US - A full audit into the financial dealings of the State of Florida and the Florida Retirement System (FRS) has been launched after panic over sub-prime backed assets caused a US$13bn run on the State's money market fund.
Fiduciary responsibility for overseeing both the pool and the FRS falls to the State Board of Administration. An investigation has been launched into the FRS on the principle of a full and frank examination of the State's finances.
However, in a statement, Bill McCollum, Florida attorney general, said the investment pool at the centre of the controversy was in no way comparable to the assets of the main FRS fund. He said the pool that recently experienced heavy withdrawals contained at-risk assets, but they were "specifically intended" for structured diversification.
He also denied that the main FRS fund had any assets backed by sub-prime mortgages, adding that any such investments were supported by "collateral consisting of prime and near-prime mortgages". Additionally, within the $138bn FRS fund, only $756m - equivalent to just over 0.5% - was comprised of "lower grade investments".
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