US - The Massachusetts General Court has rebuffed the proposal by the Public Employee Retirement Administration Commission (PERAC), the pensions watchdog, to strengthen its oversight over the 106 retirement systems in the state.
The commission first spoke of the need for a review of its duties in 2004 and has since drawn up a pension reform legislative proposal.
The formal court session for 2005-2006 ended without PERAC's reform package having been passed.
According to PERAC, the need for a review was spurned by the behaviour of certain retirement systems in the state. The commission said one large scheme registered a loss of around US$37m, 8% of its portfolio, due to its actions violating PERAC regulations.
The commission claimed its intentions had been mischaracterised. It quoted some of the criticism it received following the proposed reform.
PERAC's so-called pension reform legislation is designed to centralise and enhance its authority over municipal, county and regional retirement boards, said the unnamed critic.
The commission rebutted this claim saying it had already shown flexibility when it agreed to changes being made to its proposal. It said its main goal was to provide tools to better oversee the 106 pension systems.
Following the court's refusal to pass the bill, PERAC will be deliberating its legislative agenda for the 2007-2008 session and will probably decide to file the same bill or one similar.
By Angele Spiteri Paris
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