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Top 2 Pennsylvania school pension system execs out of jobs

psers pennsylvania state school employees retirement system fund.jpeg
Tim Tai
Philadelphia Inquirer
The FBI and federal prosecutors launched a criminal probe of the PSERS plan in March after the fund’s board revealed doubts about the figure it endorsed for financial results in December.

The top two executives at Pennsylvania’s largest public pension system will leave their jobs, under resolutions approved by the system's board Thursday, amid two federal investigations and calls by board members for their resignations over lackluster investment returns.

Under the resolutions, executive director Glen Grell and chief investment officer Jim Grossman still have weeks left in their jobs before transitioning to advisory positions to be created by the $62 billion Public School Employees’ Retirement System for several more months.

Six board members — including Gov. Tom Wolf's appointees, state Treasurer Stacy Garrity, state Sen. Katie Muth and the head of the Pennsylvania School Boards Association — first voiced displeasure in June, saying the system's assets should have been $81 billion, or 30% higher, had its investment performance measured up to the best public pension plans over the prior decade.

Even had the systems' investments been merely average, it should have had nearly $68 billion, or almost 10% more, they said.

That comparatively poor performance has cost taxpayers billions of dollars, they said.

The board members aired their grievances after the board disclosed that it was investigating a consultant’s calculation about the fund’s investment performance last year that was apparently wrong.

Investigations by the FBI and U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission followed, with both agencies sending subpoenas to the agency and, in the case of the FBI, questioning some top PSERS officials.

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