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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Charlie Crist, Bill McCollum, Alex Sink urged to investigate pension staff

21

July

Former SEC lawyer Edward Siedle pens a column in Forbes in response to a recent St. Petersburg Times investigation: ...  Contrary to statements by SBA management, the SBA is no model of sound asset management. The SBA has made horrendous blunders in the recent past, including, most significantly, mismanagement of the local government investment pool. Many unanswered questions remain regarding the near collapse of this fund, including just how much taxpayer money was lost. While the SEC investigation of the matter has not resulted in any public enforcement action, that is no endorsement of the SBA's handling of the matter.

To restore public confidence, an investigation into personal trading activities of all investment staff should be undertaken immediately and the results made public. Nothing short of full disclosure and investigation of any potential related harm should be acceptable to participants and taxpayers.

Personal investing by state government employees responsible for investing public pension assets poses very real dangers. On the other hand, allowing these state employees to engage in such trading provides no real benefit to the funds, participants or taxpayers. Where the risk to the funds and taxpayers is great and any related "reward" nonexistent, prudence should dictate that the conduct be prohibited.

As a Florida taxpayer, I believe it is unjustifiable for the state to risk public pension assets by allowing its employees to personally invest in the shadows. I have written the governor, chief financial officer and the attorney general asking them to investigate.

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[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 11:14am]

    

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