For Immediate Release: May 11, 2020
Contact: [email protected]
To NHRS members, beneficiaries, and employers:
When I first wrote to you last month regarding how the New Hampshire Retirement System (NHRS, retirement system) was responding to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, there was great uncertainty over what the coming weeks would bring from a public health standpoint, and the Board of Trustees and I felt it was important to provide assurances that the retirement system would be here for its members and retirees. Now, as the state begins to re-open and we slowly begin to move into a new phase, I wanted to provide an update on where NHRS stands.
Operations: Over the past several weeks, NHRS has successfully issued our monthly benefit payroll remotely and provided customer service with almost all of our dedicated staff working from home. The health and safety of our employees and membership is our first priority, and that is why we will continue to be closed to visitors for another several weeks. During this time, we will continue to address stakeholder inquiries and meet with members filing for retirement via telephone or videoconference. Once in-person service is restored, we will continue to offer remote meetings for stakeholders concerned about visiting our office.
Rest assured that during this transition, we remain committed to providing the high level of customer service and professionalism you have come to expect from us. Updates on the status of our operations will be posted on our website, www.nhrs.org.
Investments: Capital markets, while still volatile, have rebounded strongly from their low-water marks in March. This is not the first time NHRS has dealt with stresses in the markets, and it certainly will not be the last. It is important to remember that the retirement system pursues an investment strategy designed to achieve its long-term funding requirements. The portfolio is designed to take advantage of rising investment markets while also withstanding periodic market downturns. The goal is to meet or exceed the retirement system’s assumed rate of return over the long term, while at the same time managing the risk, return, and liquidity of the portfolio. The economic stresses resulting from the COVID-19 outbreak do not impact the ability of the NHRS to meet its benefit obligations to our retirees and beneficiaries.
Future considerations: The medical and scientific consensus is that as we slowly take steps to reduce social distancing protocols, the potential exists for COVID-19 to re-emerge. For that reason, we wish to proceed cautiously and should the infection rate begin to climb, we have established that we are well-positioned to react accordingly.
In conclusion, all of us at NHRS realize this remains an uncertain time for our members, retirees, and beneficiaries. We also understand that the monthly defined pension benefit is critically important to the financial well-being of our retirees and beneficiaries, the great majority of whom still live in New Hampshire. Regardless of what lies ahead, our mission, “To provide secure retirement benefits and superior service,” remains the same, as does our ability to fulfill our commitment to you.
Best Regards – and stay safe.
George P. Lagos
New Hampshire Retirement System