Rhode Island Wins Award For Pension Investment Strategy

PROVIDENCE, RI – The Employees’ Retirement System of Rhode Island was named the Small Public Plan of the Year for its innovations and achievement in managing its $7.7 billion pension investment portfolio by Institutional Investor magazine.

“The top priority of the State Investment Commission is retirement security,” said General Treasurer Gina M. Raimondo, the chair of the State Investment Commission. “Knowing we need to pay pension checks every month, building a properly diversified portfolio is vital to reduce the overall risk and achieve strong, long-term returns. I am proud of the work that the dedicated investment commission members and Treasury did to earn this recognition.”

While the majority of the pension portfolio remains in low-cost index funds, the SIC is continuing its strategy of strengthening the portfolio and reducing risk through diversification. As of May 2013, the one-year return for the pension fund was 16.52 percent and the three year return is 10.64 percent, after all fees are paid.

Treasury’s recently updated pension investment web page includes details on asset allocation strategies and investment expenses, as well as SIC reports.

“Given the important role alternative investments play in the pension portfolio to reduce risk and generate strong performance for our members, we must continue to push for transparency to build public trust,” Raimondo continued. “Fee structures should be lowered and evolve to better balance risk and reward.”

The updated Investments and Finance online section is the latest of several steps Treasury has made to increase disclosure and accountability since coming into office. Some prior improvements include:
*    Building, launching and maintaining the state’s first investor relations portal, a one-stop online clearinghouse for much of the state’s pertinent financial information.

*    Enhancing and expanding the pension disclosure section of the state’s bond offering documents to provide the most accurate information.

*    Instituting a code of conduct and pledge for investment advisors to further enforce existing SEC and MSRB rules regarding campaign contributions.         

Nominees for Institutional Investor magazine’s 11th Annual Hedge Fund Industry Awards were selected by the editorial and reporting staff of Institutional Investor magazine, and voted on by other pension funds, endowments, foundations and institutional investors. 

ERSRI beat out small public pension plans (less than $15 billion in assets) from Delaware, New Mexico and San Bernardino County, California. The West Virginia Investment Management Board won last year. The New York City Pension System won in the large public pension fund category (more than $15 billion in assets). Other nominations in this category were plans from Massachusetts, New Jersey and Texas.

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