Thursday, April 2, 2015

Pa. pension probe: Nothing we had to tell U.S. about; report due Sept. 17

Ex-SERS CIO under review

Pa. pension probe: Nothing we had to tell U.S. about; report due Sept. 17

The Pennsylvania State Employees’ Retirement System.
The Pennsylvania State Employees’ Retirement System.

The Pennsylvania State Employees' Retirement System (SERS) expects lawyers at Philadelphia-based Obermayer, Rebmann, Maxwell & Hippel will report at SERS' Sept. 17 meeting on the internal investigation of ex-SERS chief investment officer Anthony Clark. 

"Good progress has been made to date. And, thus far, no information has been uncoverd that would require SERS to report any activity to any federal regulatory agency," new SERS board chairman Glenn Becker, who also heads Philadelphia-based pension contractor Swarthmore Group, said in a statement. (Corrected)

Obermayer, whose partner Thomas A. Leonard, a longtime Philadelphia Democratic fundraiser and past city official, is part owner of another firm that invests money for SERS, was hired in February, ten months after an unidentified SERS employee raised questions to a board member and state lawyers about Clark's investments and the potential for conflicts of interest. Another law firm, Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young, reviewed the case last year for the state and recommended a deeper investigation. 

Clark, who had recommended SERS invest in hedge funds, including an investment in Tiger Management that performed poorly and was terminated early, retired early last Thanksgiving after longtime SERS chairman Nicholas Maiale told him of the questions raised about his actions. Clark has not been charged with any wrongdoing. Maiale, criticized for his role in the Clark affair by state treasurer Rob McCord, stepped down after he was not reappointed by Gov. Tom Corbett and was replaced with Becker by Gov. Tom Corbett.

Joseph N. DiStefano
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PhillyDeals posts raw drafts and updates of Joseph N. DiStefano's columns and stories about Philly-area finance, investment, commercial real estate, tech, hiring and public spending, which he's been writing since 1989, mostly for the Philadelphia Inquirer.

DiStefano studied economics, history and a little engineering at Penn, taught writing at St. Joe's, and has written the book Comcasted, more than a thousand columns, and thousands of articles, and raised six children with his wife, who is a saint.

Reach Joseph N. at JoeD@phillynews.com or 215 854 5194.

Joseph N. DiStefano
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