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The executive director of the Public School and Education Employee Retirement Systems of Missouri is starting his own retirement Dec. 1, with his successor coming from inside the organization.

Executive Director Steve Yoakum's retirement was announced in August, and his successor at PSRS/PEERS — Dearld Snider, assistant executive director of operations — was named last week.

Yoakum told the News Tribune there was a national search for his successor and there were internal and external candidates, but Snider's experience and commitment to the organization carried him through.

Yoakum has been executive director for 22 years and spent 43 years in the pension industry.

Snider has been with PSRS/PEERS since 2006 and served as director of member services before being named to his current position.

Snider began his career with more than three years of service with the Missouri Consolidated Health Care Plan, then in 1999 joined the Missouri State Employees' Retirement System and became an active member in the National Pension Education Association, for which he was on the board of directors for six years, according to a news release from PSRS/PEERS.

"I look forward to working to ensure we continue to provide the highest level of service for all our stakeholders and retirement security for our members," he said.

Under Yoakum's tenure, the systems' invested assets grew from $8 billion to $45.6 billion, and he said this week both were in good financial condition, funded at about 85 percent.

The PSRS and PEERS funds together lost more than $4.6 billion in value during the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic's effects on financial markets earlier this year but rebounded some in the second quarter, according to figures from the state legislative Joint Committee on Public Retirement.

Third-quarter data will be discussed next month.

Yoakum said the market remains fluid, and PSRS/PEERS is monitoring the pandemic and post-presidential election political gridlock's effects, though he said markets are responding in relatively positive ways to the latter.

In the meantime, the retirement funds' Jefferson City offices continue to operate remotely. Yoakum said the offices went almost 100 percent remote in March; they tried coming back to 50 percent in June but have since moved back to fully remote.

He said there's temporary occupancy in the building's new addition, which is almost finished, but it will be about another year before remodeling to the existing building is completely finished. The work is on time and under budget, he noted.

As for him, Yoakum said he will be completely retired: "I'm going to go to Florida after Christmas" to take a few months off, and he'd like to learn if he can sleep in.

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