of the largest statewide funds had lost 9-10 percent of their value.

Most of the largest statewide funds regained at least 7-8 percent of their value in the second quarter, and the lesser but continued gains from the third quarter meant CERF, MOSERS, PEERS and PSRS had all actually come out ahead of the value they started the year with, before the pandemic.

PSRS was more than $458 million ahead at the end of the third quarter (or 1.1 percent); PEERS, more than $118 million ahead (2.3 percent); MOSERS, more than $110 million ahead (1.3 percent); CERF, more than $12 million ahead (2.1 percent).

First quarter data was not immediately available for LAGERS, but that fund gained more than $195 million between the second and third quarters.

MPERS had still not completely recovered, down more than $47 million at the end of the third quarter compared to the start of the year — a loss of more than 1.8 percent.

Ruff cautioned the committee that there's still "much uncertainty" due to the pandemic.

Local, state and national governments all over the country and the world are reimposing some measure of lockdown as coronavirus cases surge, threatening to overwhelm health care systems.

More information from the Missouri Legislature's public retirement committee is available at jcper.org/quarterly-meetings.

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