State Treasurer Janet Cowell took to national TV this week to make a case for why she needs more flexibility when it comes to managing the state's $80 million pension fund.
Cowell told CNBC's "Fast Money" on Tuesday evening that stocks and bonds are not safe bets right now. The state's retirement money is heavily invested in these areas. "Fixed income is one of the highest risk places you can have your money and that means you're not going to have the money you need for retirement if you are putting your money in bonds,” Cowell said on the show. “Alternatives look increasingly attractive given the volatility of the stock market.”
A bill to give the Democrat a greater ability to invest in private equity is stalled in the N.C. House. I’m still fighting the thought that a lot of people have, particularly politicians, people that aren't in the investment class, that bonds are low risk,” Cowell told host Scott Wapner.
Wapner introduced Cowell by saying North Carolina is "rare pension sucess story."
But officials at the State Employees Association of North Carolina, which opposes the bill, point to an independent analysis that shows North Carolina ranks near the bottom of states in terms of returns on private equity investments in the last 10 years. The report puts the state No. 23 of 23 public pensions studied through June 30, 2011, with just a 2.2 percent return. The average is 9.3 percent.