Sunshine State CFO Calls for Pension Board Revamping

September 30, 2009 ( - Alex Sink, chief financial officer for the state of Florida and a Democratic candidate for governor, has called for significant reforms to the management structure of the State Board of Administration (SBA).

Sink contended that the size of the SBA’s $110-billion pension portfolio and the complexities of the modern financial markets require the updating of the agency’s operating practices, the Tallahassee Democrat reported.

According to the newspaper, Sink would modernize the SBA structure to include one or more financial experts and one or more participants or beneficiaries in the Florida Retirement System. Now, there is no requirement a board member has to have financial expertise or have a personal stake in the outcome of a board decision, she said.

Currently, the agency board consists of Sink, Attorney General Bill McCollum, and Governor Charlie Crist. The SBA manages the Sunshine State’s pension fund and numerous other pools of assets including local government pension funds.

“It’s not 1885 any longer,” Sink told the Democrat. “It’s the 21st century. I’m thinking about the future.”

Sink also called for:

  • fiduciary training for the three SBA members, along with all members of its audit committee, investment advisory council, and local-government advisory council; and
  • regular independent audits, to include both financial gains or losses and internal operations of the agency.

Republican McCollum, also a candidate for governor, argued that the SBA organization did not need to be fixed.

A staff report released earlier this month included the regular audits among its reform recommendations (see Report Suggests Fla. Pension Could Use More Governance ).