- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 13, 2002

BALTIMORE (AP) A state pension board committee has agreed to accept a General Assembly recommendation to hire an independent investment consultant.
The action comes after the retirement system lost billions last year and finished at the bottom in a national ranking of the investment performance of large public pension funds.
The pension board's Investment Committee voted to begin the process of seeking bidders on a contract to advise the $28.4 billion retirement system, which covers 300,000 state employees, public school teachers and retirees.
The legislature's Joint Pension Committee voted last month to urge the system to get such outside investment advice.
The Investment Committee's recommendation now goes to the full pension board, which will decide whether to hire a consultant.
While accepting the recommendation to hire a consultant, Investment Committee members passed on a second legislative proposal that it adopt a standard for comparing the system's investment performance against a peer group.
Committee chairman Arthur N. Caple Jr. said the board could stop paying for the Wilshire Associates rating service, ensuring that lawmakers and the public would no longer see the Maryland system's ranking.
Mr. Caple's suggestion came after chief investment officer Carol Boykin recommended the pension system measure its performance against the Wilshire survey, which placed Maryland's pension plan last among 38 public pension systems last year.

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