NH Retirement System Board Under Investigation

September 19, 2005 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - The New Hampshire Retirement System is now being investigated by the criminal justice bureau at the State Attorney General's office.

According to the New Hampshire Union Leader, senior assistant attorney general and chief of the criminal justice bureau, Simon Brown, said the office received a request to investigate the operations of the system’s board in August.   He said, “one facet of our probe is to determine whether any criminal laws were broken or implicated.”

There has been controversy surrounding the board since it determined in July that chairman Edward Theobald violated its code of ethics by not reporting an investment offer he received.

In January, Hermes Technologies LLC, in which the board was considering investing $10 million, offered Theobald a seat on its board and 2% of the company for $500,000, according to the Union Leader.   Theobald did not report the offer to the board until May.   Theobald also violated board policy when he made a charity solicitation on state stationery to retirement system vendors (See  NewsDash – August 5 Financial Sense ).

The board recommended that Theobald not be nominated to another term on the board.   The governor has not reappointed Theobald, but is facing opposition to his choice for a replacement.

The board oversees $4.7 billion in assets to fund the pensions for around 50,000 public employees.

The New Hampshire system is just another in a long line of public pension funds that are reporting trouble (See  Feature: Their Own Worst Enemy ).