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, 2015, NHRS had more than 48,000 active members and 31,000 retirees and beneficiaries; it paid out more than $630 million in pension benefits and $53 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 $7 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 57 (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 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:
- Vision, Mission, and Values Statement: In short, the mission of NHRS is to be a trusted and effective fiduciary; provide excellent service to all members and participants; and, be a transparent and unbiased provider of information to all stakeholders.
- 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 2017 fiscal year, there are 10 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”): KPMs are a management tool for assuring that operating processes and procedures are performing as expected. There are a total of 95 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 and principles, which are the foundation of how we work together to serve our members:
- Integrity: The foundation for building trust – required for any successful organization.
- Doing What Makes Sense: Actively eliminating process and practice that does not contribute to our mission and goals.
- Standards/Results: Objectively measuring and managing everything we do to assure efficiency and effectiveness.
- Communication and Teamwork: Everyone has to be rowing in the same direction in order for us to achieve our Mission.
- Golden Rule: Doing the right thing is made easy if you remember to treat others – members, retirees, employers, other staff, and all interested parties – the way you would like to be treated.
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