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Ron Elmer on How He'd Save Money as NC Treasurer | NC Channel

Not a Politician

My Story; My Goals

$500 Million

Professional Money Manager

Ron's Plan

NC Retirement Systems Pension Improvements

  1. Move investment management to an in-house index strategy
    1. save up to $500 million direct investment manager fees
    2. save up to $500 million of indirect transaction costs
    3. eliminates pay-to-play
    4. boosts returns 1-2%
    5. reduces burden to tax payer
    6. free up $1 billion that could be used to pay teachers/gov’t employees/retirees more or pay for health care coverage
  2. Publish Audited Financial Statements
    1. Pension financial statements last published in 2001
    2. Never audited by an independent 3rd party auditor
    3. No financials is how investment management fees grew 10x or 1,000% from $50MM to $500 MM with no one noticing
  3. Stop electing unqualified sole-trustee (what are the options?)
    1. Keep “sole-trustee Treasurer” but make it an appointed position (not elected)
    2. Keep electing “sole-trustee Treasurer” but impose minimum requirements
    3. Elect Treasurer with no requirements but give trustee power to a board

Supplemental Retirement System – 401(k) Improvements

  1. Copy the Federal Thrift Savings Plan
  2. Do what we did with the 529 College Savings Plan
  3. Streamline – too many options are both confusing and expensive

State Health Plan Improvements

  1. Stop over payments to certain service providers – save $200-300 million
  2. Use savings to reduce employee’s 100% burden of spousal coverage
  3. Push for Medicaid expansion to help rural providers subsidized by SHP

Securing Retirement

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Strengthen the State Pension Plan

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Conservative Debt Management

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Protect our AAA Credit Rating

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Optimize the State Health Plan

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Economic Development & Jobs

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Advance Financial Literacy

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Side-by-Side Comparison

When selecting North Carolina's next treasurer, shouldn't financial experience and expertise trump political pedigree?

  Ron Elmer Dan Blue III
Financial Education MBA - NYU MBA - Duke
Financial Credentials
  • CPA - Certified Public Accountant
  • CFA - Chartered Financial Analyst
  • CFP® - Certified Financial Planner™
None
Prior Financial Experience 25 Years 2 Years
Investment Management Experience 18 Years None
Pension Investment Experience 10 Years None
Has taught college-level finance classes Yes No
Investment Books Written 4 Books None
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QUESTIONS ANSWERED

My campaign has been an amazing experience of talking with voters all over our state and it saddens me that it has to come to an end. I want to thank you all who posted signs in your yards, called your friends to spread the word, and donated your hard earned money to my campaign. I know it was our message of financial experience and self-reliance that compelled more than 380,000 of you to cast your votes in my name. I still believe that there are better ways to manage the pension in North Carolina but this year, at least, we raised the level of debate. I wish Dan Blue III good luck and good fortune as he moves forward as the Democratic nominee for Treasurer.

Newsroom

North Carolina Finally Has A Good Choice For State Treasurer

...Elmer, a Cary financial planner, believes the treasurer shouldn’t rely on those outside investors – and shouldn’t pay millions in fees to them each year. He proposes converting the pension fund to an index fund, which would be run by a team of six employees in the treasurer’s office.

Doing so would save the state at least $100 million a year, he says.

Elmer has the background to make it work. He’s managed investments for BB&T, First Citizens Bank and pharmaceutical company Warner-Lambert. Those investments include a $2 billion stock index fund for the North Carolina pension fund. “This is what I’ve done as a career,” he told the editorial board....

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The Democratic primary for N.C. treasurer offers voters one of the most intriguing decisions in the 2016 election. The race’s two candidates – Dan Blue III and Ron Elmer – not only would bring different backgrounds to the office. They have dramatically different ideas on how the treasurer’s job should be done.

The winner faces Republican Dale Folwell, the former Employee Security Division leader who is unopposed in the primary. Current treasurer Janet Cowell announced last year that she would not run for re-election.

The treasurer’s office oversees the State Health Plan and manages the state retirement system’s pension fund, which is a $90 billion portfolio of equities, bonds and other investments.

Blue – the son of longtime state Sen. Dan Blue Jr. – is a Raleigh attorney with some but not much investment experience. He also was founder and former executive director of the Pharmaceutical Institute, a Raleigh healthcare consultant.

Blue, who has been endorsed by Cowell, would continue the treasurer’s office practice of hiring third-party investors to manage the pension fund’s stocks, which make up almost half the overall pension fund portfolio. Bonds, which make up a third of the overall portfolio, are managed in-house.

Elmer, a Cary financial planner, believes the treasurer shouldn’t rely on those outside investors – and shouldn’t pay millions in fees to them each year. He proposes converting the pension fund to an index fund, which would be run by a team of six employees in the treasurer’s office.

Doing so would save the state at least $100 million a year, he says.

Elmer has the background to make it work. He’s managed investments for BB&T, First Citizens Bank and pharmaceutical company Warner-Lambert. Those investments include a $2 billion stock index fund for the North Carolina pension fund. “This is what I’ve done as a career,” he told the editorial board.

Others also believe Elmer’s plan can work, including N.C. State professor of finance Richard Warr, who said Elmer could save the pension fund more than $500 million annually. The State Employees Association of North Carolina, which has an obvious interest in the pension fund’s success, has endorsed Elmer.

The treasurer also has other duties, including offering fiscal advice to state and local government. Elmer’s financial experience, which includes teaching college-level classes and writing books on investing, certainly qualifies him for those tasks, too. But his pension fund proposals stand out. Even Blue won’t dismiss Elmer’s ideas, telling the editorial board they are worth investigating. We agree. Elmer deserves the nod in the Democratic primary.

Secretary of state

Funeral home company owner A.J. Daoud and consulting firm owner Michael LaPaglia are vying in the Republican primary for Secretary of State. The winner advances to face incumbent Democrat Elaine Marshall in November.

Daoud makes the stronger case of the two primary candidates. Daoud, who lives near Pilot Mountain, is making his second run at the office. He owns a string of funeral home businesses and was once vice president of a public funeral services company, supervising a $16 million budget.

He shows a strong grasp of the challenges facing small businesses. He said he would make the Secretary of State’s office more customer-friendly by improving its website and streamlining paperwork requirements.

Of the candidates, his party roots are deeper. He served as a lottery commissioner and as the GOP’s 6th Congressional District chairman. LaPaglia shows admirable passion for helping small businesses, but his resume is thinner than Daoud’s.

Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/opinion/editorials/article64089157.html#storylink=cpy

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North Carolina Finally Has A Good Choice For State Treasurer

...Ron Elmer’s platform echoes the common sense reforms my forensic investigative report outlined two years ago. Mr. Elmer, a CPA, has committed not only to publishing financial statements for the North Carolina state pension fund for the first time in 15 years, but also an independent audit of the pension for the first time – ever....

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Over the past 15 years, the North Carolina state pension’s funding ratio has deteriorated – falling from 112.8% to 94.8%. The major reasons for the decline—excessive undisclosed fees and wildly speculative hedge and private equity investing—were detailed in my forensic investigation of the almost $100 billion pension in the spring of 2014. Thankfully, for whatever reasons, current North Carolina Treasurer Janet Cowell—having exponentially increased the fees paid to her pals on Wall Street—has decided not to seek reelection.

Can’t imagine where she’ll surface next.

On March 15th, North Carolinian’s will head to the polls with a choice between two candidates for State Treasurer in the Democratic primary: CPA and investment manager Ron Elmer, and attorney Dan Blue III.

Ron Elmer’s platform echoes the common sense reforms my forensic investigative report outlined two years ago. Mr. Elmer, a CPA, has committed not only to publishing financial statements for the North Carolina state pension fund for the first time in 15 years, but also an independent audit of the pension for the first time – ever.

Elmer has pledged not to take campaign contributions from Wall Street but his goals are bigger than winning the Treasurer’s race without Wall Street’s money. He plans to end pay-to-play permanently in the Treasurer’s office by firing as many of the external managers as possible, bringing North Carolina’s money home, and managing assets in-house using an indexing strategy. Finally, Elmer plans to replace the widely-criticized “sole-trustee” power of the State Treasurer with a Board of Trustee structure filled with relevant stakeholders – not Wall Streeters.

Thus, the next Treasurer won’t be able to dole out million dollar investment contracts to campaign contributors without the full consent of the Board of Trustees who would have to vote to move investments from in-house management back to the outhouse.

Don’t let Elmer’s plan to manage investments in-house disturb you – he’s done it before. He has previously worked within a corporate pension fund as an internal investment manager. Elmer has managed state pension investments for Georgia and California, but more importantly, Elmer has previously managed a $2 billion stock index fund for the North Carolina pension fund. He has quite literally “done this before” and just wants to “do it across town in the Treasurer’s office and save North Carolina hundreds of millions of dollars annually.”

North Carolina’s State Treasurer has diverse responsibilities beyond managing the pension investments. But, Elmer seems to have the edge in many facets of the Treasurer’s myriad duties. North Carolina’s Treasurer sits on more boards and commissions than any other elected official.

Elmer likes to point out, “when selecting North Carolina’s next state treasurer, financial experience and expertise should trump political pedigree.” It was no surprise to me that the State Employees Association of North Carolina (SEANC) undertook the most thorough of vetting processes for candidates for state treasurer – a grueling 2-hour Q&A public forum—and ultimately endorsed Elmer as their choice for North Carolina’s next State Treasurer.

For the past four elections Wall Street has hand-picked North Carolina’s State Treasurer, costing pension stakeholders billions. North Carolinians have a chance to break the cycle. Let’s hope they understand the past pension looting and seize the opportunity to end it.

Read more here: http://www.forbes.com/sites/edwardsiedle/2016/03/01/finally-north-carolina-has-a-good-choice-for-state-treasurer/#37c0ab5879cb

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Ron Elmer gets key endorsement from SEANC in treasurer’s race

The political arm of the State Employees Association of North Carolina, or SEANC, has made its pick in the state treasurer’s race.

EMPAC, the association’s political action committee, announced Tuesday that it’s endorsing Democrat Ron Elmer, a CPA from Cary who has sought the position before.

Elmer is facing Raleigh attorney and former Wake County Democratic Party Chairman Dan Blue III in the Democratic primary on March 15. Blue is the son of longtime state Sen. Dan Blue. The winner of the primary will face Republican Dale Folwell, a former legislator and head of the Employment Security Commission.

EMPAC picked Elmer over Blue and...

Read More

The political arm of the State Employees Association of North Carolina, or SEANC, has made its pick in the state treasurer’s race.

EMPAC, the association’s political action committee, announced Tuesday that it’s endorsing Democrat Ron Elmer, a CPA from Cary who has sought the position before.

Elmer is facing Raleigh attorney and former Wake County Democratic Party Chairman Dan Blue III in the Democratic primary on March 15. Blue is the son of longtime state Sen. Dan Blue. The winner of the primary will face Republican Dale Folwell, a former legislator and head of the Employment Security Commission.

EMPAC picked Elmer over Blue and Folwell following a forum attended by all three candidates. The treasurer's office oversees the State Health Plan and the state retirement system – meaning state employees have a major interest in who replaces current treasurer Janet Cowell.

"It was clear that Ron Elmer had the knowledge and skills needed to fairly work with state employees as state treasurer," said EMPAC chairman Tony Smith in a news release. "His pledge to save taxpayers more than $100 million annually in investment fees through better management of the retirement system is sorely needed. We look forward to working with him to cut cost and provide stability to the State Health Plan as well."

Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/politics-columns-blogs/under-the-dome/article59302733.html#storylink=cpy

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CARY CPA ANNOUNCES RUN FOR STATE TREASURER

RALEIGH, N.C. – Ron Elmer, a certified public account and professional money manager, announced today his campaign for State Treasurer. Elmer, a Democrat, says he will focus on his professional resume and experience.

“I’m not a politician. I don’t have a long political pedigree. I am a professional money manager and a certified public accountant who has managed billions of dollars in the equity and bond markets,” said Elmer.

Elmer pledged to...

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RALEIGH, N.C. – Ron Elmer, a certified public account and professional money manager, announced today his campaign for State Treasurer. Elmer, a Democrat, says he will focus on his professional resume and experience.

“I’m not a politician. I don’t have a long political pedigree. I am a professional money manager and a certified public accountant who has managed billions of dollars in the equity and bond markets,” said Elmer.

Elmer pledged to save North Carolina taxpayers more than $100 million a year by stopping the practice of contracting out the management of the state’s stock portfolio. “I have the experience and background to bring into the Treasurer’s office the management of our state’s stock portfolio. If we manage those funds, we can save the state money by avoiding paying management fees to fund managers on Wall Street,” said Elmer.

“If you want an experienced money manager investing the state’s money then I want your support. If you want a politician as your next Treasurer, I’m not your candidate.”

The State Treasurer manages more than $90 billion in investment funds for the State of North Carolina including the State Employees & Teachers Retirement Fund, the State Health Plan and the Local Government Commission.

“I will bring a high level of experience in money management to this job. I will be innovating. I will be transparent. I will be accountable and responsive. I will work to manage our state’s funds in a manner that maximizes performance and provides tangible results and savings for our citizens,” said Elmer.

Elmer holds a BBA degree in Finance from the University of Oklahoma and an MBA in Finance and Accounting from New York University. He’s earned the CFA designation in investment management, the CFP® designation in financial planning and holds a CPA license in North Carolina.

Elmer formerly managed the Equity Division as Vice President for First Citizens Bank where he managed $2 billion of the stock portfolio for the North Carolina Retirement System and was a bond analyst and Vice President at BB&T. More recently Elmer was the Director of Equity Research at NCM Capital Management, a Durham institutional investment manager specializing in the management of pension investments. An author of four books about investment management, Elmer has taught finance at Strayer University and NC State University where he annually coaches a team of MBA students in the CFA Institute’s Stock Research Challenge. He now owns his own tax and financial planning business in Cary where he lives with his wife and eleven-year-old twins.

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Ron Elmer for Treasurer
2054 Kildaire Farm Road #277
Cary NC 27518​
P:919-749-6737
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