Local Politics

Audit suggests improvements to N.C. pension fund

Posted April 20, 2010 5:43 p.m. EDT
Updated April 20, 2010 6:49 p.m. EDT

— North Carolina's public pension fund is sound, but there is room for improvement, according to an independent audit.

State Treasurer Janet Cowell wanted professional analysis, so she hired the firm of EnnisKnupp for $459,000 to look over the management and performance of the $67 billion pension fund, which supports more than 820,000 retired state workers and teachers.

The year-long review found that the state retirement system is "fundamentally sound," but it determined that areas like transparency, organization and ethics could be improved. Auditors recommended making more investment information available online, hiring an internal auditor and reducing potential conflict of interest with money managers.

Cowell said the report should ultimately benefit retirees who count on the fund.

"I think this gives us a blueprint of a standard to meet – some best practices. It really helps me to understand the system a lot better – set priorities, understand what's realistic," she said.

Cowell has already instituted some of the recommendations, including enacting a gift ban for employees and creating an investment advisory committee.