Springfield, MO

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Homan balances work from merger changes, city service

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Ken Homan has a lot on his plate, even by his own normally busy standards.

The senior vice president and senior portfolio manager for Central Trust & Investment Co. was the featured guest Tuesday morning at Springfield Business Journal's 12 People You Need to Know event at The Tower Club overlooking downtown Springfield.

Homan worked for Springfield Trust Co. before its merger in late 2009 with Central Trust. The 30-year industry veteran now works for a company that manages a combined $3.6 billion in assets; he personally manages $350 million, with oversight of an additional $300 million.

The merger, he said, has been a smooth transition.

"We're basically the same type of culture at both companies, so it has blended well," Homan said, noting that both companies believe that asset allocation is the most important aspect of successful investing.

He said it has been difficult to get clients to feel comfortable again in the investing world, especially after an unprecedented two bear markets in the last decade - a situation not seen since the Depression-era 1930s.

"We need to come out of this (down market) in a hurry to convince people that equities are still a sound investment," Homan said, noting that a typical portfolio of 60 percent equities and 40 percent bonds brought 39 percent returns in 2009.

Also on Homan's plate is his work as chairman of the board overseeing the city's troubled Police-Fire Pension Fund. He has served on the board since 2006.

The fund, which is currently underfunded by about $200 million, was put in a hole by a combination of overly timid investments during the robust stock market days of the 80s and 90s and ill-advised increases to Police and Fire employee benefits.  

Homan said the fund is headed in the right direction following the November passage of a 3/4-cent dedicated sales tax; he said that had that tax failed, the city would likely have faced court-ordered payments to the fund and the potential for bankruptcy.

"Why would any industry – or any individual – want to move into a community that is in that financial situation?" he said.[[In-content Ad]]


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