Oregon's new treasurer says state will need to 'step up' in governance

New Oregon Treasurer Tobias Read said that “prudent” investors like Oregon “will need to step up, especially where federal protections are rolled back.”

“Here's one alarming reality: Protecting Oregon's public trust funds could be on the cusp of becoming harder,” Mr. Read said after he was sworn in Jan. 6, according to a copy of his prepared statement. “We are likely to see shifts in Washington … in those agencies that protect investors from fraudulent activities like we saw in the runup to the Great Recession.”

“As a major shareholder, Oregon has the ability to hold CEOs accountable, to support and encourage reforms that protect investors and our financial interests. We are the line of defense for Oregon values and investments, and we will use our clout to press for transparency, accountability and investor protections. And if that doesn't work, we are not afraid to call our lawyers. “

As treasure, Mr. Read will be a member of the Oregon Investment Council, Tigard, which runs the $69 billion Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund.

Mr. Read, who previously was a state representative, sponsored legislation that created the Oregon Retirement Savings Plan, expected to launch in July to provide a defined contribution plan for employees in the state that do not have a retirement plan at work. He is also a member of the ORSP’s board.