A bill backed by the Oregon Investment Council that would establish the Oregon Investment Department as a new independent public investment agency was introduced Monday in the Oregon Legislature “by a bipartisan coalition of legislators, with additional legislators expressing interest in signing on as well,” confirmed James Sinks, spokesman for the council.
Under the bill, the Tigard-based council, which runs the $67.1 billion Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund, Salem, would appoint an executive director to supervise the department.
The bill would transfer the treasurer's responsibility to administer the investment portfolio including the pension fund to the department. The treasurer would still be the custodian of funds with such responsibilities as proxy voting and securities litigation.
Council officials said if the bill passes they expect the legislation would modernize the investment division's structure in which “Oregon is paying top dollar to outsource much of its daily asset management activities,” according to a news release.
An analysis by CEM Benchmarking indicated that the Oregon pension fund is currently a “high-cost” fund compared to its peers, “in large part because of Treasury's heavy reliance on outsourcing,” the news release stated.
Under the bill, House Bill 4144, the Oregon Investment Department would be overseen by the Oregon Investment Council, and would allow the department to hire additional staff to oversee risk management and fund accounting. It is estimated the move would save around $2.7 billion over 20 years. Monday was the first day of a 35-day legislative session.