FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 3, 2014
Treasurer Cowell Urges House to Pass Pension Investment
RALEIGH, N.C. –
State Treasurer Janet Cowell today called on the North Carolina House of
Representatives to pass legislation expanding investment oversight and
transparency for the $87 billion pension fund for teachers and state and local
employees. The Retirement Investment Accountability measure (House Bill 1209)
was introduced by Rep. Nelson Dollar (R-Wake), Rep. Jeff Collins (R-Nash), Rep.
Stephen Ross (R-Alamance) and Rep. Rick Glazier (D-Cumberland). The bill was unanimously recommended by the
Investment Fiduciary Governance Commission, an independent, bipartisan
commission Cowell appointed in January.
“We can better protect and grow the pension fund for the
benefit of current and future retirees while also increasing accountability and
transparency,” Cowell said. “House Bill 1209 strikes the right balance and
protects the integrity and quality of our nationally recognized pension and
investment systems and puts into law many of the reforms enacted during my
House Bill 1209 would:
- Enhance the State’s existing audit by requiring financial
statements, audited by a commercial independent third-party firm for the
Retirement Systems investment program. This audit will result in an independent
public report reviewing valuations, compliance, policies, performance and costs
specific to the investment operation, including comparisons to benchmarks and
peer pension operations.
- Require that the Treasurer engage an independent
performance review of the State’s investment practices every four years,
matching Department of State Treasurer practice since 2009.
- Expand and modernize reporting for each Retirement
Systems external investment to the General Assembly and public. Parts of this
bill go further in reporting requirements than almost any other state.
- Clarify public records laws pertaining to the investment
program. The bill places a sunset on the confidentiality of investment
contracts, while making all information in them available to the General
Assembly and the State Auditor at any time, even if that information is not
public record. This important provision
will provide transparency and accountability for active contracts while
maintaining the integrity of proprietary and confidential private-sector
- Provide additional resource flexibility, including
greater ability to determine the size of the State’s investment staff
consistent with the Treasurer’s fiduciary duties to the trust funds.
The North Carolina Retirement Systems, the formal name
for the pension fund, is the eleventh largest public pension fund in the
country. It provides retirement benefits and savings for more than 875,000
North Carolinians, including teachers, state employees, firefighters, police
officers and other public workers. For more information, visit