Replacing the SC Retirement System with the SC Retirement Investment Plan

H.4713 closes the SC Retirement System, the Retirement System for Judges and Solicitors, and the State Optional Retirement Program, replacing them with the SC Retirement Investment Plan (SCRIP). With the exception of the State Optional Retirement Plan, all current members of the old programs on June 30, 2017 would stay in those programs, but the any new enrollees would be placed in the SCRIP. The State Optional Retirement Plan would be completely shut down July 1, 2022 and its members transferred to the SCRIP.

The SC Retirement System, governed by the SC Public Employee Benefit Authority Board, would be responsible for establishing the SCRIP and appointing its administration. The bill lays out a few general plan guidelines but leaves the details in the hands of the System.

This appears to be another attempt to reform the SC Retirement System. In recent years the state’s retirement system has been heavily invested in high risk and/or questionable investments, and its annual return on investment at 1.3 percent has been one of the lowest in the nation. As we discussed here, the real problem is the lack of accountability to taxpayers through their elected officials, and this bill does not affect the leadership structure. A brand new retirement system is not a clean slate at all if the leadership does not change, and the problems plaguing the current system would continue under this bill.

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