ND Pension Systems to be Audited Following Investment Director Suicide

April 26, 2010 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - North Dakota’s pension funds for state workers and public school teachers will be audited following the suicide of their former investment director.

The Associated Press reports state Investment Board chairman, Lt. Gov. Jack Dalrymple, said the audit is standard procedure when there is a change in the top management of the Retirement and Investment Office, which oversees a $4.9 billion portfolio of state pension and insurance funds. The review will “establish a baseline for the books for the next manager to come in,” Dalrymple said, according to the AP. “It will look back and be sure that everything is shipshape, as we believe it is, before we go forward.”   

Steve Cochrane, who was director and chief investment officer of the Retirement and Investment Office, shot himself to death at his home earlier this month. He had held the job for 13 years.   

Dalrymple said the board hopes to hire an interim successor to Cochrane within a month, and the search for a permanent replacement could take four to six months. Board members said they are deciding whether to hire two individuals to cover the administrative and investment responsibilities of Cochrane’s job.   

The Associated Press said the state’s pension funds lost more than 20% of their value in their last budget year, which ended June 30, and since then, have rebounded along with the stock market, although the recovery has not been strong enough to recoup previous setbacks.   

The Investment Board has 11 members, including representatives of the retirement funds of state workers and teachers and three elected officials: Dalrymple, Treasurer Kelly Schmidt, and Insurance Commissioner Adam Hamm.