Post Tagged with: "Curtis Loftis"

Attorney General’s Opinion Agrees With Treasurer Curtis Loftis

January 31, 2017 8:58 AM
Attorney General’s Opinion Agrees With Treasurer Curtis Loftis

Says State Pension Fund Accounting Methods Illegal and Unconstitutional

The following is a press release from Treasurer Curtis Loftis:

Columbia, SC – State Treasurer Curtis Loftis has been saying for years the accounting system used to calculate the state pension system’s unfunded liability is reckless, unsound and deceives the public.

For years, his concerns have been ignored. Now the Attorney General’s Office has weighed in with an official opinion, requested by Loftis, concluding that the accounting system is both illegal and unconstitutional. The 13 page opinion is attached.

Signed by Solicitor General Bob Cook of the S.C. Attorney General’s Office, the opinion says the “open amortization” method used by the S.C. Public Benefits Authority violates constitutional requirements for the retirement system to operate on a “sound actuarial basis.”

Loftis says the unfunded liabilities built up by the State pension fund are now in the range of $24-40 billion dollars.

“It’s impossible to give a more precise estimate,” Loftis said, “because the funds have been so grossly mismanaged.”

Loftis urged the S.C. General Assembly to compel the Public Employee Benefit Authority to comply with state law immediately.

“I hope this independent legal opinion provided by our Attorney General’s Office will show once for all that our pension fund management system is a sham and a major scandal that threatens to bury our State in debt,” Loftis said.

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South Carolina’s Public Pension Problems

January 17, 2017 5:02 AM
South Carolina’s Public Pension Problems

Six years after SC Treasurer Curtis Loftis began complaining about the poor performance of public pension investments under the SC Retirement Systems Investment Commission, legislators in Columbia have finally heard the message.

Fixing a seriously underfunded pension system has become a priority for this legislative year, The problem is you don’t fix an approximately $25 billion shortfall overnight.

When Loftis assumed the office of SC Treasurer, he became a statutory member of the investment commission. As a statutory member of the South Carolina Retirement System Investment Commission, Loftis criticized the high fees, low performance and lack of transparency associated with South Carolina’s public pension funds.

Almost immediately, the ‘good ole boy’ system in Columbia struck back. Loftis was subjected to allegations in 2011 that he and Mallory Factor were partners in what was called a “pay to play” scheme involving state retirement funds.

Despite the best efforts of members of the SC Retirement System Investment Commission, Gov. Nikki Haley, then state senator Greg Ryberg and others, Loftis was cleared of all allegations by SLED and the SC Attorney General’s office.

A couple of years later, Loftis was censured by the same SCRSIC he serves on for “false, deceitful and misleading rhetoric.”

At the time, Loftis said the commission members didn’t like him looking under rocks and asking questions about investments made by commission staff.

Things changed last spring when the CEO of the investment commission, Michael Hitchcock, told members of a Senate committee that the returns of the state pension fund have “underperformed” in recent years. He said the approximately $16 billion shortfall in the pension fund accounts has been aggravated in recent years by the gap between the assumed rate of return set by lawmakers (7.5%) and the actual rate of return (1.6%).

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S.C. Treasurer Loftis to Appeal Ethics Fine

October 28, 2016 7:00 AM
Curtis M. Loftis Jr., South Carolina’s treasurer, has pushed to learn more about private equity fees. Credit Dale W. Ferrell for The New York Times

Earlier this week, S.C. Treasurer Curtis Loftis was fined $500 and reprimanded by the S.C. Ethics Commission for a supposed violation of state ethics law.

The ethics commission found Loftis made an “inadvertent” and “unintentional” violation when he hired attorney Michael Montgomery to assist in a lawsuit the treasurer brought against Bank of New York Mellon related to the bank’s fees and handling of investments associated with the S.C. Retirement System Investment Commission.

Montgomery and Loftis both sit on the Board of Trustees of the Saluda Charitable Trust, a connection the ethics commissioners said created the conflict.

Loftis said he will appeal the decision and fine.

In response to the ethics commission decision, Loftis stated, “While I am gratified that the commission acknowledged this alleged violation was inadvertent and unintentional, I will appeal this decision and the $500 administrative fee. This was a subjective and unprecedented ruling – and I fear that letting it stand would impose burdens upon the selfless service of thousands of people across the state that devote their time to nonprofit boards and organizations.

“This action was filed by cronies of the SC Investment Commission, the same Commission that lost $7 billion of the public’s money through their disastrous investment decisions. I blew the whistle on their unbelievably poor performance and this is just one part of their retribution. South Carolinians know the sorry state of their government and they have twice elected me to fight for them in Columbia. This decision will not keep me from my duties to the people… I work for them and not the handful of rich and powerful elites that run our state.”

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Curtis Loftis Speaks Out

May 30, 2016 5:06 AM
Curtis M. Loftis Jr., South Carolina’s treasurer, has pushed to learn more about private equity fees. Credit Dale W. Ferrell for The New York Times

Below is a post by SC Treasurer Curtis Loftis. In it, Loftis describes the oligarchy that is South Carolina state government.

This oligarchy has been the tradition in South Carolina since there has been a state government. This one-party government, controlled behind the scenes by a few rich donors, causes all of the problems that we face in the state today.

South Carolina is now a Republican state. For over a century, it was a Democratic state. However, the party labels mean nothing – the politics in the state have never changed.

In most instances, those that are Republicans today come from families where the fathers and mothers were Democrats 50 years ago.

Party affiliation means nothing when it comes to philosophy of governing. It’s all about getting elected and staying elected. Nothing else matters to most of our politicians.

And to do that, these same politicians must line up and swear blood oaths to the ruling powers behind the scenes.

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By Curtis Loftis

I ran for office and was elected on the sole purpose of reform.

I’ve found, after 6 years of battling the system, that there is no “infrastructure” for change. The levers of power are managed by and tilted in favor of a status quo that is controlled by a handful of people.

To move an issue that results in meaningful change is almost impossible unless there is a calamity of some sort such as a natural disaster or mass shooting.

The system is rigged in favor of a small number of powerful people and their rich cronies that control our government.

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Fixing the SC Public Retirement System

December 22, 2015 5:27 AM
Curtis M. Loftis Jr., South Carolina’s treasurer, has pushed to learn more about private equity fees. Credit Dale W. Ferrell for The New York Times

It appears the SC General Assembly is finally realizing major work must be done to save the SC public retirement system.

This realization comes in the aftermath of a SC Legislative Audit Council report on the SC Retirement System Investment Commission (SCRSIC). “The LAC’s report reveals that our retirement and pension system’s longevity is in jeopardy and in need of immediate effective adjustments,” said SC House Speaker Jay Lucas.

What is bothersome is Lucas’ next quote attempting to take credit for discovering the deficiencies within the system: “Without the initiation of this report, we might not know the truly delicate state of South Carolina’s pension system. Although its findings reveal significant flaws and deficiencies, it gives the General Assembly a starting point to offer assistance to the RSIC by helping them institute corrective measures that will put South Carolina’s pension plan on a path to solvency,” Lucas said.

The LAC report called the retirement system “significantly underfunded” and that “it underreported risk” of its investments. It called for improvement in controlling conflicts of interest and pointed out the high fees paid and the low rate of return earned on its investments.

These are exactly the same criticisms SC Treasurer Curtis Loftis has leveled at the SCRSIC since taking office in 2011.

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PR: Speaker Statement on Retirement System Report

December 21, 2015 12:27 PM
PR: Speaker Statement on Retirement System Report

(Columbia, SC) – House Speaker Jay Lucas (District 65-Darlington) issued the following statement in response to the Legislative Audit Council’s (LAC) report of the South Carolina Retirement System Investment Commission (RSIC).

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The Tough Fight of Curtis Loftis

September 4, 2015 5:00 AM
Curtis M. Loftis Jr., South Carolina’s treasurer, has pushed to learn more about private equity fees. Credit Dale W. Ferrell for The New York Times

Despite continuing efforts to embarrass and silence him, SC Treasurer Curtis Loftis continues to criticize the SCRSIC for poor performance.

Loftis was subjected to allegations in 2011 that he and Mallory Factor were partners in what was called a “pay to play” scheme involving state retirement funds.

Despite the best efforts of members of the SC Retirement System Investment Commission, Gov. Nikki Haley, then state senator Greg Ryberg and others, Loftis was cleared of all allegations by SLED and the SC Attorney General’s office.

Currently, he is facing an Ethics Commission hearing alleging Loftis used his influence as a state constitutional officer to include a business associate and friend as a lawyer in a lawsuit against the Bank of New York Mellon.

I predict these allegations will be found just as baseless.

The good ole boys and their confederates just can’t stand a politician who looks out for the public good first.

And Loftis is not criticizing without reason. The SC retirement system is consistently among the bottom few performers of public pension funds in the nation despite paying hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars in fees and giving the underperforming staffers at the SCRSIC generous annual bonuses with more taxpayer dollars.

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Treasurer Curtis Loftis – The Message

May 7, 2015 7:00 AM
Curtis M. Loftis Jr., South Carolina’s treasurer, has pushed to learn more about private equity fees. Credit Dale W. Ferrell for The New York Times

SC Treasurer Curtis Loftis extends the following letter to his South Carolina constituents.

Loftis has been a watchdog and critic of SC pension fund investment since he first assumed the office of Treasurer in January 2011.

While the fight has been difficult, Loftis is making some headway in lowering pension fees paid by the SC Retirement System Investment Commission and raising the investment percentage realized.

The letter from Loftis:

Hi,

I’m passionate about protecting South Carolina’s money. Actually, it’s your money and the State should manage it with care.

You wouldn’t overpay for a service or accept poor investment returns and neither should the State. Unfortunately, the penalty for the State’s mismanagement of money is that you must pay higher taxes and employee contributions.

I was featured in the financial section of Sunday’s New York Times concerning the best ways to manage and protect your money. Please take a few minutes and give the article a read – it is important to me that you see my efforts on your behalf.

As the custodian of the State’s funds, making sure your money is protected and properly managed is my first priority. It’s what you elected me to do…and I am on it!

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Curtis Loftis on Public Pension Oversight

December 19, 2014 6:00 AM
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.

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Anti-Incumbent Fever Rages in Horry County Primaries

June 10, 2014 11:00 PM
Anti-Incumbent Fever Rages in Horry County Primaries

Anti-incumbent fever raged through Horry County primaries Tuesday as five of six incumbents running in contested primaries lost.

One of the causes for the upsets, if you can call them that, was the pitiful, approximately 13%, voter turnout countywide.

The only survivor was S.C. House District 56 representative Mike Ryhal who won in a rematch against challenger Dennis DiSabato who Ryhal defeated two years ago to win the new house district seat.

The two biggest surprises of the night were the losses by incumbent S.C. House District 104 representative Tracy Edge and by Horry County District Three council member Brent Schulz.

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