After years of controversy over the now-$86.1 billion North Carolina Retirement Systems' sole trustee structure, Treasurer Janet Cowell is about to work herself out of that job.
The Investment Fiduciary Governance Commission, a special review panel convened by Ms. Cowell, recommended April 24 that the state create a board of trustees, the structure public pension funds in all but a few states use.
And once implemented, the switch will give Ms. Cowell more time to devote to investment decisions and her priority of increasing allocations to alternatives. But that promises a whole new controversy, following a forensic investigation conducted on behalf of the State Employees Association of North Carolina questioning the fees and level of disclosure provided by alternative money managers.
SEANC officials ordered the investigation by Benchmark Financial Services, Ocean Ridge, Fla., in part to force the issue of moving away from the sole trustee model. Another impetus was Ms. Cowell's success in 2013 in convincing state legislators to let her investment team raise alternative allocations.