NC Lawmaker Proposes Public Pension Trustee Board

April 19, 2007 ( - A North Carolina state lawmaker has proposed moving the authority for investing the state's $70 billion public pension fund from the state treasurer to a board of trustees.

State Representative Linda Coleman contended that the authority should not reside in one individual, according to a Charlotte Observer news report. “No single person ought to have that responsibility,” Coleman, a sponsor of the bill and a retired state employee, told the newspaper.

Under the legislation, a 14-member Board of Trustees would have final say over the pension assets. The board already exists in an advisory position, with the state treasurer as chair. Most members are appointed by the governor.

According to the newspaper, the proposal is intended as a check on the power of the treasurer, an elected office that now has sole authority over investments. State Treasurer Richard Moore and his predecessors have drawn criticism for raising campaign money from Wall Street firms they hire to manage the pension fund — an activity critics call a conflict of interest.

has said he thinks the current system works well, noting that the North Carolina fund is one of a handful of public pension funds in the country with enough money to meet expected obligations.

“We should have a public discussion about the pension fund’s performance and a thorough examination of other states’ systems and performance, and we should hear from the retirees who are the beneficiaries of the system,” his office said in a statement Wednesday.

An Observer analysis in February found that Moore has raised at least $736,000 for his campaigns from half of the outside companies managing the North Carolina pension fund.