Texas Fund Puts off Investment Staff Incentive Payments

February 18, 2009 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - The Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) Board of Trustees has decided to postpone investment staff incentive payments until the fund has a year of positive returns.

A TRS news release said the board also accepted Chief Investment Officer Britt Harris’ offer to forego an estimated $167,835 in performance incentive pay to which he would been entitled based upon the fund’s 2008 performance. Harris told the board he was making the offer because TRS lost 27% of its market value during 2008.

“We are all suffering during this virtually unprecedented period,” said Harris, in the news release. “The value of people’s investments has decreased, and many are out of work or concerned about their jobs. As chief investment officer of the fund, it seems to me that I should also feel the effects of this difficult time – just like many of our members.”

Under the agency’s current performance incentive pay plan, all payments that would have been made for 2008 performance had already been delayed until 2010 because of fund losses, according to the news release.

“We place great value on the skills, expertise and performance of our staff, and we appreciate how they have helped us avoid bigger losses during the current economic downturn,” explained TRS Board Chairman Linus Wright. “However, the board agreed with Harris that deferring performance payments at this time was the responsible thing to do.”

TRS delivers retirement and related benefits authorized by the Texas Legislature and manages a nearly $81-billion trust fund established to finance member benefits. More than 1.2 million public education and higher education employees and retirees participate in the system.