County will evaluate pension investments more often

November 15, 2012

The Washington County retirement board, which oversees pension investments for county employees’ defined benefit plan, unanimously approved “enhanced monitoring and disciplined portfolio rebalancing,” meaning members will be notified more often of shifts in the market so they can act accordingly.

Lee Martin, a principal in the retirement board’s consultant, Peirce Park Group of West Chester, said retirement board members – the county commissioners, controller and treasurer – will be getting an email from his firm each Monday, so they can shift investments more often, if needed.

County Controller Michael Namie said this “is what we already do quarterly.” The board meets in February, May, September and November.

Weekly monitoring and oversight also can serve as an early-warning system, Martin said.

State law requires the funding of public employees’ pensions with taxpayer dollars. The market value of the Washington County retirement plan, as of Sept. 30, was $110,352,064.

As of the same date, the value of the fund increased 5 percent for the quarter and 12 percent for the year, gaining $11.9 million. Martin said despite the market’s worries about the federal government’s “fiscal cliff,” which have resulted in recent downturns, the value of the county’s investments was still up 10 percent for the year at the beginning of this week.

Barbara S. Miller covers politics, Washington County government and a variety of other topics for the Observer-Reporter. She is a graduate of Washington & Jefferson College, majoring in English and history. Follow her on Twitter @reporterbarb.

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