Rhode Island Treasury to lead nation in transparency, accessibility
PROVIDENCE, RI – General Treasurer Seth Magaziner stood today with leaders representing Rhode Island's good government, business, civic and labor communities at a State House news conference to unveil his "Transparent Treasury" initiative.
A major step forward for open government in Rhode Island, "Transparent Treasury" includes a series of new policies and tools designed to help Rhode Islanders access information about how their public funds are managed.
"With today's launch, Rhode Island now has the most transparent state treasury in the country," said Treasurer Magaziner, a former board member of Common Cause Rhode Island. "This commitment to open government will help us produce better financial results for our state."
Some of the most significant features of Magaziner's new transparency initiative include:
- A first-of-its-kind investment policy stating that Rhode Island will only invest with fund managers that agree to public disclosure of performance, fees, expenses and liquidity.
- The launch of a new investment information center on www.treasury.ri.gov, and new data portal that offers unprecedented access to state treasury information.
- The appointment of a Chief Transparency Officer for the department, to ensure that all "Transparent Treasury" initiatives are carried through every division for the duration of Treasurer Magaziner's term.
"I appreciate Treasurer Magaziner's efforts to ensure that our state and municipal members, both active and retired, understand the pension system and how it is invested," said J. Michael Downey, President of Rhode Island Council 94, AFSCME, AFL-CIO, at the news conference. "I believe today's announcement is a step in the right direction and Rhode Island Council 94, AFSCME looks forward to continuing to work collaboratively with the Treasurer."
Highlights of the four "Transparent Treasury" pillars include:
- New policy that Rhode Island will only invest in funds that agree to have their performance, fees, expenses and liquidity made public.
- Newly-launched investments.treasury.ri.gov website with data visualizations and manager-level information.
- Newly-distributed, quarterly press releases with investment highlights to make information more useful and accessible.
- For the first time, Treasury has published an online calendar of all contract end dates, as well as proposed dates for new RFPs.
- Creation of a Treasury Data Portal (www.data.treasury.ri.gov) which makes public information and reports across Treasury divisions available to the public in sortable, downloadable and machine readable formats.
- Treasurer Magaziner will continue the state's ban on paying placement agents for investments from the state's pension fund.
- Treasury will continue to require every investment manager to sign an "Investor Code of Conduct Pledge."
- Treasurer Magaziner will toughen the Code of Conduct Pledge to disallow "De Minimis" political contributions.
- Treasury will launch full governance reviews of the State Investment Commission and the Retirement Board before the end of 2015.
"Rhode Islanders deserve to know where their funds are invested and how they are performing," said Treasurer Magaziner. "I am proud our office has taken big steps to improve financial transparency, and I am committed to making open government a core value of my office throughout my term."
For more information on Treasurer Magaziner's "Transparent Treasury" initiative, please visit www.treasury.ri.gov.