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Tag Archives: CalPERS

State Controller Betty Yee Calls for Public Discussion of CalPERS Governance Reforms Following Sudden Departure of CIO Ben Meng

CalPERS CEO Marcie Frost’s charm offensives appear to be backfiring now that more and more parties are paying attention. CalPERS best-paid officer Ben Meng departing like a bat out of hell appears to have focused a few minds. As we’ll discuss longer form, at a CalPERS “retiree roundtable” on Tuesday, Frost tried claiming that Controller Betty Yee’s concerns about CalPERS governance that Yee had voiced in the press and again in a special meeting on August 17 before Board President Henry Jones...

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CalPERS Misappropriates Funds, a Violation of the Criminal Code, By Laundering $40,000 Speaker Fee Through Randle Communications, a Nearly $500,000 a Year Advisor to Marcie Frost

As famed short seller David Einhorn would say, “No matter how bad you think it is, it’s worse.” That is particularly true of CalPERS. The results of a new Public Records Act request has exposed that not only has CalPERS paid a $40,000 fee for a single speech to entertain participants in a “stakeholder” event, an expense so unnecessarily high that it looks like an indefensible use of public funds, but also that CalPERS engaged in accounting chicanery to find the funds to pay for it. CalPERS...

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CalPERS Board Member Theresa Taylor, Under Investigation for Multi-Year Failure to Report Income, Digs Her and CalPERS’ Hole Deeper Via Supporting Conflicted Actions Taken by Ex-Chief Investment Officer Meng

It might behoove CalPERS Vice Chair of the Board and Investment Committee chair Theresa Taylor to heed folk wisdom, like “People in glass houses should not throw stones” and “When you are in a hole, stop digging.” But the saying that appears most fitting for Taylor’s idiotic intervention in the scandalously rapid exit of CalPERS CIO Ben Meng is “You can’t fix stupid.” Taylor just executed a multi-level backfire in attacking fellow board member Margaret Brown when she publicized an article in...

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CalPERS CEO Marcie Frost Moonlights? Implausibly Denies Relationship With Top Speakers’ Bureau

Why was CalPERS’ Marcie Frost apparently trying to moonlight, when she can earn over $900,000 a year as the CEO of a giant pension fund? Until yesterday, Frost was featured on All American Entertainment a paid speaker brokerage (usually referred to as a “speakers’ bureau”) which presents itself as having the largest roster of talent in the industry. We have embedded her profile at the end of the post. The reason that this solicitation is troubling is that, as we will explain shortly, the...

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CalPERS Preliminary Returns Inconsistent with Other CalPERS Data; CalPERS Refuses to ‘Splain Even Though It Ought to be Easy

The most important figures CalPERS publishes all year are its preliminary returns, which it releases shortly after its June 30 fiscal year end, and its Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, which comes out in November. In recent years, the preliminary returns have been identical to the final result, so this figure, unlike, say, the preliminary GDP estimate, is not typically revised down the road. It was therefore disconcerting to determine that the figures below, taken from CalPERS July 15...

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CalPERS Digs Its Ben Meng Defenestration Hole Deeper: Claims Knowledge of Abuse Months Ago; Notice for Emergency Closed Session Legally Invalid Unless CEO Frost’s Job Is on the Line

CalPERS looks more and more like the gang that can’t shoot straight. CalPERS’ PR department is flogging a new Bloomberg story about the unseemly departure of Chief Investment Officer Ben Meng , which means the pension fund planted it and is pleased with it. In fact, as one prominent beneficiary said, “It’s ironic that they prefer this terrible narrative over various other terrible narratives that are probably closer to the truth.” If you are late to this story, Dan Primack of Axois provided...

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CalPERS Chief Investment Officer Ben Meng Resigns Following Our Exposing His False, Felonious Financial Disclosure Filings and Private Equity Conflicts of Interest

CalPERS Chief Investment Officer Ben Meng resigned effective Wednesday August 5. This was less than three days after we exposed Meng having made multiple felonious1 false statements on financial disclosure forms as well as holding investments in private equity firms when CalPERS was making multi-hundred-billion dollar commitments to them.2 Since Meng was seen in the office in routine internal meetings Wednesday morning, it appears his departure was not voluntary. We were also first to break...

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CalPERS Chief Investment Officer Ben Meng Made False, Felonious Financial Disclosure Report; More Proof of Lack of Compliance Under Marcie Frost

CalPERS’ Chief Investment Officer Ben Meng has filed demonstrably false financial disclosure documents, flouting the requirements of the California Fair Political Practices Commission. As a result, not only has Meng committed perjury, but CalPERS’ failure to review or require Meng to correct these documents points to a major compliance failure, since CalPERS has, or should have, records that would show that Meng’s financial disclosures were incomplete.1 Recall that this lapse follows CalPERS...

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Misunderstanding Public Pension Fund Implications of Thole v. US Bank and Mayberry v. KKR

The press has described how pension fund beneficiaries have taken setbacks in two recent court decisions: the US Supreme Court case Thule v. US Bank, and Mayberry v. Kentucky Retirement Systems. I am late to post on these cases, and yet feel it is important to do so, since the commentary on them, particularly from parties who support holding public pension fund trustees and other fiduciaries accountable, has misread the importance of these cases. The fact that both rulings are deeply...

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New Study Slams Public Pension Funds’ Alternative Investments as Drag on Performance, Identifies CalPERS as One of the Worst “Negative Alphas”; Shows Folly of CalPERS’ Desperate Plan to Increase Private Equity and Debt and Go Bigger Using Leverage

We are embedding an important new study by Richard Ennis, in the authoritative Journal of Portfolio Management,1 on the performance of 46 public pension funds, including CalPERS, as well as of educational endowments. Ennis’ conclusions are damning. Both the pension funds and the endowments generated negative alpha, meaning their investment programs destroyed value compared to purely passive investing. Educational endowments did even worse than public pension funds due to their higher...

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