At LAGERS, we know thousands of local government workers in Missouri are relying on us to provide them with financial security when they leave the workforce. Because of this, it is very important that we have the right people serving our members. A significant facet of funding your LAGERS benefit is the prudent investment of system funds. LAGERS has an eight-person investment team charged with properly diversifying our members’ portfolio. The leader of this team is LAGERS Chief Investment Officer, Brian Collett. Brian was hired 15 years ago as LAGERS’ first CIO. Here he shares his plan of action for the system’s portfolio when he began at LAGERS:
What’s the secret of LAGERS investment success?
“We’ve done so well because we have a process, and we stick to it through the good times and the bad times. We did not deviate from that process during the Great Recession. I like the analogy of when to get off a roller coaster. You don’t get off of it at the very top or at the very bottom. You get off the roller coaster after it has settled and you are in a stable place. And that’s when you should make your decision to move off that roller coaster or to stay on. This philosophy has served us very well, and I will carry that through for the rest of my time here at LAGERS.“
How did you decide to enter the investment arena?
I was working on my Ph.D. in Mathematics and wasn’t really enjoying myself. I then had a moment with my Mother-In-Law where I came to the conclusion that my Ph.D in Mathematics just wasn’t in the cards for me. In the conversation on what to do instead of mathematics, she saw all of these investment books and magazines on the coffee table, and she asked ‘why don’t you go into this? You spend all your free time reading about it.’ It was something I was interested in and was a hobby of mine, but I hadn’t thought of it as a career. That was the ‘Ah Hah!’ moment, and the next week I transferred from the Mathematics program to an MBA program and started down the investment route.”
What is your personal investing philosophy?
“I have always thought long term.I wasn’t studying individual stocks when my mother-in-law sparked the move; I was thinking about asset classes and mutual funds and their returns over a long term. So my philosophy is, “Be patient; choose very well; do your due diligence upfront; have a process that you are willing to commit to through good weather and bad weather.”
For more information about LAGERS investment strategy, check out our Investments Section on our website.