By Paul Gable
S.C. Treasurer Curtis Loftis made an appearance at yesterday’s taping of the “Big Talk” television show.
In the area to address several Republican groups, Loftis agreed to be a special guest on “Big Talk” where he spoke of his conservative approach to government and duties as state treasurer.
Loftis said government should be simple, open and accountable to the citizens, but it is often the bureaucracies surrounding government that make it anything but.
The treasurer mentioned three issues he has been most passionate about since he entered office in January 2011 – Palmetto Payback, 529 accounts for college and his work on the S.C. Retirement System Investment Commission.
Palmetto Payback is the program where the state holds unclaimed funds that belong to citizens who are unaware of their existence. Loftis has traveled throughout the state to build awareness of the unclaimed funds and help citizens claim money that is rightfully theirs.
“There is no greater feeling than sitting down and meeting a person and being able to write them a check for money they didn’t know about,” Loftis said.
The 529 student accounts are tax deferred savings accounts, much like a 401k, that allows parents to save for their children’s future educational needs.
Bringing transparency and efficiency to the workings of the SCRSIC has been a three-year effort that still has a long way to go, according to Loftis. He said he is unfazed by the criticism that the good ole boy network surrounding the SCRSIC has dumped on him because it is the right thing to do.
One of the most important parts of Loftis’ job as state treasurer is protecting the revenue of the state. In this capacity, Loftis recently signed an improved agreement with the Bank of New York Mellon, which acts as the custodian of state funds.
The full Loftis interview can be viewed on WWMB CW21, Sunday evening January 26, 2014 at 5 p.m.
The following is a press release outlining the new agreement:
For Immediate Release
January 7, 2014
COLUMBIA, SC—The South Carolina State Treasurer’s Office has signed an updated custody agreement with Bank of New York Mellon. Bank of New York Mellon has been the custodial agent for over 30 years, and the custody agreement with the Bank was last renewed in 2007. Bank of New York Mellon will continue to serve as the state’s custody bank, with more than $40 billion of the State’s assets affected by the agreement.
With assistance from the State Procurement Office, the State Treasurer’s Office issued a request for proposal from custodial banks, and an advisory panel consisting of employees of the State Treasurer’s Office, the Retirement System Investment Commission, and the Public Employee Benefit Authority reviewed the bids. In May, 2012, following a thorough review and numerous meetings with banks submitting proposals, the advisory panel and the State Treasurer Office’s pension consultant recommended that the State Treasurer’s Office negotiate a custody agreement with Bank of New York Mellon.
“We took personalities and politics out of the decision-making process as we looked for a custody agreement for more than $40 billion dollars of the state’s assets. I am pleased that we have signed an improved agreement with Bank of New York Mellon,” said State Treasurer Curtis Loftis.
Loftis continued, “The improved agreement, achieved by a competitive process, has additional fee and training concessions, enhanced security, more transparency, accountability, and oversight for the funds of the State.“
Bank of New York Mellon is the largest custody bank in the world with $27.7 trillion in assets under custody and administration. Some of the improvements to the agreement include:
- To increase transparency, fees will be invoiced and paid directly from the applicable Funds.
- State Funds and Trust Funds will get a larger share of securities lending revenue
- The Bank accepts more responsibility for reporting and accounting for assets not currently in-bank
- Additional confidentiality provision
- Comprehensive menu of ancillary services are made available to the Trust Funds
- New custody contract supports the global and diverse nature of the Trust Funds
- Increased staff training, valued at $150,000 a year
For more information, including memos, a background information sheet and to view the contract, visithttp://www.treasurer.sc.gov/rsic