Commission to consider reforms to NC pension fund structure

Posted by David Bracken on January 16, 2014 

Janet Cowell

State Treasurer Janet Cowell announced Thursday the creation of an independent, bipartisan commission to review the state’s governance structure for investment management.

The commission, which is expected to makes its recommendations to Cowell and the General Assembly by April 30, will look the state’s current sole investment trustee structure and whether it should be replaced with an investment advisory committee model.

North Carolina is currently one of just four states with a sole fiduciary – the state treasurer – who makes all investment decisions in consultation with staff.

The commission will also look at fiduciary independence issues, including state laws that apply to personnel, and consider possible enhancements to external oversight, reporting and monitoring.

The commission is to be chaired by Michael Kennedy, chair of the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board, the largest pension in the U.S. It includes four current legislators: Rep. Rick Glazier, a Democrat from Cumberland County, Sen. Ralph Hise, a Republican from Mitchell County, Sen. Floyd McKissick a Democrat from Durham, and Rep. Nelson Dollar, a Republican from Cary.

Other members include Linda Combs, a former U.S. controller; Charles Perusse, chief operating officer for the University of North Carolina and a member of the Teacher and State Employees’ Retirement System; and Neal Triplett, president and CEO of Duke University’s endowment and pension fund.

The state pension fund, which provides retirement benefits for teachers and state employees, has about $83 billion in assets. That money is managed by 25 in-house investment professionals as well as more than 100 investment managers.

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