For immediate release: April 9, 2007
Treasurer Announces New Economically Targeted Investment Program
Montpelier – Vermont State Treasurer Jeb Spaulding announced today that his office will soon be soliciting investment proposals for a new pension fund program intended to support economic and community development in Vermont. This initiative stems from a policy on economically targeted investments adopted by the Vermont Pension Investment Committee, which oversees more than $3 billion in retirement funds for Vermont teachers, state employees, and municipal employees.
“Our pension fund trustees work hard to protect the workers and retirees who depend on our retirement funds and this initiative will not reduce our obligation in that regard. However, to the extent that we can support economic and community development in Vermont without sacrificing performance, it makes sense to do so,” Spaulding explained.
Economically targeted investments are intended to generate market rate returns while providing collateral benefits that enhance quality of life and promote economic activity in a targeted area, in this case Vermont. Economic or social benefits do not justify lower returns or inappropriate levels of risk.
Spaulding stated that the kinds of investment opportunities that may be appropriate for the pension funds include affordable housing, energy efficiency, venture capital, or timber. “Actually, we don’t want to limit the field of investment possibilities. We are hoping that creative minds will look over our policy and come up with some innovative proposals that meet our criteria for investment,” Spaulding explained.
The program was developed to clearly articulate the criteria by which proposals will be judged and to solicit investment proposals from qualified managers once a year. The first request for proposals window will be May 1 – June 15, 2007. In order to be considered, proposals must, at a minimum:
Target risk-adjusted, market-rate returns equivalent to or higher than other available investments in a similar asset class, and
Provide a substantial, direct, and measurable benefit to economic or community development within the State of Vermont.
Any investments will be placed with an experienced and capable manager in an applicable asset class; no direct investments will be considered.
Parties interested in receiving more information on the program should go to the State Treasurer’s Web site at www.vermonttreasurer.gov or call 802-828-1452.
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Barbara F. Agnew
Assistant to the Treasurer
109 State Street, 4th Floor
Montpelier, VT 05609-6200