SC

Forbes Zeroes In On SC Pension Fund Failure

Another day, another national media outlet exposing the ongoing failure of South Carolina’s corrupt, underperforming and anti-transparent pension fund. This time it’s former Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) investigator Edward Siedle writing for Forbes … In his piece, Siedle explores not only the poor returns and rampant mismanagement of the…

Another day, another national media outlet exposing the ongoing failure of South Carolina’s corrupt, underperforming and anti-transparent pension fund.

This time it’s former Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) investigator Edward Siedle writing for Forbes

In his piece, Siedle explores not only the poor returns and rampant mismanagement of the state’s $25 billion fund (first exposed by crusading S.C. Treasurer Curtis Loftis) he also delves into the refusal of South Carolina’s leaders to address the growing debacle.

“If ever there was a state pension system in need of an in-depth forensic investigation, it’s got to be South Carolina’s,” Siedle wrote. “Yet, that’s precisely the level of scrutiny we were told in a tense meeting with the State Inspector General and Retirement System Investment Commission last month nobody in the room wanted.”

“Information about wrongdoing related to the pension’s massive alternative investments gamble that could, if the rolling dice end in snake eyes, bankrupt the state? No interest, thank you,” Siedle’s report continues.

He’s referring of course to the corrupt leadership of this fund – appointed by fiscally liberal S.C. Sen. Hugh Leatherman (RINO-Florence) and crony capitalist Gov. Nikki Haley.

At every turn these “leaders” – most notably Florence attorney Reynolds Williams – have sought to conceal South Carolina’s abysmal performance and self-serving corruption from the public.

They’ve also engaged in a non-stop vendetta against Loftis – receiving a capable assist from the state’s liberal mainstream media.

Siedle is having none of it, though … echoing the dire warnings Loftis has been issuing for the past three years while his office meticulously combed through the fund’s risky over-reliance on alternative investments.

“In my opinion, it’s going to take massive action to disarm the ticking megaton alternative investment time-bomb South Carolina pension officials created in secret with Wall Street technical assistance,” Siedle writes. “You can’t just walk away from these hedge, venture and private equity investments that should never have been made. The question is whether political support for dismantling the bomb rallies before, or not until after, the detonation and resulting irreversible wreckage.”

Tick-tock, tick-tock …

Every bit as surprising as Haley’s opposition to Loftis’ reform efforts? The failure of her Democratic opponents to pounce on this vulnerability.

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43 comments

jimlewisowb December 19, 2013 at 10:01 am

My concern is that some retiree will go postal on these cockroach sons of bitches before the blade can drop on their necks. Seeing Leatherpecker’s, Williams’ and Ryberg’s heads on a pike pole underneath the Confederate Flag would go a long way in restoring confidence in the Pension Fund

As for Sheheen, his failure to seize the opportunity only confirms he is and will forever be a cockroach piece of shit

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RogueElephant December 19, 2013 at 10:14 am

Dead on. The only one looking out for the retirees of SC is Curtis Loftis. Ryberg is on the side of the cronies. Don’t let anyone fool you.

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Cash December 19, 2013 at 10:57 am

Governor Haley has the grounds to remove Reynolds Williams as Chairman. His firm made a killing off one of the fund’s investments. The AG said he did not have grounds to prosecute BUT that does not mean he did not breech is duty to protect the fund.
The standard of care is clear. he broke it. he should be removed. End of story.

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El kabong December 19, 2013 at 1:04 pm

And yet FITS will endorse Haley in 2014 just wait and see

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Fits Aint No Republican December 19, 2013 at 3:11 pm

Why do you think that?

Fits aint no Republican!He says so.You dont believe that?

Then again, few of the Republicans who post here confess to being Republicans.

Its a funny place really,but loads of fun!

James December 19, 2013 at 3:11 pm

Haley is tied to Williams through big Florence donors. Williams and LEATHERMAN make that happen do he is safe.

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MerryB December 19, 2013 at 9:30 pm

Haley needs to act soon or she will own this guy Williams.

Never, ever should a fiduciary make money off the fund he is sworn to protect. Reynolds Williams should be removed from the Investment Commission. He and his law partners should be investigated by the Bar’s grievance committee.

Most crooked activity of this type is never discovered. The odds against it being discovered is are long so this is probably not his first time looting the pension funds.

He needs to be relieved of his position before more money leaves the fund for his pockets.

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Slartibartfast December 19, 2013 at 1:47 pm

Your post maligning cockroaches is noticed.. oh yes.. it’s noticed. Also hundreds of sons of bitches have had their feelings hurt. But you will hear no argument from the pieces of shit.

Still joking, though, my concern is that some retiree will NOT go postal. I see it as a meaningful mode of protest.

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Egan December 19, 2013 at 2:43 pm

I think the Investment Commission will be a big election issue. 420 million in fees is too much money to ignore. If the Dems jump on it the Repubs are going to have a tough time defending it.

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Fits Aint No Republican December 19, 2013 at 3:13 pm

You’re right.They cant defend it.

However,do you really think such will change SC voting habits?

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Duck D December 19, 2013 at 5:07 pm

Hang corruption, huge fees, screwing retirees and taxpayers around Haley or others GOP people and yea, I think it effects elections. Everybody I know is ready to vote everyone out of office and someone stealing my money is as good a reason as I can think of.

If Haley or Alan Wilson can remove that crooked Chairman she should or she will have troubles.

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Flo2 December 21, 2013 at 6:25 am

Cockroach number 1 is Reynolds Williams. I have known that beetle looking bastard since we were teenagers and if you leave your wallet alone with him you will find it empty when you returns. He has made himself rich off the government, especially the Retirement System. Greed such as his knows no bounds.

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HD December 19, 2013 at 10:42 am

Forbes? How about an unsucessful bidder on a $700K contract to “investigate” the fund.

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Paul December 19, 2013 at 10:53 am

The company that was not chosen should protest at once. This is the kind of stuff people get in real trouble for and there may be issues here for the Inspector General. Either Williams lied or the IG allowed the Investment Commission to make a choice the IG was supposed to make.
Either way, the IG has failed in his job to remain “whiter than white.”

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venomachine December 19, 2013 at 10:46 am

You saw how Detroit’s bankruptcy may absolve the city of paying pensions, or, at the very least, greatly reduce them?

Watch that veeeery closely, and expect more cities and even states jump on the bankruptcy train. In addition to being mismanaged, there is just no way to go on the way we are with pensions. They are going to HAVE to raise the retirement age to continue to make that system work.

Same deal with social security.

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Tom December 19, 2013 at 2:48 pm

You know a guy is a crook when he brags about breaking the law in a national publication.

But he also knows nothing will happen.

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Eric December 19, 2013 at 10:51 am

it is amazing that Mr. Reynolds Williams would admit to circumventing the procurement code. It is a clear violation of the code and should be investigated at once.
$700,000 dollars for an audit and the company receiving the work was predetermined. Amazing stuff!

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Sunny December 19, 2013 at 11:56 am

He is still under investigation by the Ethics Commission. Too much smoke around my retirement money to allow this situation to continue,

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Pissed off December 19, 2013 at 9:44 pm

Ethics, the Attorney General and SLED jail black people, people with guns, and the stupid. None of those applies to the Investment Commission. They will sake just like the rest of the crooks in the State.

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euwe max December 19, 2013 at 1:08 pm

Freeloaders

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Thomas December 19, 2013 at 3:05 pm

Maybe you train wrecked Democrat cheerleaders should read the actual article.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/edwardsiedle/2013/12/18/yellow-lamborghini-red-flags-south-carolina-pensions-reckless-gamble-may-bankrupt-state/

If Gens X and Y will swallow healthcare “reform” and Obamacare monthly premiums and huge annual deductibles in exchange for homosexual unions and medical marijuana, think of the possibilities for immigration “reform”, tax “reform”, and pension “reform”. Gens X and Y and soon Mexicans will bail-out Boomers retirement…question is, who will bail-out Gens X, Y, and legalized Mexicans? Who cares…boomers get their’s!

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Thomas December 19, 2013 at 3:07 pm

In the comment section of Seidle’s article, Reynold Williams strikes back…LoL

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Jax Crax December 19, 2013 at 5:24 pm

Let’s everybody calm down and remember that Chairman Williams knows what he is doing. Chairman Williams has professional training as Certified Personal Financial Planner.

Chairman Williams has gotten jobs for his relatives in alternative investment houses that SC has invested in, and so he is able to keep tabs on these investments through his relatives.

Let’s remember that the SC Association of Retirees supports Chairman Williams and the RSIC. At a legislative subcommittee meeting last week, before and after the meeting, I overheard several members state their support for alternative investments.

If Chairman Williams says everything is fine, and the SC Retirees association says the same thing, and that’s good enough for me.

Chairman Williams is a man of service.

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Thomas December 19, 2013 at 5:47 pm

Try to unwind your 56% position in unregulated, heavily fee’d “alternative” investments. You can’t. When derivatives crash (see 2008) we the taxpayer can not bail you out.

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Curmudgeon December 19, 2013 at 10:28 pm

Are you suggesting that the taxpayers would bail out the Fund if it were more heavily invested in stocks. Can we count on your support to put this in law. After all, there are practically no fees though according to most analyst more risky. Most experts are also predicting a major market correction.

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Thomas December 20, 2013 at 1:16 am

We buy your police cruisers, we pay your COLA’s, we even dump sand on beaches and dredge port’s of call in SC…but we can not bail-out 25 billion in lost retirement funds from bad investments in very bad market conditions.

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TooPoorToRetire December 20, 2013 at 7:14 am

WHAT COLA???? I haven’t had ANYTHING except rising contribution costs and increased health care costs for the past 7 years! Jeeze, some of my co-workers are on public assistance, and most of us are only a step away!
As a retirement system member, I want to see a FULL FORENSIC ACCOUNTING of the system. As a cop, I want to see some of those people go to prison.

DEHC December 20, 2013 at 6:28 am

The Investment Commission has purchased every costly investment imaginable. As a State Retiree I am outraged at how wasteful this process has become.
My son, and investment professional of regional note, simply laughs when I talk to him about this pension plan. He says, they are playing “big dog” with your money. They are like kids in a candy shop with other people paying the bill.
This maddness must stop.

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Curmudgeon December 19, 2013 at 10:23 pm

“Let’s remember that the SC Association of Retirees supports Chairman Williams and the RSIC.At a legislative subcommittee meeting last week, before and after the meeting, I overheard several members state their support for alternative investments.”

In regard to your snarky post, you got a problem with citizens who also happen to be members of the Retirement System expressing their opinion. One more thing and for the record, I do support the investment strategy agreed to by the five professionally trained members of the Commission and contrary to some, I have not received money, expensive meals, or overnight stays at lavish resorts in exchange for having this opinion. I might however be willing to consider changing my opinion for the something close to what Loftis gave his fraternity brother. I think I remember reading that it was in the neighborhood of $2 million.

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MoneyGuy December 20, 2013 at 6:51 am

Only the Attorney General can hire lawyers or approve lawyer fees in SC. A judge has to approve all settlements but only after the AG approves. Either you are ill-informed or a liar, or just another insider trying to protect the money, power and prestige you have gained by creating and supporting the most expensive pension plan in the country.

$420,000,000 in fees is a monument to gullibility, stupidity and corruption. Those who support it are intellectual and moral deviants that would rather send money to Wall Street than to our retirees. I have watched this Commission for 7 years and it sickens me.

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Can't beat them, join them... December 20, 2013 at 8:03 am

Hey Curtis Loftis, no one gives a crap! You understand? We are awash in crooked officials, do nothing politicians, and taxpayers that are to busy to know what is going on!

Loftis, get a f’ing clue and join the game. Soak it for everything it is worth. Get your family cushy jobs at state agencies. Work out deals NOW for “consulting” after you leave office. Collect huge donations in “charities” and spend the money later. Trade government favors for personal gain! That is the SC way and if you think you are going to change that you are a foolish man.

If you can’t beat them, join them. Make a killing. Spend it and enjoy it.

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Curmudgeon December 20, 2013 at 8:39 am

And you sir are either Curtis Loftis or full of crap in which case you are both. I have in my possession a letter dated May 2, 2013 in which the AG approved Loftis’ request to allow him to negotiate the attorney fees in lieu of the standard fee agreement.

I’ll try to post it so you will not continue posting in ignorance of the facts or you can FOIA the letters yourself. Just ask for any and all communcations between the STO and the AG relative to the BONY settlement. Knowledge is a beautiful thing.

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MoneyGuy December 20, 2013 at 10:02 am

Becasue the fees were paid by the bank and NOT the retirees or the state.

Curmudgeon December 20, 2013 at 7:46 pm

As I stated earlier the amount paid to his fraternity brother was negotiated by the Treasurer. The way in which it was paid was also determined by the Treasurer. But here is your bottom line: the total cash settlement was $34 million out of which $9 million went to the attorneys. The so called other benefits of the settlement which the Treasurer used to justify these excessive fees may never be realized since to do so will require that the Investment Commission invest $3 billion with HedgeMark, a subsidiary of BONY. That may never happen. But don’t take my word for it, all of this is public knowledge with the exception of the ten year contract which no one outside of the Treasurer’s circle has seen.

forner member December 21, 2013 at 6:40 pm

The SC Retirees Association has always been a front group. Since at least 2002 they have worked for Leatherman. I used to work for him so I know it for a fact.

Everyone knows that. The members are just stooges. The leadership is on the payroll. bought and paid for, simple as that.

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Curmudgeon December 21, 2013 at 9:20 pm

Who said anything about the Retirees Association. The statements I made above are factual and can be proven. All it takes is a simple FOIA request, that is if you have the intellectual capacity to understand what that is and how to file it. But you are not going to do that because you are not interested in facts, just attacking people who do depend on verifiable facts before forming an opinion. You are conspiracy theorist whose only defense against the truth is to wail out like the village idiot, “full of sound and fury, signifying nothing”. Trust me on this, there is nothing conspiratorial going on, you are just full of crap.

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nitrat December 19, 2013 at 7:35 pm

I don’t doubt that these people on this Commission are as least as corrupt as people in positions of power usually are in SC. At least.
But, above all, I think these people have just drunk the Wall Street Kool-Aid, circa
2002. They want to look smart, financially sophisticated and like they know something most people don’t understand. Unfortunately, their pretty apparent ignorance is not our bliss.

They must have missed the opportunity provided by the journalists who documented the Crash of 2008 to learn that much of what Wall Street does these days is gambling. Flat out gambling. Not investing. Gambling. Betting this will go up or that will go down. See the London Whale. The private equity scams that might, maybe make some money for an investor, but always for the company. These are NOT the kind of ‘funds’ that any pension fund anywhere should to be invested in.

They also demonstrated their ignorance by setting annual return goals that are not that different from what Bernie Madoff promised his saps. And, Bernie’s were unreal. Bernie had a lot of smart, professional customers who got took. Like what appears to have happened with our retirement commission.

I guess Curtis has good intentions – I don’t know because I don’t deify any politician and know most have an unhealthy dose of self interest; Curtis has shown he does, too – and is genuinely concerned about the situation. But, since the day he instructed GOP bundler Mallory Factor to involve himself in all this on the sly, he has repeatedly compromised himself. He rants and raves to the public and at these commission people rather than working with them in a professional manner to try and persuade them that he probably has a very valid point.

At this point, Curtis needs to report what he knows to the FBI, DOJ, any federal regulatory agency to see if he can get someone, anyone to investigate. We know we can’t trust anyone in our inbred state to do a decent job looking at this. As usual.

BTW, I read the link Thomas left; thanks. Couldn’t get past page 1, but read the comments of Reynolds Williams and Sam Griswald. Both may have had a drink or two before they posted.

BTW2, NC is not much better off:
http://www.newsobserver.com/2013/12/17/3467663/the-truth-about-the-underperforming.html

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HHW December 19, 2013 at 7:59 pm

There was never an allegation against Loftis. There was a claim that Mallory used Loftis’s name. Loftis knew nothing about it.

I know Mallory and do not like him, in fact hate him, so I studied the claims agains Mallory because I wanted to know everything bout Mallory.

The only claim was that Mallory said he knew Loftis” while making a sales pitch. That is so weak, in fact every salesman on the planet has used those words.

As I said, Loftis means nothing to me, but those claims against Mallory never alleged Loftis did anything.

Reynolds Williams, on the other hand, made nearly 150 grand on a pension fund deal. That is without doubt and is serious, and worth discussion.

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CPA 2 December 19, 2013 at 8:26 pm

I have had a front row seat in all of this Investment Commission affair as my oldest friend works there. He loves his job, hates senior management and most of the Commissioners as they are sleazy. My friend says they are the types that can justify anything they do as long as they benefit. My friend says Loftis started off nice and got nowhere. He got mean and went public and mountains are being moved. Loftis has affected many changes that have yet to be disclosed.
Bad people doing bad things involving lots of money do not stop doing those bad things because one says please. it takes brute force of personality and will power.
My friend thinks Loftis is a hero and Williams is a criminal. Let’s pray for justice,

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Thomas December 20, 2013 at 1:08 am

I was thinking ponzi, too. That these people on the RSIC are no better than Bernie Madoff. In fact, a forensic audit is needed, federal prosecutors need to look at this, and SC Attorney General Wilson needs to resign if he can not lawfully direct his office’s resources against corrupt school buddies, corrupt family friends, and corrupt politicians in SC, friend or foe.

A newly elected SC Treasure smells smoke, South Carolina Policy Council smells smoke, and a former Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) investigator Edward Siedle smells smoke. Folks, your retirement money is on fire. Nothing less than a full forensic audit will stop these pyro’s.

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dwb619 December 19, 2013 at 7:57 pm

Damn, they need a UNION to blame this on!

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John December 20, 2013 at 6:58 am

The SC pension plan is more expensive than the Union Plans! SC pays more in fees than any state pension plan in the country, Think about that!

The Commission Chairman, Reynolds Williams and his law partners pocket over $100,000 of an investment made by the Commission, according to documents released.

When the Chairman of the fund gets a cut of the investment money you can understand why the fees to Investment Bankers are so high. It is called a kick back!

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dwb619 December 20, 2013 at 8:41 am

Hope you didn’t miss my attempt at sarcasm.
43 year union member, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.
LIVE BETTER! WORK UNION!

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