State Politics

SC Treasurer Loftis removed from pension system’s oversight

S.C. Treasurer Curtis Loftis, Right
S.C. Treasurer Curtis Loftis, Right

A House-Senate panel tasked with addressing the state’s ailing pension system Tuesday approved limiting S.C. Treasurer Curtis Loftis’ involvement in that system.

Loftis, who long has railed against the pension system’s failings, ripped the move, saying legislators were putting oversight of the system in the hands of those who have piled up billions of dollars in unfunded liabilities.

However, legislators moved to strip Loftis of his direct involvement in the pension system.

“I’m just not comfortable with one person (Loftis) in charge of a $29 billion banking relationship,” said state Sen. Kevin Bryant, R-Anderson, who co-chairs the panel.

“I think the Ethics Commission would agree with me on that,” Bryant said, referencing state ethics officials’ recent reprimand of Loftis for influencing the selection of a longtime friend to receive $2 million in legal work from the state.

The panel approved barring Loftis from appointing himself to Retirement System Investment Commission. Instead, Loftis only could appoint a representative to the commission, which oversees the pension system’s investments.

Lawmakers also approved removing the State Fiscal Accountability Authority, of which Loftis is a member, as a co-trustee of the retirement system’s assets, leaving the Investment Commission and Public Employee Benefit Authority as co-trustees. They also approved removing the treasurer as custodian of the retirement system’s assets.

Loftis is a longtime critic of the pension system’s management, saying it has — for example — paid too much in fees to manage its investments.

“I have opposed the inefficient and money losing pension system at every turn, but that work has been ignored,” Loftis said in a statement Tuesday. “Now, the joint committee has entrusted the sole oversight of the pension system to the very agencies that have placed $25 billion dollars of debt on the backs of the hardworking taxpayers and public service employees.