Chief of Pa. employees pension fund resigns

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The chairman of the $25 billion Pennsylvania State Employees’ Retirement System is retiring from his job.

He’s leaving voluntarily amid charges of mismanagement.

Nicholas Maiale, a former state legislator from Philadelphia who has been chairman of the retirement system since 1992, said he resigned for a number of reasons.

Maiale said he was largely responsible for hiring Anthony Clark, the chief investment officer at SERS who recently stepped down following allegations that he engaged in private day trading while on the job and withheld information from the board about a pension fund investment that went bad.

“I think he did a good job, but these misconduct allegations were troubling,” Maiale said. “Add that to the fact the General Counsel’s office that advises me and the board mishandled the matter by not telling us for two months what they knew and we didn’t know until the day before Thanksgiving.”

Clark chose to retire, and his attorney has denied any wrongdoing.

State Treasurer Rob McCord had accused Maiale of mismanaging the Clark probe and had called on Gov. Tom Corbett to replace him.

“I called for the resignation,” he said. “It was important for us to have a shift toward fuller transparency and reduced fees and better return per unit of risk … I just think I think we can do better.”

The change is in the best interest of Pennsylvania retirees, McCord said.

“I think it’s good to have a certain rotation in boards and board chairmanships,” he said. “I do not believe in incumbent protection and that we ought to be taking a look at appropriate transitions.”

Maiale, who didn’t address McCord’s accusations directly, said that after more than two decades in the job it was time to go.

“I always felt that when I no longer enjoyed it, I would give it up and it’s certainly been the case since Thanksgiving,” he said.

No replacement has been announced.

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