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Value of retirement fund is still growing

Published April 11. 2013 05:03PM

The Schuylkill County Employees Retirement Board continues to ride the crest of of the wave of rising Wall Street stock market gains and the pension fund reached a new high and the market value of the fund as of Wednesday was reported at $110,161, 638.45, according to the report announced by County Controller Christy Joy at the monthly meeting held Wednesday at the courthouse in Pottsville.

Joy also reported during the month of March four members received an annuity totaling $936,269.26; four members received a refund totaling $1,899.54; two members received rollovers totaling $15,528.46; one member employed in the district attorney's office passed away with a death annuity totaling $405,714.92; and three retirees passed away with a pro rate pension of $188.65.

At the recommendation of Assistant County Solicitor Christine Holman the board tabled a request by Debra Detweiler, who seeks to purchase a leave of absence stemming from an extended leave of absence from workman's compensation until a full membership of the board is present. Missing was Treasurer Jacqueline McGovern. Joy reported Detweiler was subsequently terminated and then reinstated by arbitration.

Cornerstone Advisors Asset Management Inc., which manages the fund for the retirement board, presented an updated investment policy statement prepared in March. It lists the duties and responsibilities of the money manager, brokerage policy, performance objective, and monitoring of 12 financial firms which carry out the investment of the funds.

The objectives are to maintain the purchasing power of the current assets and all future contributions by producing positive real rates of return and to have the ability to pay all benefits and expense obligations when due and to maintain flexibility in determining the future level of contributions.

The policy also lists the desired investment objective is a long-term rate of return on assets that is at least six percent, which is 3.5 percent greater than the anticipated rate of inflation.

The plan proposes equity holdings in any one company should not exceed more than five percent of the market value. The retirement board, with the assistance of the consultant, may also select appropriate mutual funds to manage a portion of the plan's assets. Investment performance will be reviewed at least annually to determine the continued feasibility of achieving the investment objectives and the appropriateness of the IPS for achieving those objectives.

On a timely basis, but not less than four times a year, the retirement board will meet to focus on the issues concerning fund's management, material changes in the fund's manager's organization, and comparison of the funds management results to appropriate indexes and peer groups.

The members of the retirement board are Commissioners Frank Staudenmeier, George Halcovage and Gary Hess, Joy and McGovern.

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