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07/24/2024 02:53 PM
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
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House of Representatives
Session of 2023 - 2024 Regular Session


Posted: May 9, 2023 02:44 PM
From: Representative Wendy Fink
To: All House members
Subject: Fiduciary Training
Recent enactments by the General Assembly have established important education and training requirements for members and designees of the SERS’ and PSERS’ boards of trustees.   Act 5 of 2017, which created hybrid and defined contribution plans within PSERS and SERS, also requires board members and designees of these two systems to obtain at least 8 hours of annual training in investment strategies, actuarial cost analysis and retirement portfolio analysis.  Act 128 of 2020 enhanced the training requirements established by Act 5 to include the topics of asset allocation and risk assessment, and to impose additional training requirements on members of the SERS’ and PSERS’ audit and compliance committees.

Needless to say, the members and designees of the SERS’ and PSERS’ boards of trustees have a great deal of responsibility as fiduciaries of these two large statewide pension systems.  Likewise, Pennsylvania Municipal Retirement System (PMRS) board members, county and local pension system board members and other officials and individuals who stand in a fiduciary relationship to public funds play a vital role in managing these funds for their beneficiaries.  Given the impact that these fiduciaries have on the financial wellbeing of so many Pennsylvanians, I believe that they should receive training in fiduciary law. 

My proposed legislation will require any trustee, board member or other appointed or elected official who stands in a fiduciary relationship to a state, county or local pension system, or to a fund of the Commonwealth, to obtain two hours of initial training and one hour of annual training in fiduciary law.  The training will focus on fiduciary law generally, a well as conflicts of interest, the prudent expert standard, self-dealing and other relevant topics. The bill also:
  • Gives a board or agency whose board members or trustees have designees the option to compensate the designees in an amount no greater than $5,000 annually; and
  • Provides for payment of legal fees in certain circumstances for fiduciaries who incur expenses in defending themselves in legal actions related to their fiduciary duties. 
I believe that it is time to build upon the strong foundation established by Acts 5 and 128. An understanding of fiduciary law is vitally important given that board members and trustees of pension funds and state fiduciary funds are called on to make decisions regarding investments, governance, funding and benefits. 
I ask that you consider cosponsoring this timely legislation. 

Introduced as HB1496