Iowa Public Employees' Retirement System, Des Moines, suspended its search for a general retainer consultant until the SEC concludes its investigation into the investment consultant industry and reveals any enforcement action it might take, according to a statement by the board of the $18.4 billion system. The board wants to wait and see if the SEC investigation identifies any consulting firms for enforcement action, the basis for the action and fines or sanctions that would be levied.
"IPERS' investment staff will report to the board at each of its regularly scheduled meetings the status of public information on the SEC consultant investigation, and whether IPERS' search should be removed from suspended status," the statement said.
Wilshire Associates is the system's general retainer consultant, and it was invited to rebid when the board issued an RFP in April. Wilshire has been on watch since February 2004 because of concerns about leadership changes and research capabilities, and the board extended that status until February 2006. While no significant personnel departures have occurred since the initial watchlist posting, Wilshire "has recently implemented several initiatives within the consulting division to create a more proactive client service model, including a new service teams structure," according to the statement. Iowa PERS "staff views the initiatives as positive steps but believes it would be prudent to wait and see how well the new teams overall and as specifically assigned to IPERS work before removing the firm from the watchlist."