For Immediate Release: April 7, 2020
A Letter to Our Members and Retirees
In 2013, Dr. Dick Gustafson, who at the time had been a retirement system Trustee since 2011, was selected by the Governor to serve as Board Chair. It was a time of enormous uncertainty for NHRS and all public defined pension plans. Following on the heels of the Great Recession, NHRS had experienced significant losses to its investment portfolio, increased unfunded liabilities, and unprecedented legislative changes, including a restructuring of the Board of Trustees.
Over the past seven years, Dr. Gustafson has led the Board in overseeing the operation of one of the state’s largest financial institutions, with over $9 billion in assets, 465 participating public employers, and 100,000 members, retirees, and beneficiaries, consisting of public employees, teachers, firefighters, and police officers who are employed by the state or local governments.
Having completed his latest term on the Board last summer, he has recently stepped down after continuing for several months in holdover status, pending identification of a successor.
The system’s thirteen Trustees are responsible for the management and administration of the pension system, under the leadership of the Chair. The Board’s responsibilities include setting an investment policy, providing oversight of operations, adopting actuarial assumptions, and establishing employer contribution rates required to support the payment of more than $800 million in pension and medical subsidy benefits annually.
Together with his personal attributes, Dr. Gustafson’s higher education background, experience in working with large organizations, and service on various boards has been a significant factor in the progress made by NHRS during his tenure.
Recognized by all as a professional with unquestionable integrity, Dr. Gustafson has a deep appreciation and understanding of fiduciary duty – the standard to which all Trustees are held. His goal in all matters has always been to do the right things for the right reasons.
As Chair, he exhibited the ability to prioritize and focus on the major challenges facing the retirement system and effectively utilized the Board’s various committees to vet issues and develop recommendations, assuring that Board discussions were efficient and productive.
Dr. Gustafson was an invaluable contributor to the Legislature’s Decennial Commission which convened in 2017 to review and evaluate all aspects of the retirement system. The Commission’s deliberations and recommendations resulted in several important legislative proposals which addressed important administrative issues and further strengthened the system.
On behalf of NHRS management and the Board of Trustees, we collectively express our appreciation and gratitude to Dr. Gustafson for his leadership, dedication, and commitment to the retirement system’s mission to provide secure retirement benefits and superior service.
Acting Board Chair