New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson on March 1 signed a bill that restructures the $13.4 billion New Mexico State Investment Council and reduces gubernatorial control of the Santa Fe-based council.
The legislation combined three separate bills introduced in response to federal pay-to-play investigations concerning placement agents employed by investment managers for the council, the $10.5 billion New Mexico Public Employees Retirement Association and the $6.5 billion New Mexico Educational Retirement Board, both based in Santa Fe.
However, the new law does not apply to the two state pension funds.
The bill makes the council, not the governor, responsible for appointing the state investment officer. The bill also gives the council sole power to hire and fire investment managers and consultants, which now is done by the state investment officer with council approval.
The council also would select custodian banks for all funds under their management, rather than the State Board of Finance.
In addition, the council would appoint the members of the private equity committee, currently the responsibility of the governor.
The bill would take the treasurer, commissioner of public lands and secretary of the Department of Finance and Administration off the council, replacing them with two members appointed by the governor and four appointed by political party leaders of both houses of the state Legislature.
The Legislature and Mr. Richardson have 30 days to appoint new members to the council.