Rhode Island General Treasurer Seth Magaziner brought analysts from major bond rating agencies to help municipal officials learn how the agencies evaluate cities and towns.
“By bringing the rating agencies to Rhode Island, cities and towns can hear directly from the people who evaluate their financial health, and better understand what steps will help improve their credit ratings and reduce the cost of borrowing,” Magaziner said after the Dec. 6 meeting.
The meeting at New England Institute of Technology in East Greenwich included Eric Kim and Karen Wagner from Fitch Ratings, Nick Lehman from Moody’s Investors Service and Victor Medeiros from S&P Global Ratings.
Magaziner’s office, in partnership with the Rhode Island League of Cities and Towns, and the Division of Municipal Finance at the Department of Revenue, invited officials from each of Rhode Island's 39 cities and towns as well as quasi-public agencies that have the capacity to issue public bonds.
Earlier this year, the Public Finance Management Board released a debt affordability study, which examined the borrowing capacity of all major public bond issuers statewide.
Separately, Magaziner said Rhode Island's pension fund has earned 14.1% over the past year after posting more than $108 million in investment gains in October. State Investment Commission.
Magaziner cited the "back to basics" initiative that lessened Treasury's reliance on hedge funds.
For the 12-month period ending Oct. 31, said Magaziner, the fund earned $1.05 billion, with the return beating the plan's 13.6% benchmark and a traditional 60% stock and 40% bonds portfolio, which he said would have earned 13.8%.
The value of the fund's assets has risen to $8.27 billion as of Oct. 31.