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Amid PSERS troubles, Pa. lawmakers may be ready for pension reform

Joseph N. DiStefano, The Philadelphia Inquirer on

Published in Business News

The biggest change

Two other proposals are still in the works: A fiduciary training bill would require pension trustees and some other state-appointed investment overseers to submit to professional education classes.

And Ryan says there’s no schedule yet for the most controversial change in the pension plans’ century-long history — merging the investment arms of SERS and PSERS into one office, under a board of paid financial professionals. That would be in stark contrast to the current mix of political and interest-group trustees, who serve unpaid.

PSERS staff in particular have resisted a merger, suggesting a new investment agency could boost costs instead of reducing them.

But a properly designed, expert office, Ryan and other advocates say, would insulate decisions from interest-group politics and costly investing fads.

 

Are the agency bosses ready for change?

SERS’ top jobs are open: Chief investment officer Seth A. Kelly resigned last month after less than a year in the job, for a post in his native Missouri. Executive Director Terrill J. Sanchez had planned to retire July 1, but has agreed to stay on as caretaker for now.

Their PSERS counterparts, chief investment officer Grossman and executive director Grell, survived that June call from their firing by six trustees. They seem determined to stay on the job, while the investigations grind on.

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