Monday, December 23, 2013

It Appears the North Carolina State Treasurer is in Violation of G.S. 147-68

The North Carolina State Treasurer is required by law (G.S. 147-68) to make quarterly reports to the State Legislature.  These quarterly reports have always been posted to the Treasurer's website (click here and see the bottom of the page).  However, no reports have been posted since December of last year (2012).  It appears the Treasurer is fully three quarters behind in complying with the law, and will soon be a full year behind in her quarterly reports.

 These "Government Investment Operations Reports" (commonly referred to as the "Gov Ops Reports") are the only place investment expenses are ever reported for the North Carolina Retirement System (NCRS) pension fund.  Most notably, these reports include the amounts paid to external investment managers.  

These expenses are not even reported in the so-called "Annual Report" of the Treasurer - which is completely ridiculous.  If expenses are not reported in a Treasurer's Annual Report, why have the report at all?  There are plenty of happy pictures of the Treasurer and staff in the Annual Report, but not a single page that I would consider a "financial statement."  In the most recent Annual Report (18-month old data as of 6/30/2012), a single page (p. 100) contains one simple summary table which is the only list of expenses to be found in the entire report.  No details what so ever, just one summary table.  And, this lone table of expenses does not even include a comparison to last year's expenses.

MOST IMPORTANT, the one table of expenditures buried on page 100 of the Annual Report DOES NOT include ALL of the Treasurer's or NCRS departmental expenses.
 We know from the Gov Ops Report that the Treasurer paid more than $317 million last year to external investment managers in the form of fees.  This dwarfs the so-called "Total Expenditures" of $210 million listed in the table on page 100 of the Annual Report.  

The most recent annual Gov Ops Report also lists $36 million of "Other Cost."  Who knows what that is?  However, these "Other Costs" have risen more than 1100% in just three years (from just $3 million in 2009).  So, it might be interesting to know what these "Other Costs" are.  

The Treasurer has taken a lot of heat recently for the explosion of expenses and fees paid to Wall Street.  Thus, it is likely not an "accident" that the only report that holds these data are mysteriously late in their publication.

While the Treasurer's investment performance has been dismal, the least she could do is make timely reports.


  1. Note: SB558 passed in 2013 and states:
    The quarterly report provided by the Treasurer
    25 pursuant to G.S. 147-68(d1) shall include a specific listing of all direct and
    26 indirect placement fees, asset fees, performance fees, and any other money
    27 management fees incurred by the State in the management of subdivisions
    28 (6c) and (7), sub-subdivision b. of subdivision (8), and subdivisions (9) and
    29 (9a) of this subsection.

  2. Update: three missing quarterly "Gov Ops Reports" magically appeared on the NC Treasurer website a few hours after the State Employee's Association of North Carolina (SEANC) announced they had hired Benchmark Financial Services to investigate the North Carolina Retirement System pension fund.