Florida State Board of Administration, Tallahassee Pension Plan and Jacksonville City Retirement System, as well as the University of Florida Investment Corp. and the Florida State University Foundation, were closed Friday as Hurricane Hermine made landfall nearby in the Big Bend area of the state.
Ashbel C. Williams Jr., FSBA executive director and chief investment officer, said he went into the office early Friday morning to check for damage and coordinate contingency and recovery operations of the Tallahassee-based board, which oversees $180.5 billion, including the Florida Retirement System’s $144.1 billion defined benefit plan and $8.4 billion 401(a) plan.
“I live only 2½ minutes away and came by to make sure we are physically tight,” Mr. Williams said, finding no damage to windows and other structures.
The storm shut down Florida SBA’s website. Mr. Williams said FSBA’s information technology staff was working to restore the system.
The storm passed through Tallahassee about 3 a.m. EDT, Mr. Williams said. Falling trees downing power lines and blocking streets wreaked the most havoc in the city, Mr. Williams said. But there was no flooding in the area around the office, despite the intense rain. It appears residents as well as FSBA staff members are safe, Mr. Williams added.
The FSBA on Thursday planned for contingencies in anticipation of the approaching storm and made provision for special liquidity and cash needs by localities to withdraw from Florida PRIME, the local government cash management investment pool the FSBA oversees, Mr. Williams said. The pools assets total about $8 billion.
Mr. Williams believes many local government offices across the state were closed Friday after Gov. Rick Scott declared 51 of Florida’s 67 counties under a state of emergency.
As for the pension and other assets FSBA oversees, “We really weren’t anticipating any investment activity,” Mr. Williams said, although as part of the contingency, staff members are working remotely to oversee the assets.
The city of Jacksonville administrative offices, including the $2 billion Jacksonville City Retirement System shut down Friday because of the storm. Joey Greive, city treasurer and chief investment officer of the pension fund, did not return a phone call by press time.
The city of Tallahassee administrative offices, including the office of James O. Cooke IV, city treasurer-clerk, who oversees the $1.8 billion Tallahassee Pension Plan, closed at 2 p.m. EDT Thursday as the storm approached and remained closed Friday, according to a posting on the city website. Kent Olson, Tallahassee deputy treasurer-clerk, did not return a phone call by press time.
Calls to the Gainesville-based University of Florida Investment Corp., which oversees $2.7 billion in assets of the University of Florida Foundation, and other university-connected funds, went into voicemail.
William S. Reeser, UFICO’s CEO and chief investment officer, couldn’t be reached for comment.
The University of Florida, Gainesville, and Florida State University, Tallahassee, on Thursday closed their campus offices and canceled classes until Saturday morning, according to their websites.
The Florida State University Foundation, which oversees $606 million in assets, closed until Sept. 6, according to a voice message of Amada Fliger Wood, its senior director of communications.
Mr. Williams expects the FSBA office to be up and running Sept. 6 following the Labor Day holiday. “But you never know when you have an event of this size,” Mr. Williams said. “You never know what latent problem may occur.”