Kentucky Teachers’ Pension Continues to Shield Investment Information From Public View

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Pension360 covered last month the Kentucky teacher, Randy Wieck, who is suing the Kentucky Teachers’ Retirement System (KTRS) claiming the fund has “failed in their fiduciary duty” by letting the system become one of the worst funded teachers’ plans in the country.

Another component of his lawsuit deals with the lack of transparency surrounding the fund’s investments, a complaint of many stakeholders. Last week, KTRS stoked the flames of that complaint by denying Wieck access to contracts with investment firms.

Reported by the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting:

Randolph Wieck, a history teacher at DuPont Manual High School, sent an open records request Oct. 28 to the Kentucky Teachers’ Retirement System, which covers more than 140,000 school system workers statewide. Wieck asked for details of the contracts with some of the investment firms that manage part of KTRS’ $18 billion-plus in assets.

Wieck, who recently filed a lawsuit against the teachers’ pension system, wants to know what his retirement money is being invested in—and how much in fees KTRS is paying to big private equity firms. Among the funds he asked for details on were the Carlyle Global Financial Services Partners II fund and the Blackstone Partners VII L.P. fund.

KTRS denied his request in a Nov. 26 letter. Because KTRS agreed with the investment firms to keep contract details secret, it told Wieck that state law forbade it from disclosing them.

“Disclosure of these trade secrets would permit an unfair commercial advantage to their competitors,” wrote KTRS General Counsel Robert Barnes.

KTRS manages $17.5 billion in assets. The system was 51 percent funded in 2013 — but that ratio could drop to as low as 40 percent once the system begins measuring liabilities according to new GASB standards.

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