By Paul Gable
It appears the SC General Assembly is finally realizing major work must be done to save the SC public retirement system.
This realization comes in the aftermath of a SC Legislative Audit Council report on the SC Retirement System Investment Commission (SCRSIC).
“The LAC’s report reveals that our retirement and pension system’s longevity is in jeopardy and in need of immediate effective adjustments,” said SC House Speaker Jay Lucas.
What is bothersome is Lucas’ next quote attempting to take credit for discovering the deficiencies within the system: “Without the initiation of this report, we might not know the truly delicate state of South Carolina’s pension system. Although its findings reveal significant flaws and deficiencies, it gives the General Assembly a starting point to offer assistance to the RSIC by helping them institute corrective measures that will put South Carolina’s pension plan on a path to solvency,” Lucas said.
The LAC report called the retirement system “significantly underfunded” and that “it under-reported risk” of its investments. It called for improvement in controlling conflicts of interest and pointed out the high fees paid and the low rate of return earned on its investments.
These are exactly the same criticisms SC Treasurer Curtis Loftis has leveled at the SCRSIC since taking office in 2011.
For attempting to take on the deficiencies of the pension system alone through the last five years, Loftis has been subjected to numerous attacks on his character.
Now, maybe, the SC General Assembly will wake up and do what should have been done at least five years ago.
Below is a statement from Loftis on the LAC report and links to the report:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Patrick Montgomery
(803) 734-2620 office
December 21, 2015
Treasurer Loftis Statement on Retirement System Report
(Columbia, SC) – South Carolina Treasurer Curtis Loftis issued the following statement in response to the Legislative Audit Council’s (LAC) report of the South Carolina Retirement System.
“I want to thank the LAC for the excellent report and House Speaker Jay Lucas for requesting it. I know from experience the hard work it takes to peel back layers of our retirement system and find the truth,” said South Carolina State Treasurer, Curtis M. Loftis, Jr. “The LAC report validates my calls for significant reform of the state’s faltering pension system. The LAC report illustrates the system does not make enough money, pays too much in fees and has a skyrocketing pension debt of $21.5 billion.”
“My quest for pension reform has been a lonely one. Four years ago I foresaw our system’s current crisis and began stepping out and speaking to the issue. Since then, I have been publicly censored by the Investment Commission, hauled before Senate Committees, dragged before the Supreme Court and have fought several attempts by the Senate to have me removed from the very system I was protecting,” said Treasurer Loftis.
Nationally, Treasurer Loftis has been working hard to raise returns by lowering fees, properly stating risk and implementing meaningful transparency and accountability. National Media such as the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg Business and Reuters have all featured Curtis Loftis and his fight for accountability and transparency in public pension plans.
Links to the Legislative Audit Council report: