Tuesday, October 28, 2014

LASERS Finanical Reports Now Available

We are pleased to announce that the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) for LASERS fiscal year ending June 30, 2014, is now available on our website. 

LASERS investment return for the fiscal year was 18.8 percent, bringing the total asset value of the System to the highest in its history. 

The CAFR, along with the Summary Annual Report or Popular Annual Financial Report (PAFR) may be found here on our website

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

LASERS Actuarial Valuation Shows Nearly $1 Billion Increase in Assets

Over the past fiscal year, the Louisiana State Employees’ Retirement System (LASERS) actuarial value of assets increased from $9.7 billion to $10.6 billion. This positive information was part of the annual actuarial valuation report for the period ending June 30, 2014, adopted by the LASERS Board of Trustees at its September 26 meeting.

Other highlights from the valuation included: LASERS fiscal year 2014 investment return, which was in excess of 18 percent, a reduction in the employer contribution rate which is expected to save the State of Louisiana approximately $60 million in payments next year, and a decrease in the Normal Cost of the retirement benefit from 6.54 to 3.56 percent.

“The 2014 valuation reflects the implementation of major reforms which are good for LASERS and for Louisiana going forward,” said LASERS Executive Director Cindy Rougeou. “The change to a new cost method, Entry Age Normal; the reduction in the discount rate to 7.75 percent; and the implementation of Act 399 of 2014 which dedicates more investment returns toward the System debt, allows for greater budget stability, and improvement in the overall health and sustainability of the plan.”

LASERS Actuary Shelley Johnson noted in her presentation that LASERS retirees outnumber active members, 46,940 to 40,321. For the fifth consecutive year, the number of active state employees has decreased, resulting in a reduction of the amount of total payroll by $140 million.

The valuation reflected an increase in the Unfunded Accrued Liability (UAL) of the System as a result of the change to Entry Age Normal and the discount rate change, but there will be no change in total benefits to be paid. Rougeou said, “The UAL increase is offset by a corresponding decrease in current and future Normal Costs. LASERS Benefits Louisiana: implementing these important reforms in a time and manner that will not increase costs to the System or the taxpayers.”

To read the complete LASERS Annual Actuarial Valuation, refer to the Annual Reports page on the LASERS website.

Friday, August 22, 2014

New Retirement Study Reveals Good News for Louisiana Economy

A 2014 study by the National Institute on Retirement Security (NIRS), Measuring the Economic Impact of DB Pension Expenditures, reveals that benefits paid by state and local pension plans had a total impact of $6.1 billion on Louisiana's economy.

$3.0 billion in direct economic impacts were supported by retirees' initial expenditures, followed by an additional $1.9 billion in indirect impact resulting when these businesses purchased additional goods and services.

For more information about Louisiana, view the NIRS study.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

LASERS Investment Performance 18.8%

LASERS ended the June 30, 2014 fiscal year with an investment return of 18.8 percent. This stellar performance brings the total asset value of the System to $11 billion, the highest in the history of LASERS.

This fiscal year return places the System in the top ten among 90 other public retirement funds greater than $1 billion, according to Wilshire's Trust Universe Comparison Service (TUCS). TUCS is the most widely accepted benchmark for the performance of institutional assets and represents the largest database of any peer-comparison service in the industry.

"For the second year in a row, we have had double digit market returns," said LASERS Chief Investment Officer Bobby Beale, "and we attribute this to a well-diversified asset allocation across asset classes and geographies. Specifically this year, strong performance in the domestic and international equity markets had a definite impact on returns."

"Wilshire Associates, Inc. reported that, for the one-year period, public pensions with assets greater than $1 billion experienced a median return of 17.4 percent, so it is particularly exciting to share news of our 18.8 percent return with our members and the state as a whole," said LASERS Executive Director Cindy Rougeou. "We set the bar high because LASERS is working for Louisiana."

LASERS provides a defined benefit pension plan that covers approximately 150,000 members. LASERS pays over $1 billion in annual benefits to retirees and their beneficiaries, providing a strong and reliable economic stimulus for Louisiana.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Rougeou Named NASRA President

Cindy Rougeou, Executive Director of the Louisiana State Employees’ Retirement System (LASERS), has been named President of the Executive Committee by members of the National Association of State Retirement Administrators (NASRA).

NASRA is a non-profit association whose members are the directors of the nation’s state, territorial, and largest statewide public retirement systems. NASRA members oversee retirement systems that hold more than $2 trillion in assets and that provide pension and other benefits to more than two-thirds of all state and local government employees.

“I am honored to be chosen as President of NASRA, an association of critical importance to public pension systems around the nation,” said Rougeou. The association’s mission is to serve its members in managing sustainable public employee retirement systems through education, research, and collaboration. NASRA has been consistently committed to the five elements supporting sound retirement plan design: mandatory participation, shared financing, benefit adequacy, pooled investment and longevity risks, and lifetime benefits.

Rougeou assumes the new position having previously served as President Elect, first Vice President, and second Vice President of the Executive Committee. She was also NASRA’s Region 4 Vice President, which includes Louisiana, Arkansas, Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Colorado, New Mexico, and Kansas.

Rougeou joined LASERS in 2002 and has had an extensive career in public service.