Pennsylvania Public School Employees' Retirement System, Harrisburg, hired Verus Investments "to provide interim investment oversight consulting services," while the $64.2 billion pension system is under both internal and federal investigations.
"The purpose of the contract is to provide additional advisory capability as we navigate additional work as a result of the special investigation that the audit committee is overseeing," said Frank Ryan, chairman of the PennPSERS audit committee, in a statement. Mr. Ryan added that "no personnel changes have been made whatsoever" at PennPSERS.
On April 8, PennPSERS confirmed that a federal investigation had been launched into the state pension plan after the board had discovered an error in its reported investment figures.
In December, PennPSERS reported a net annualized return of 6.38% for the nine years ended June 30, slightly above the 6.36% threshold for triggering additional contributions. The board discovered the error and announced a special internal investigation was being conducted in March.
On Monday, the board voted to certify that the plan's actual nine-year performance was 6.34%, below the threshold and therefore triggering additional employee contributions beginning July 1.
PennPSERS spokeswoman Evelyn Williams declined to comment on any federal probe beyond confirming that the board will "continue to cooperate with the government investigation."