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North Carolina State Treasurer Janet Cowell, right, is sworn into office Jan. 10, 2009 in Raleigh, N.C. (AP Photo/Jim R. Bounds)

June 26 (Bloomberg) — A legislative fight between North Carolina Treasurer Janet Cowell and a state employee association is signaling growing tension over disclosure practices as public pensions seek to improve returns with alternative investments.

Cowell, a 45-year-old Democrat, opposed a bill by the State Employees Association of North Carolina to require more disclosure about deals with Wall Street firms hired to manage alternatives to stocks and bonds for the $87 billion pension she controls. Cowell warned that giving out more information would cost more than $1.8 billion for violating secrecy agreements, and instead supported a bill that would conceal details for five years after a contract is completed.

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