State Pension Funds Urge Swift Action on Accounting Scandals

July 1, 2002 ( - A trade group representing administrators of state pension funds has urged federal lawmakers to immediately turn their attention to legislation to protect investors when they return to Washington after the July 4 recess.

In the letter from The National Association of State Retirement Administrators (NASRA), president Gary Findlay urged representatives and senators not to lose sight of the drive for reforms in light of debacles at Enron, WorldCom and other companies. Findlay is also executive director of the Missouri State Employees’ Retirement System.

“The recent and unprecedented string of corporate scandals and revelations of accounting fraud have strongly underscored the need for instilling transparency in corporate affairs and restoring the credibility of our financial marketplace,” Findlay wrote.

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“We understand the Senate is scheduled to take up related legislation following the Independence Day recess and we urge you to try to keep these much-needed protections from being weakened as they move through the legislative process.”

NASRA said its members hold $1.5 trillion invested on behalf of roughly 10 million participants, retirees, and beneficiaries.

Also in the Findlay letter, while admitting that a number of NASRA members had suffered significant Enron and WorldCom losses, (See WorldCom Bombshell Hits Pension Stock, Bond Investments ) he contended that the amounts represented a fraction of one percent of the fund’s values – leaving those plans “financially secure.”