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story.lead_photo.caption The Missouri Legislature's Join Committee on Public Employee Retirement issues an annual list of retirement systems in need of improvements. The cover (partial screen capture above) refers to the report as a watch list.

The Missouri Legislature's Joint Committee on Public Employee Retirement presented its annual list of retirement systems in need of improvements Monday.

Michael Ruff, the committee's executive director, told legislative members of the committee that 22 plans made the watchlist this year, including the County Employees Retire Fund, Columbia's firefighter and police retirement plans, Sedalia's firefighter plan, the state's Judicial Retirement Plan, the Missouri State Employees' Retirement System, and the Missouri Department of Transportation and Highway Patrol's retirement system.

Public retirement plans on the watchlist all have funded ratios of less than 70 percent, based on the market value of assets — meaning the plans' current assets cover 70 percent or less of liabilities.

Liabilities are expenses the plans expect to have to pay out in the future — benefits to public employees.

The committee has been preparing the list in one form or another since at least 1987, going in the past by "monitoring list" or a "concerned" public employee retirement systems list.

Ruff said after the committee meeting that what being on the list means is the committee has reached out to the plans and alerted them to needs for improvement — not cause for immediate alarm by employees or retirees in the systems.

Watchlists from 2013-18 are available at jcper.org/annual-watch-list. Many of the plans named to 2019's list have been on the list before.

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