The New Hampshire Retirement System was created in 1967 as a contributory defined benefit plan. The plan provides lifetime pension benefits, disability benefits, and pre- and post-retirement death benefits for public employees, teachers, police officers and firefighters.
For the fiscal year ending June 30, 2019, NHRS had just over 48,000 active members and more than 38,000 retirees and beneficiaries; it paid out more than $780 million in pension benefits and nearly $50 million in Medical Subsidy payments.
Under RSA 100-A, NHRS has a fiduciary obligation to act for the exclusive benefit of its members and beneficiaries. To carry out that obligation, its operations are governed by a 13-member Board of Trustees. The investment of the trust fund’s more than $9.2 billion in assets is the responsibility of an Independent Investment Committee, which consist of five members. Day-to-day retirement system operations are delegated by the Board to the Executive Director and administered by a staff of approximately 65 (See executive-level organizational chart).
Pursuant to Board Policy, NHRS adopts a rolling three-year strategic plan on an annual basis. The plan is developed during the third and fourth fiscal quarters and typically adopted at the April or May meeting of the Board of Trustees. As a part of that process, both the Board and the staff engages in a Preserve/Achieve/Avoid exercise to identify areas requiring action or attention. The strategic plan focuses on key priorities to be achieved over the next 12 to 36 months. However, it is only one component of the comprehensive management process in place to assure that NHRS meets its obligations to its members and beneficiaries.
The building blocks which comprise the management process are as follows:
- Mission, Vision, and Values: In FY 2017 NHRS adopted a new, simplified Mission Statement: To provide secure retirement benefits and superior service. Click on the link above to see the full document.
- Goals and Objectives: There are eight high-level goals designed to accomplish the Mission, including items addressing compliance, efficiency, customer service, outreach, and investments. Each goal has multiple objectives attached to it, identifying the actions to be taken to achieve these goals and objectives.
- Strategic Plan Priorities: The strategic plan is a rolling three-year plan focused on specific objectives which are seen as most critical over the near-term horizon. For the 2021 fiscal year, there are eight specific priorities we are pursuing.
- Action Plans: Action Plans are an implementation tool. Each senior manager develops five to 10 action plans focused on achieving key objectives within their span of responsibility. The plans include milestones and targeted completion dates, and are reviewed monthly and reported to the Board in order to monitor and manage progress. The executive-level Action Plan captures those items identified in the Strategic Plan Priorities, and although it is repetitive of the Strategic Plan, it is included as an example for reference purposes.
- Key Performance Measures: KPMs are a management tool for assuring that operating processes and procedures are performing as expected. There are a total of 96 metrics which are measured monthly and reported to the Board by each senior manager.
At the staff level, meetings are held on a quarterly basis to update all employees on major issues, initiatives, and progress toward achieving Action Plans. Operationally, our management is committed to a culture of communication and teamwork. We ascribe to the following values, which are the foundation of how we work together to serve our members:
- Security – Providing promised benefits and guarding the confidentiality of personal information.
- Excellence – Striving to exceed expectations through innovation, accountability, and teamwork.
- Respect – By recognizing the uniqueness and importance of our stakeholders, our co-workers, and ourselves, we foster collaboration and cooperation.
- Value – Committing to be a trusted and effective fiduciary by always acting in the best interest of our membership.
- Integrity – Acting in an ethical, honest, and professional manner in all our interactions.
- Communication – Providing responsive, accurate, and timely information to our stakeholders.
- Empathy – Being aware of the feelings of others and how our actions affect them enables us to be responsive to the needs of all we encounter.
NHRS has a very important role in the economic well-being of New Hampshire’s public employees, teachers, police officers, and firefighters. All of us at NHRS have a strong appreciation of that responsibility and we are committed to the professional management and administration of the pension trust and the retirement benefits for all of our members, retirees, and beneficiaries.
George P. Lagos