Public School Employee Pension Plan Continuing Risky Investments without Disclosing Fees to Taxpayers

Auditor General Eugene DePasquale today released the following statement about the Public School Employees’ Retirement System (PSERS) decision to invest another $1.6 billion in private equity funds without fully disclosing costs:

“It’s truly mind-boggling that the public school employees’ retirement system seems to have completely ignored warnings from just a month ago calling for full transparency and accounting for every cent it costs to manage retirement plans for teachers.

“I commend Treasurer Joe Torsella and Banking Secretary Robin Wiessmann for voting against giving private equity managers another $1.6 billion of taxpayer and member funds for shadowy investments without first disclosing how much the Wall Street managers will keep for themselves. These two board members are looking out for taxpayers and pensioners. The rest of the board should do the same.

“Instead of funding lavish lifestyles for Wall Street money managers, the focus should be on getting the best investment return for the lowest possible cost.

“I will continue to monitor this situation and look forward to seeing the full report of the asset investment review commission Gov. Wolf created last year.”

Last month, the Public Pension Management and Asset Investment Review Commission led by Rep.  Mike Tobash and Treasurer Joe Torsella heard expert testimony that PSERS and SERS pension plans for teachers, state police officers, corrections officers and other public employees paid $3.8 billion in hidden fees over 10 years, mostly to private equity fund managers.

The commission was established in 2017 to conduct a comprehensive review of PSERS and SERS investment management and is expected to issue a report later this year.