ST. LOUIS — Fifteen investment workers for Missouri's main state retirement system will share $370,000 in bonuses in June.
The bonus payments for employees of the Missouri State Employees' Retirement System is for exceeding market standards over a five-year period. The largest bonus was $125,155 for Rick Dahl, the chief investment officer. Fourteen other workers split about $243,000.
More bonuses for operations staff at the retirement fund have not been calculated but will be paid in June.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Friday that the payments were originally to be paid in February but are slated to go out in June to avoid public scrutiny as lawmakers seek to trim hundreds of millions of dollars from the state budget.
The pension system's board of directors voted in January to discontinue bonuses next year for everyone but Dahl and Executive Director Gary Findlay, whose contracts set bonuses.
The decision to stop bonus payments was made after a public outcry in 2009 that came when the Post-Dispatch reported that investment staff at the retirement system received $300,000 in bonus payments despite losing nearly $1.8 billion from investments in 2008. The retirement fund's operation staff received $160,000 in bonuses in 2009.
Findlay said the retirement system has outperformed those from other states. He said that investment incomes exceeding minimum standards have translated to an extra $385 million in earnings over the five-year period. In 2009, the pension system had a return of 18.5 percent, or $1.1 billion in earnings.
The Missouri State Employees' Retirement System covers about 55,000 state workers and 30,000 retirees. The pensions are funded from investment income and taxpayer money. The state in the budget starting July 1 will chip in an extra $17 million to offset investment losses from 2008.
Findlay initially refused to provide details on the investment staff bonuses and contended that they were not a public record until checks were issued. The information was released after he was contacted by an attorney for the Post-Dispatch.