April Board of Trustees Meeting Summary

April 15 Board of Trustees regular meeting

The Public School and Education Employee Retirement Systems of Missouri (PSRS/PEERS) Board of Trustees convened on April 14 and 15, 2024. In attendance were Board members Dr. Jason Steliga, Beth Knes, Dr. Eric Park, Allie Gassmann, Katie Webb and Chuck Bryant. Also present were Executive Director Dearld Snider, Chief Operating Officer Sarah Swoboda, Chief Investment Officer Craig Husting, Chief Counsel Mike Moorefield, Chief Financial Officer Anita Brand, Deputy Chief Financial Officer Tory Brondel, Director of Human Resources Kim Harris, Director of Member Services Nicole Hamler, Director of Employer Services Stacie Verslues, Director of Internal Audit Jeff Hyman, Director of Communications Susan Wood, Chief Technology Officer Lisa Scheulen, Chief Information Security Officer Joe Susai, Director of Executive and Board Administration Jennifer Martin and various other PSRS/PEERS staff members.

Budget and Audit Committee - Sunday, April 14, 2024

Approval of Minutes

The open session minutes from the December 11, 2023, Budget and Audit Committee meeting were approved by unanimous vote.

Preliminary 2024-2025 Budget Discussion

Ms. Anita Brand and Ms. Sarah Swoboda from PSRS/PEERS led a compensation and budget discussion in preparation for the upcoming fiscal year. Ms. Swoboda reviewed the Board of Trustees' compensation strategy by highlighting the purpose, principles and overall approach of the strategy. As part of the Board of Trustees' compensation strategy, an independent compensation study is conducted every three years to ensure the Systems maintain external competitiveness. Due to the current labor market and competition to recruit and retain Information Technology (IT) employees, the Systems performed a compensation study for IT staff off cycle. Ms. Swoboda provided an overview of the results and a discussion on current labor market trends for all System employees. Ms. Swoboda reviewed guidance on compensation adjustments received from the Systems' compensation consultant.

Ms. Brand described the annual budgeting process, which begins in the second quarter of each calendar year. The budget includes two broad categories: investment expenses and administrative expenses, inclusive of capital assets.

The annual budget is prepared with consideration of the necessary expenses to ensure the Systems continue to meet their goals and objectives in an efficient and effective manner.

Final detailed budget requests will be presented to the Budget and Audit Committee and the Board of Trustees during the June 2024 meeting.

Public Comment




Mr. Craig Husting and Mr. John Tuck from PSRS/PEERS and Mr. Michael Hall from Russell held a roundtable to discuss the broad topic of 'benchmarking.' The discussion covered the multiple investment benchmarks used at PSRS/PEERS and the universe of benchmarks used by institutional investors. Additionally, the panel focused on the PSRS/PEERS benchmarking philosophy. The panel took several questions from the Board.

Public Comment


Regular Board Meeting - Monday, April 15, 2024

System Operations

Approval of Minutes

The open session minutes from the February 5, 2024 Board meeting were approved by unanimous vote.

Order of Business

The order of business was approved with no changes.

Approval of Certification of Election Results

Ms. Jennifer Martin from PSRS/PEERS shared the trustee election results. This was an uncontested election with Ms. Katie Webb and Dr. Nate Moore winning the open PSRS positions. Both Mrs. Webb and Dr. Moore's terms are effective July 1, 2024, and they are eligible to serve for four years. The Board approved the certified election results by unanimous vote. Chairman Steliga congratulated Mrs. Webb and Dr. Moore, who was seated in the audience. 

Election of Chair and Vice Chair

Dr. Jason Steliga was elected to serve as chair of the Board and Ms. Beth Knes as vice chair of the Board for the period of July 1, 2024 through June 30, 2025. Both were elected by unanimous vote.

Set Interest Credit Rate for June 30, 2025

Each June 30, interest is credited to the accounts of active members at the rate set by the Board of Trustees. If a member requests a refund of their contributions, any accumulated interest is paid as part of this refund. If a member retires from the Systems, the amount of interest credited to the member's account will not affect the retirement benefit calculation. In the event that there is an unused balance in the member's account at the death of the member and any Joint-and-Survivor benefit plan beneficiary, the remainder is paid in a lump sum to the residual beneficiary. Ms. Brand presented information on the current interest rate environment and historical interest rates. Staff recommended the interest rate credited to the accounts of active members remain at 4% for fiscal year 2024-2025. This rate will be used throughout the fiscal year to facilitate necessary member account corrections and will be used to credit active member accounts on June 30, 2025. The Board of Trustees approved staff's recommendation by unanimous vote.

Set Purchase Interest Rate for Fiscal Year 2025

Ms. Brand presented information to the Board of Trustees on the purchase interest rate. According to Board Regulation (16 CSR 10-4.012 (4)), prior to July 1 each year, the Board of Trustees shall establish a "purchase rate" of interest based on the actuarially assumed rate of return on invested funds of the Retirement Systems. The purchase interest rate shall apply to any amount due for reinstatement of service or for the purchase of service, except as otherwise specified by law. Staff recommended the purchase interest rate be set at the current assumed rate of return of 7.3%. The Board of Trustees approved staff's recommendation by unanimous vote.


PSRS/PEERS Executive Director Dearld Snider presented a plaque to Director of Human Resources Kim Harris for her dedication, service and retirement from PSRS/PEERS. Ms. Harris will retire effective July 1, 2024.

Investment Report

Ongoing Investment Activity

Mr. Craig Husting from PSRS/PEERS and Mr. Michael Hall from Russell provided a market overview including detailed investment returns for several stock and bond indices for the most recent five-year period and fiscal year through March 31, 2024. Mr. Husting provided a broad overview of the PSRS/PEERS' portfolio structure, including an estimated asset allocation for PSRS/PEERS as of March 31, 2024. Mr. Husting stated that the PSRS/PEERS preliminary (unaudited) investment return for the fiscal year (July 1, 2023 through March 31, 2024) was approximately 8.7%.

Private Equity and Private Credit

Mr. John Tuck, Mr. Dan Case, Mr. Ben Frede and Mr. Connor Quinn from the PSRS/PEERS investment staff reviewed the Systems' Private Equity and Private Credit portfolios including program objectives, guidelines and long-term results. The five-year annualized return for the Private Equity composite for the period ended December 31, 2023 was 16.8% and the five-year annualized return for the Private Credit composite for the same period was 9.3%. Staff also discussed the Private Equity co-investment program and the Private Credit direct investment program.

Management Report

Actuarial Services – Actuary Contract

Ms. Brand discussed the actuarial services provided to the Systems by our retained actuary PwC US (PwC). She provided an overview of the current actuarial contract and history of firms used. PwC's initial contract was renewed through prior negotiations through the fiscal year 2023 engagements. Ms. Brand discussed the current market for actuarial firms working with public defined benefit plans and statutory requirements applicable to the retention of the actuary by the Board of Trustees. She reminded the Board that changing actuaries is not in and of itself a negative practice but should not be rotated at frequent intervals due to the substantial learning curve. As discussed in February 2024, staff negotiated new contract terms with PwC. The new terms extend the contract for five years with a marginal increase from the prior contract. The Systems retain the ability to terminate the contract if the Board desires to in the future. Staff recommended the Board renew PwC's contract for an additional five years based on the new terms. The Board of Trustees approved staff's recommendation by unanimous vote.

Actuarial Services – Actuary Audit

Ms. Christina Bisges of PSRS/PEERS discussed the upcoming actuarial audit. The Systems are required by statute to conduct an actuarial audit of the retained actuary no less than every 10 years. Due to the long-term nature of the actuary relationship and to ensure best practices, the Board of Trustees conducts the audit every five years. Ms. Bisges provided an overview of the Systems' recently issued Request For Proposals (RFP) for actuarial audit services. The RFP requires an audit of the June 30, 2023 actuarial valuations and 2021 experience studies. An internal evaluation committee reviewed all responses and conducted virtual interviews of three finalists. Staff recommended the Board hire Milliman to provide the actuarial audit services as outlined in the RFP. The Board of Trustees approved staff's recommendation by unanimous vote.

Legislative Update

Mr. Mike Moorefield from PSRS/PEERS and government relations consultant Mr. Doug Nelson presented the April legislative update.

Mr. Moorefield and Mr. Nelson gave the Board an overview of the legislative issues and priorities that they expect the General Assembly to address during the remaining five weeks of the legislative session. Additionally, Mr. Moorefield and Mr. Nelson discussed investment mandate legislation that could impact the Systems' investment operations and provided an analysis of movement of the four pieces of Chapter 169 working after retirement and benefit multiplier legislation that would amend the Systems' statutes.

As of April 12, 2024, more than 2,500 legislative bills and resolutions have been filed by the 2024 General Assembly. PSRS/PEERS is tracking 115 bills.

Key Accomplishments

Ms. Sarah Swoboda reviewed key accomplishments since the February Board Meeting.

Ms. Swoboda informed the Board about the Web Member Services (WMS) Visual Refresh. The refresh allows WMS to visually align with the public website, creating a more seamless visual transition between the website and WMS. Ms. Swoboda next reported that Observe.AI was implemented in January 2024 and is currently being used in both member services and employer services. Some of the key benefits of Observe.AI are call transcriptions; call playbacks; AI-powered sentiment analysis which captures tone, voice inflections, emotions and pitch in phone calls; custom moment analysis; highlighted moments; search functionality and manual evaluations and coaching. Ms. Swoboda next mentioned the working after retirement wizard which is the latest tool available for employers on the Employer Web Portal. With this tool employers can more easily determine the correct track for reporting retirees working for covered employers. 

Ms. Swoboda next discussed the hiring of Joe Susai as PSRS/PEERS' first chief information security officer (CISO) and of Tory Brondel as deputy chief financial officer. She also reported to the Board that PSRS/PEERS had 100% staff participation in the March in-service, Making and Keeping a Respectful Workplace. In April, PSRS/PEERS partnered again with Strategos International to provide a second round of armed intruder training to staff. 

Lastly, Ms. Swoboda covered the completion of another successful Board election. Ms. Katie Webb and Dr. Nathan Moore were both selected to serve four-year terms beginning July 1, 2024 through June 30, 2028.

CPI-U Update

Mr. Dearld Snider reviewed the COLA policy that was set by the Board of Trustees at their November 3, 2017 meeting. According to the policy, COLAs may be granted based on the CPI-U as follows:

PSRS/PEERS Board Approved Funding Policy
CPI-UCOLA per Board-Approved Funding Policy
Less than 0.0%0.0%
0.0%-2.0%0.0% when CPI-U is cumulatively below 2.0%
0.0%-2.0%2.0% when CPI-U cumulatively reaches 2.0% or more*
2.0%-5.0%2.0% when the CPI-U is at least 2.0%, but less than 5.0%
5.0% or more5.0%
*resets cumulative calculation after a COLA is provided

Mr. Snider explained that the Consumer Price Index for Urban Consumers (CPI-U) is calculated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The CPI-U is the measure of the change in prices of goods and services purchased by urban consumers between any two time periods. PSRS/PEERS' regulation requires that the time period for the CPI-U calculation used in the determination of a COLA be from June to June. Based on the values provided by the BLS, the CPI-U is up 2.3674% through March 31, 2024.

Raw CPI-U Index Values
 Index Values
June 2023305.109MonthTo-Date
July 2023305.6910.00190.1908%
August 2023307.0260.00440.6283%
September 2023307.7890.00250.8784%
October 2023307.671-0.00040.8397%
November 2023307.051-0.00200.6365%
December 2023306.746-0.0010.5365%
January 2024308.4170.00541.0842%
February 2024310.3260.00621.7099%
March 2024312.3320.00652.3674%
April 2024   
May 2024   
June 2024   

Public Comment

Mr. Dearld Snider thanked Sgt. Stephen Dappen not only for his service to PSRS/PEERS but also for his service to the entire community of Jefferson City and congratulated him on his retirement from the Jefferson City Police Department. He thanked Sgt. Dappen for attending our Board meetings over the last seven years to ensure everyone's safety. 



Closed Session

The Board went into closed session at 11:32 a.m.


The Board adjourned at 1:31 p.m.

This summary is not official minutes of the PSRS/PEERS Board of Trustees meeting. The official minutes will be approved at the next PSRS/PEERS Board of Trustees meeting and will be posted to our website at that time.