TRS to Testify at House PIFS Hearing on Monday, March 9

The Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) is set to testify this coming Monday, March 9 during a hearing of the House Pensions, Investments, and Financial Services (PIFS) Committee. As members of the Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) know, TRS has been scrutinized for its involvement in leasing space in a downtown Austin high rise building known as the Indeed Tower.

The meeting will begin at 10:00 a.m. and will take place in room E2.026 of the Texas Capitol. A link to the live webcast of the meeting will be made available from this website on Monday morning. A meeting agenda can be found by clicking here.

TRS recently testified before the Senate Finance Committee regarding its facilities planning and the building lease and received harsh criticism from some legislators regarding the decision. You may read more about the meeting, which was held on February 25, here.

As TRTA reported a two weeks ago, the space TRS reserved at the Indeed Tower, which is still under construction, will be sub-leased per a decision made by the TRS Board of Trustees on February 20.

After the Senate Finance Committee hearing, Senator John Whitmire called for an inquiry into TRS business practices.

“We owe it to our dedicated active and retired teachers to ensure the investments of their hard-earned pension funds are sound and transparent,” Whitmire said on February 27 in a prepared statement.

TRS responded to news of the audit by saying the agency would cooperate fully and work directly with the Attorney General and State Auditor’s Office. The TRS statement added that the agency “has a diversified asset allocation that includes a portion of holdings in private real estate” and that “TRS is specifically authorized to diversify the portfolio in this manner under Texas Government Code Sections 825.301 and 4001.068.”

TRS’s private real estate holdings are “a significant driver of excess investment return for our educators and are an important part of our Strategic Asset Allocation, making up about 13.7% of the total Trust value, or about $21.7 billion.”

TRS responded to claims that the agency has ownership in the Indeed Tower by responding “TRS is legally restricted from divulging specifics on the underlying investment holdings of any private investment fund in which TRS invests.”

Stay tuned to the Inside Line as TRTA reports on the PIFS meeting on Monday.


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