Seth Magaziner

October beckons, with playoff baseball, autumnal beauty, and the run-up to the deciding of legislative races. So thanks for stopping by for my weekly column. As usual, your tips and comments are welcome, and you can follow me through the week on the twitters. (A quick program note: I'm taking most of next week off, so TGIF will probably not return until October 14.) Here we go.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

The state Investment Commission on Wednesday approved a recommendation by General Treasurer Seth Magaziner to reduce the 15 percent hedge fund allocation in Rhode Island's $7.65 billion pension plan to 6.5 percent over the next two years.

State Pension Fund Down Last Year

Aug 5, 2016
RIPR file photo

Rhode Island’s pension fund declined by about six percent over the last fiscal year. That’s according to the state Treasury Department, which reported losses of about $466 million dollars. Most of the decline came from the payout of pension benefits, which outpaced contributions. State Treasurer Seth Magaziner said investment losses were another source of the decline.

Ann-Marie Fink, who oversees Rhode Island's almost $8 billion pension fund as the state's chief investment officer, is leaving Treasury for a private sector job, RIPR has learned.

Fink was hired during Governor Raimondo's tenure as state treasurer, starting on the job in January 2013. Fink succeeded Kenneth Goodreau, who left for a private sector job with TIG Advisors after four years as the state's top investment officer.

Fink did not respond to a request for comment Monday.

Budget Holds New Debt Tools

Jun 10, 2016
Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

State treasurer Seth Magaziner said that the measures included in the new budget will do more than just fund a new debt management study. They will also provide much needed controls over the many different city and state organizations that are able to borrow money using taxpayer dollars.

"It will allow us to make sure that when, not only the state, but cities and towns and districts are issuing debt they’re doing it efficiently and using best practices and getting the best possible rates and the lowest possible fees."

General Treasurer Seth Magaziner stopped by our studio to discuss a broad range of issues, including the performance of the state pension fund, municipal pensions, the Burrillville power plant proposal, his political future, and more.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

General Treasurer Seth Magaziner joins Political Roundtable this week to discuss news about General Electric bringing jobs to Rhode Island; why better management of public debt matters; and changes made this week by legislative leaders to one of two General Assembly grant programs.

Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

Jeff Padwa, the chief of staff for general treasurer Seth Magaziner, is headed back to the private sector.

Padwa is joining the politically well known firm of Darrow Everett as a partner.

Katherine Doherty / RIPR

With the state pension fund, Rhode Island will use its shareholder vote to promote diversity on corporate boards.

General Treasurer Seth Magaziner says the state will vote against boards with fewer than 30% women or racial minorities, for companies in which the state pension fund invests.

Magaziner said the new policy will promote diversity in corporate businesses, which will lead to better performance.

Providence Business News Editor Mark Murphy joins Rhode Island Public Radio's Dave Fallon for our weekly business segment, The Bottom Line.  

This week Mark and Dave chat with Rhode Island General Treasurer Seth Magaziner about the health of the state pension plan, and how to manage the state's $1.2 billion public debt.

When to listen:

You can hear The Bottom Line each Friday at 5:50 p.m.

Do you have insight or expertise on this topic? Please email us, we'd like to hear from you.  

There's just one week until Christmas, so I want to wish a very happy holiday season to my readers, and offer my thanks for stopping by in 2015. (Program note: TGIF is taking next week off and will return December 31.) As usual, your tips and comments are welcome, and you can follow me through the week on the twitters. Here we go.

John Bender / RIPR

Two new firms will be taking over the management of the state’s $7 billion CollegeBound fund. The fund was created in 1998 to help Rhode Islanders save money for college.

State Treasurer Seth Magaziner led the move to change management of the CollegeBound fund. He saidparticipants will benefit from the hiring of the highly rated investment company Invesco and Ascensus, the nation’s biggest administrator of so-called 529 college savings programs.

Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

State General Treasurer Seth Magaziner is making deputy treasurer/chief legal counsel Jeff Padwa his chief of staff following the departure of Andrew Roos earlier this month.

Padwa, formerly city solicitor in Providence, has been active in Democratic politics and co-chaired President Obama's Rhode Island campaign in 2008. He joined Treasury when Magaziner took office in January.

Capitol TV

At a time when a US nuclear agreement with Iran remains the subject of sharp debate, a two-year-old law calling for Rhode Island to divest from companies doing business with Iran has failed to result in the divestment of any money.

Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

Andrew Roos, who joined Gina Raimondo as chief of staff in 2013 as she was gearing up for her successful gubernatorial run and who remained in that role for state General Treasurer Seth Magaziner, announced Tuesday he's leaving for an unspecified private sector job. In related news, David Ortiz, who has led communications at City Hall for Mayors Angel Taveras and Jorge Elorza, is joining Magaziner's staff as communications director.