Do Public Pension Funds Breach Their Fiduciary Duties By Pursuing Social Issue Proposals?

Yesterday, UCLA Law School Professor Stephen Bainbridge noted the publication of a recent study that reaches some devastating conclusions for public pension funds.  The study by Professor Tracie Woidtke at the University of Tennessee found that “public pension funds’ ownership is associated with lower firm value”.  To make matters even worse, Professor Woidtke found: Social-issue

A Most Nescient Comment?


Monday was the close of the comment period on the Securities and Exchange Commission’s proposed rules with respect to listing standards requiring recovery of erroneously paid incentive compensation. In addition to myself, several commenters pointed out that the proposed rules make no allowance for state law.  I noted a potential conflict with California Labor Code

CalPERS And Pay For Performance

A few weeks ago, CalPERS’ Director of Corporate Governance, Anne Simpson, sent a letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission in support of the SEC’s proposed pay for performance disclosure rule.  Her letter notes CalPERS’ belief that “Compensation of executives in publicly listed companies should be driven predominantly by performance.”  CalPERS Global Governance Principles, California Public

CalPERS And Pay Equity

The Securities and Exchange Commission has given notice of its intent to adopt final pay ratio disclosure rules at its meeting next week.  In applauding the SEC’s proposed rules, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System observed: Finally, we believe the ratio will be a number which prompts commentary and discussion, providing an important data point

CalPERS Claims Success; Proxy Monitor Says CalPERS Success Leads To Lower Stock Prices

“Fair is Foul, and Foul is Fair” In this press release issued last week, CalPERS congratulated itself on the “success” of its proxy voting initiatives: The California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) made significant progress during the 2015 proxy season, where it voted to improve the rights of shareholders to nominate corporate directors – commonly referred

Is Buying Stock The Same As Providing Capital?

A report issued earlier this week by the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) implies otherwise.  The report entitled “CalPERS for California 2014” trumpets CalPERS’ investment in California businesses and its indirect support for jobs here.  CalPERS claims to have invested in 615 publicly traded companies headquartered in California.  In 21 of these companies, CalPERS’ investment

CalPERS Board Member Contests Attorney General’s Conflicts Position

Last December, I wrote about J.J. Jelincic, a long-term CalPERS employee who was elected for a four-year term to the Board of Administration of the California Public Employees Retirement System (aka CalPERS). Following Mr. Jelincic’s election, CalPERS’ Board voted to release him from his duties as a CalPERS employee so that he could work full-time

CalPERS Global Governance Program Targets Income Inequality

The Investment Committee of CalPERS’ Board of Administration will meet next Tuesday.   The committee, which is comprised of all 13 members of the Board of Administration, is responsible for, among other things, investment strategies and policies.  On the agenda is for next week’s meeting is an update on the fund’s strategic priorities.  The slide

CalPERS Continues To Take Shots At The Press


I continue to be shocked at CalPERS’ vitriolic approach towards the press.  In the last 12 months, CalPERS has taken on The Wall Street Journal, Fox News, several California metropolitan newspapers, several local newspapers, and bloggers.  According to CalPERS, these news organizations are misleading readers, uninformed, off base, wrong, and in need of fact-checking.  The tone of CalPERS’ responses is highly intemperate for any governmental

Muzzling Directors Who Don’t Agree

In September, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) selected Theodore “Ted” Eliopoulos as its Chief Investment Officer.  This appointment was unanimously approved by the members of the Board of Administration who voted.  One member, J.J. Jelincic, did not vote because he is on paid leave from the CIO post while serving on the CalPERS board.