Curtis Loftis on Public Pension Oversight

S.C. Treasurer Curtis Loftis has been a watchdog for the taxpaying citizens of South Carolina since he first took office in January 2011.

As a statutory member of the South Carolina Retirement System Investment Commission, Loftis has long criticized the high fees, low performance and lack of transparency associated with South Carolina’s public pension funds.

The high salaries and bonuses paid to top SCRSIC staffers and the rather cozy relationship some appear to have with risky hedge fund investors have all been targets of Loftis’ oversight.

Curtis Loftis Wins Battle for Public Fund Accountability

An agreement between S.C. Treasurer Curtis Loftis and the S.C. Retirement System Investment Commission (SCRSIC) is expected to be finalized tomorrow allowing four members of Loftis’ staff greater access to supporting investment documents of the state’s public pension fund.

Loftis has already signed the agreement and the SCRSIC board, on which Loftis serves, is expected to vote its approval tomorrow.

Since taking office nearly three years ago, Loftis sought to have members of his staff in the Treasurer’s Office get greater access to SCRSIC documents in order to help him (Loftis) conduct proper due diligence on investment decisions by the commission.

Curtis Loftis and SCRSIC Dysfunction

Early reporting on a recently released report by S.C. Inspector General Patrick Maley heralds no criminal wrongdoing at the S.C. Retirement System Investment Commission (SCRSIC) but acknowledges a dysfunctional relationship with S.C. Treasurer Curtis Loftis.

The report was generated three months after Loftis sent the Attorney General’s Office a 37 page complaint listing multiple potential misconduct “red flags” at the commission over a several year period.

While the report claims no criminal misconduct, it acknowledges a toxic relationship between Loftis, a statutory member of the commission, and remaining commission members.

Curtis Loftis, SCRSIC Supreme Showdown Fizzles

The anticipated showdown Tuesday between S.C. Treasurer Curtis Loftis and the S.C. Retirement System Investment Commission over transparency of investment details by the commission fizzled out Tuesday.

Loftis, a voting member of the commission, was holding out on signing a check for a $50 million investment, approved by the commission, until he received certain assurances in writing from commission attorneys.

As a result of Loftis’ initial refusal to issue the check and an impending default deadline for the investment, the remaining SCRSIC commissioners sued Loftis to force him to act.

Supreme Showdown Over State Pension Fund (Updated)

S.C. Treasurer Curtis Loftis and the S.C. Retirement System Investment Commission will have a showdown in court Tuesday April 16th over transparency of retirement funds.

The commission, of which Loftis is a voting member, is suing Loftis in his position as custodian of the trust fund. The S.C. Supreme Court has accepted original jurisdiction on the case and has agreed to expedite a decision.

The court is holding in abeyance a decision whether documents and exhibits associated with the case will be allowed under seal or whether they will be part of the public record of the case.

At issue is Loftis’ refusal to sign a $50 million check for an “alternative investment” of state pension funds managed by investment firm Warburg Pincus. Loftis said he would not sign the check until the attorney for the SCRSIC has officially notified him in writing that all fees and other charges associated with the proposed investment are those approved by vote of the commissioners.

Curtis Loftis Exposes Unreported Pension Fees

It became more obvious Monday why the S.C. Retirement System Investment Commission wants to silence S.C. Treasurer Curtis Loftis.

Just a few days after his fellow commissioners voted to censure him, Loftis issued a press release in which he detailed an additional approximately $114 million in unreported fees on the commission’s annual report and financial statements.

The unreported fees are associated with the approximately $3.3 billion “Fund of Hedge Funds” listed in the report, according to a March 4, 2013 letter Loftis sent to Suzanne M. Bernard, a principal in Hewitt EnnisKnupp, Inc., a consulting firm for institutional investors.

Treasurer Loftis Target of More Dirty Politics

S.C. Treasurer Curtis Loftis has once again been subjected to political attacks by the members of the S.C. Retirement System Investment Commission.

Loftis, one of seven commissioners, and the only constitutional officer on the commission, has taken his job of overseeing the policy and performance the retirement system fund too seriously for the six political appointees on the commission.

Two years ago, current commission chairman Reynolds Williams, a long-time member of the commission appointed by Sen. Hugh Leatherman, attempted to smear Loftis by alleging he and an acquaintance were involved in a ‘pay to play’ scheme with SCRSIC funds. Williams’ attempt included efforts to have Loftis removed from the commission by the S.C. General Assembly.

Curtis Loftis Criticizes Underperforming SC Pension Fund

South Carolina Treasurer Curtis Loftis again criticized the underperformance of the pension funds controlled by the S.C. Retirement System Investment Commission recently.

Speaking of the year end results for 2012, Loftis said, “It is unfortunate that the SC Investment Commission chooses not to tell the whole story about the state’s $27 billion pension fund. Our fund performs in the bottom third compared with our peers. That low performance is costing us big money. By being below average, South Carolina is leaving $175 million on the investment table.”

Since assuming the office of treasurer, Loftis has been a critic of the SCRSIC for poor performance, wasteful spending, lack of transparency and conflicts of interest.

Curtis Loftis Will Seek Re-Election as Treasurer

South Carolina Treasurer Curtis Loftis confirmed yesterday that he will seek re-election to his current office ending any speculation about his candidacy for governor in 2014.

This is important news for the citizens of South Carolina. Loftis brings openness, integrity and accountability to the job. He has been especially vigilant in attempting to end the secrecy and questionable practices of the S.C. Retirement System Investment Commission, of which he is a voting member.

Those efforts to reform the SCRSIC made Loftis the target of an attempted political smear campaign in late 2011 featuring “leaked documents” and bogus claims of a supposed kickback scheme by two investment firms with close connections to, then, retirement system CEO Robert Borden.

Public Pension Fund Commission Looks to Increase Budget

The South Carolina public pension fund commission is looking for a large increase in its operating budget in the upcoming fiscal year.

Officially named the South Carolina Retirement System Investment Commission, the agency is proposing an increase in operating budget from today’s $10 million to $14 million. That is a 39 percent increase.

The proposed increases come two years after the agency’s budget increased by 74 percent, from $5.8 million in FY 2011 to $10.1 million for FY 2012.

Maybe such increases wouldn’t be so bad, although an over 100 percent budget increase is hard to justify anytime, if the agency was performing well. But, the most notable achievement of the SCRSIC in the past year has been to become deeply involved in political gamesmanship.