Comptroller Franchot Becomes Chair of State Pension Board of Trustees

Comptroller Peter Franchot recently assumed the chairmanship of the Maryland State Retirement and Pension System Board of Trustees, which establishes rules and regulations to administer several pension systems and manage pension funds for about 412,000 members. These include active and retired state employees, teachers, state police, judges, and other law enforcement personnel.

The 15-member Board of Trustees also directs the management of a $70 billion investment portfolio and adopts the actuarial assumptions necessary to fund the System adequately.

As previously reported on Conduit Street, the Board of Trustees announced that its portfolio returned a record-setting 26.7 percent (net of fees) on investments for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2021.

The fiscal year earnings far exceeded the System’s 7.40 percent assumed actuarial return rate and surpassed its policy benchmark of 24.41 by 230 basis points. In addition, the fund’s performance raised the System’s assets to $67.9 billion, an increase of $13.3 billion over the prior fiscal year.

“This role garners few headlines, but it’s of utmost importance to hundreds of thousands of state workers, retirees, educators, and others who depend on the health of the pension system in their post-employment lives,” Comptroller Franchot said. “I pledge, just as I have for the past 15 years as vice-chair, to be a watchful steward of these funds and to speak out when money is being mismanaged or when investments fail to yield the expected returns.”

Per Board rules, Franchot, who had served as vice-chair since 2007, became chairman last month following the retirement of longtime Treasurer Nancy K. Kopp. The Maryland General Assembly elected former Delegate Dereck Davis to succeed Kopp as Treasurer. He was sworn in on December 17 and assumed the board of trustees’ vice-chair the following week.

“I look forward to joining this talented and diverse group of trustees, who possess a wide range of professional expertise and personal backgrounds,” Treasurer Davis said. “Pensioners should have faith that the System will continue to safeguard their money and ensure benefits are properly administered.”

Stay tuned to Conduit Street for more information.