California's Key Fiscal Officers

Learn about the California's Key Fiscal Officers at State of California Investor Relations, including our State Treasurer, Director of Finance, and State Controller.
Photo of Fiona Ma

Fiona Ma

State Treasurer
(800) 900-3873

The office of The California State Treasurer has broad responsibilities and authority in the areas of investment and finance.

The Treasurer is elected statewide every four years. In addition to being the State's lead asset manager, banker and financier, the Treasurer serves as chairperson or a member of numerous State authorities, boards and commissions.

Below are some of the Treasurer's key responsibilities:

  • The Treasurer's Office serves as agent-for-sale on all State bonds and other forms of indebtedness, and provides debt administration services for most State agencies. 

  • The Treasurer's Office finances a variety of important public works needed for the State's future, including schools and higher education facilities, transportation projects, parks, and environmental projects.

  • The Treasurer's Office manages the State's Pooled Money Investment Account, which invests monies on behalf of state government and local jurisdictions to help them manage their fiscal affairs.

  • The Treasurer serves on the boards of the Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) and State Teachers' Retirement System (CalSTRS). CalPERS and CalSTRS are significant investors/stockholders in the American and global economies.  The pension funds provide for the retirement of their members and also perform a variety of other services for them.  As an example, CalPERS is the second largest purchaser of health care services in the country.

  • The Treasurer chairs authorities that finance a wide range of significant projects, including pollution clean-up, small businesses and health care facilities.  She also chairs the State commission that awards low-cost, tax-exempt financing for various purposes such as housing, economic development, and student loans.

  • The Treasurer plays a key role in statewide housing finance as Chair of the Tax Credit Allocation Committee that awards hundreds of millions of dollars in tax credits for affordable housing and as a member of the Board of the California Housing Finance Agency, which finances affordable housing.

  • The Treasurer oversees the ScholarShare Investment Board (SIB), which administers the State's tax-advantaged college tuition savings plan.


Photo of Joe Stephenshaw

Joe Stephenshaw

Director of Finance
(916) 445-4141

The Director of Finance is appointed by the Governor and serves as the Governor's chief fiscal policy advisor.  The Director is a member of the Governor's cabinet and senior staff.  The Director serves as a chair or member of more than 100 state boards and commissions.

The Director leads the Department of Finance, which has the following principal functions:

  • Establish appropriate fiscal policies to carry out the State's programs.

  • Prepare, explain, and administer the State's annual financial plan (budget), which the Governor is required under the State Constitution to present by January 10 of each year.

  • Analyze legislation which has a fiscal impact.

  • Maintain the California State Accounting and Reporting System (CALSTARS).

  • Train and support departmental accounting.

  • Monitor/audit expenditures by State departments to ensure compliance with law, approved standards, and policies.

  • Develop economic forecasts and revenue estimates.

  • Develop population and enrollment estimates and projections.

  • Conduct fiscal analyses of proposed statewide information technology (IT) policies and enterprise initiatives and perform oversight of critical IT projects.


Photo of Malia Cohen

Malia Cohen

State Controller
(916) 445-2636

As the chief fiscal officer of California, the State Controller has broad responsibilities for disbursement and accountability of the State’s financial resources. 

The Controller is elected statewide every four years.  (In some states, this government official is called a Comptroller.)  The Controller’s key duties include: 

  • Serving on the boards of the Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) and State Teachers' Retirement System (CalSTRS), the nation’s two largest public pension funds;

  • Chairing the Franchise Tax Board and serving as a member of the Board of Equalization;

  • Serving on 65 other boards, commissions, and financial oversight authorities with authority ranging from state public land management to housing to crime victim compensation;

  • Independently auditing government agencies that spend state funds;

  • Performing statewide accounting and reporting functions, issuing reports on the financial condition of government entities, and issuing payments to local governments and schools;

  • Safeguarding many types of lost property (e.g., bank accounts, uncashed checks, insurance benefits, wages, stocks, bonds, safe deposit box contents) until claimed by the rightful owners; and 

  • Administering disbursements from the State Treasury, annually issuing about 49 million warrants and transfers including state employee payroll, retirement rolls, Medi-Cal, personal income tax refunds, and payments to vendors.