More pension flexibility for NC treasurer approved

Jul. 17, 2013 @ 01:55 PM

A House panel has narrowly agreed to give State Treasurer Janet Cowell more flexibility in investing North Carolina public employee pension funds that she says is needed to meet return rates so retirement funds are sound.

The Finance Committee voted 14-13 Wednesday for a bill that doesn't allow as much of the $80 billion portfolio to be placed in alternative investments beyond stocks and bonds as the Senate version allowed.

The Senate wanted it raised from the current 34 percent to 40 percent. The House version is 35 percent, but there would still be higher limits in several investment categories.

The State Employees Association of North Carolina opposes the bill. Lobbyist Ardis Watkins told lawmakers alternative investments are too costly and risky.

The measure now goes to the full House.