Posts Tagged ‘Calpers’

CalPERS Bumped Pay as Fund Dived?

Courtesy of Leo Kolivakis at Zero Hedge 

Cathy Bussewitz of the Huffington Post reports, CalPERS Bumped Pay as Fund Dived (HT: Peter):

 
 

As its investment portfolio was losing nearly a quarter of its value, the country’s largest public pension fund doled out six-figure bonuses and substantial raises to its top employees, an analysis by The Associated Press has found.

Board member Tony Olivera said the California Public Employees’ Retirement System tried to reduce the bonuses but was under contractual obligations to pay them.

CalPERS’ plunging value came as stock values tumbled around the world, the state’s economy suffered its worst decline in decades and basic state services faced severe budget cuts.

Virtually all of CalPERS’ investment managers were awarded bonuses of more than $10,000 each, with several earning bonuses of more than $100,000 during the 2008-09 fiscal year. The cash awards were distributed as the fund lost $59 billion.

Steve Deutsch, director of pensions and endowment at Morningstar Inc., said many public pension plans award performance bonuses, and called CalPERS’ performance during 2008-09 "middle of the road."

"It’s absolutely very widespread, but very low profile in terms of being acknowledged, discussed, or disclosed by the plans," Deutsch said.

The revelations prompted two key Republican lawmakers to call for more oversight of how CalPERS and other state pension funds compensate employees and make investment decisions, while a Democratic lawmaker promised legislation to control salaries and bonuses.

CalPERS spokesman Brad Pacheco said bonuses are based on the fund’s performance over five years, not just the year immediately preceding the bonus, in order to encourage managers to seek long-term investments rather than short-term gains. He said bonuses in the 2008-09 fiscal year were 50 percent lower than in 2006-07 and that the market declines will continue to dampen bonuses in future years.

"Incentives are part of total compensation and critical to the fund’s long-term success as well as recruitment and retention of skilled investment professionals," Pacheco said in an e-mail.

Bonuses also were paid to employees who are not part of the fund’s investment team, including a public affairs officer who received bonuses of nearly $19,000 a year two years in a row and a human resources executive who received bonuses topping $16,000 both years.

The number of CalPERS executives making $200,000 a year or more


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What’s Wrong With Expecting a 28,000,000 Dow?

What’s Wrong With Expecting a 28,000,000 Dow?

Courtesy of Jr. Deputy Accountant 

Listen, it’s not THAT unrealistic, look at the Dow from March 2009 to now! It’s a miracle!

Schwarzenegger economic adviser David Crane writes about the bizarre situation in WSJ saying in 1999, then governor Gray Davis signed into law a bill that made looting California legal and gave state pensioners quite a boost in income based on completely unrealistic projections of fund performance (you know, the sort of stuff prospectuses warn about).

WC Varones shares a bit of CalPERS math (via WSJ):

What Calpers failed to disclose, however, was that (1) the state budget was on the hook for shortfalls should actual investment returns fall short of assumed investment returns, (2) those assumed investment returns implicitly projected the Dow Jones would reach roughly 25,000 by 2009 and 28,000,000 by 2099, unrealistic to say the least (3) shortfalls could turn out to be hundreds of billions of dollars, (4) Calpers’s own employees would benefit from the pension increases and (5) members of Calpers’s board had received contributions from the public employee unions who would benefit from the legislation. Had such a flagrant case of non-disclosure occurred in the private sector, even a sleepy SEC and US Attorney would have noticed.

Hahahahahahahahaha a 28,000,000 Dow by 2099! Now that’s funny.

F%$k schools, f&*k roads, f*%k social services, as long as our state employees are taken care of, what the hell do we need the rest of that sh*t for?! 

See also: Mish’s Social Unrest Spreads to Slovenia and Spain; Images Around the Globe; US Not Immune to Protests


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Is CNBC Pimping for State Street Bank?

The two clowns at CNBC were obnoxious to Jerry Brown; they made themselves look foolish and prompted him to write this in response. – Ilene

Is CNBC Pimping for State Street Bank?

CA Attorney General Brown Unveils Online Patient Prescription Tracking

By Jerry Brown, Attorney General of California, writing in the Huffington Post

If street thugs were to hold up a convenience store and drive off with $1 million, it would be national news. But when a venerable Boston bank rips off California’s two largest pension funds for $56 million, it’s business-as-usual — at least to the anchors of CNBC.

State Street Bank — the world’s largest servicer of pensions — systematically ripped off CalPERS and CalSTRS over a period of eight years. It did this by adding a tiny surcharge on foreign currency trades. But this adds up, especially considering that some $35 billion in 42,000 transactions were traded by these funds since 2001.

So when two whistle-blowers filed suit under seal in April 2008, attorneys from my office immediately investigated — examining hundreds of thousands of pages of documents, interviewing witnesses and subpoenaing records.

They found in the course of an 18-month investigation that State Street was contractually obligated to give CalPERS and CalSTRS the "interbank rate" at the precise time of the trade. Instead, State Street consistently charged at or near the highest rate of the day, even if the interbank rate was lower at the time of trade. And traders concealed the fraud by deliberately failing to include time stamp data in its reports, so that the pension funds could not determine the true execution costs.

When the suit was filed, we notified the media and held a press conference — to bring the fraud to light and to deter other financial traders from considering similar action. This is a routine part of prosecuting important corporate fraud cases.

But, in a commentary post today, CNBC anchor Michelle Caruso-Cabrera sneered at California’s effort to recover $200 million in damages and penalties, using a made-up quote from Elliot Spitzer to call it "quaint."

This follows an interview Tuesday that was straight out of the Daily Show. CNBC invited me on to talk about the case, and then Caruso-Cabrera asked why I would come on the air to talk about it.

Her co-anchors seemed to have no problem with the rip-off ("as long as they quoted you a dollar…
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Calpers Rolls the Dice, Gambling that Riskier Bets will Restore its Health

Calpers Rolls the Dice, Gambling that Riskier Bets will Restore its Health

calpers rolls the diceCourtesy of Mish

Calpers, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, is in deep trouble. Calpers got in trouble by not understanding risk. It still does not understand risk and thinks risk is the solution.

Please consider the New York Times article California Pension Fund Hopes Riskier Bets Will Restore Its Health.

Calpers, lost nearly $60 billion in the financial markets last year. Though it has more than enough money to make its payments to retirees for many years, it has a serious long-term shortfall.

Those problems now rest largely on the slim shoulders of Joseph A. Dear, the fund’s new head of investments. He is not an investment seer by training, but he thinks he has the cure for what ails Calpers, or the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, the largest in the nation with $180 billion in assets.

Mr. Dear wants to embrace some potentially high-risk investments in hopes of higher returns. He aims to pour billions more into beaten-down private equity and hedge funds. Junk bonds and California real estate also ride high on his list. And then there are timber, commodities and infrastructure.

That’s right, he wants to load up on many of the very assets that have been responsible for the fund’s recent plunge. Calpers’s real estate portfolio has tumbled 35 percent, and its private equity holdings are down 31 percent. What is more, under Mr. Dear’s predecessor, Calpers had to sell stocks in a falling market last year to fulfill calls for cash from its private equity and real estate partnerships. That led to bigger losses in its stock portfolio.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who is on the Calpers board, has called the fund “unsustainable.” He has specifically criticized a decision by Calpers last month to give California municipalities a break on their required contributions. Rather than stepping up contribution rates to 5 percent to cover investment losses, Calpers set a maximum increase of 1.1 percent — saving municipalities hundreds of millions of dollars.

Mr. Schwarzenegger called it a “pass the buck to our kids idea.” Calpers says municipalities, which pay 15 percent of their payroll — or about $11 billion a year — into the fund, needed the help.

In the end, Mr. Dear, who will get $408,000 to $612,000 in salary and can qualify for a


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California’s $100 Billion Whooping

California’s $100 Billion Whooping

Courtesy of Leo Kolivakis at Pension Pulse

 
California's $100 Billion Whooping

As if California didn’t have enough to deal with its budget crisis, now the FT reports that the two largest pension funds in the US have recorded steep losses following the turmoil in stock markets, with the value of their combined portfolios shrinking by almost $100bn:

The California Public Employees’ Retirement System (Calpers) and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (Calstrs) were hit by the real estate slowdown and the slump in global equities. Calpers said the fall in the value of its assets was the most severe in its history.

“This result is not a surprise; it is about what we expected, given the collapse of markets across the globe,” said Joe Dear, investment chief at Calpers.

The value of Calpers assets fell 23.4 per cent for the year to June 30, raising concerns that state employees and local governments might have to increase their ontributions to cover the shortfall.

But Calpers presented a bullish view. “The system has more than enough cash through contributions and income from investments to meet our present liabilities, so we are in a good position to ride out the current downturn and come out stronger,” said Mr Dear.

The market value of Calpers assets was $180.9bn (£110bn) on June 30, down from $237.1bn on the same date the previous year. The value of the portfolio had fallen to $160bn in March of this year but rebounded by $20bn by the end of June thanks to a partial recovery in equity markets.

Both organisations shifted a portion of their portfolios out of equities and into fixed income and real estate during the year to take advantage of lower prices.

Calpers also said it was “realigning relationships with hedge funds and private equity partners”. This would lead to “reduced fees, better alignment of interests, and more mutually beneficial long-term relationships”.

The value of Calpers real estate and private equity investments fell by 35.8 per cent and 31.4 per cent respectively in the year to June 30.

Calstrs was hit by the same macro-economic factors, with the value of its assets falling from $162.2bn to $118.8bn in the 12 months to June 30.

The organisation wrote down the value of its property holdings rather than spread the


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Calpers Sues The Rating Agencies For Bad Investment Advice

Tom Lindmark discusses the lawsuits resulting from losses due in part to rating agencies’ seemingly negligent advice. I don’t fully agree with his conclusion, though do in part – there’s plenty of responsibility to spread around, and a "day in court" is one way to divide it up. – Ilene

Courtesy of Tom Lindmark, BUT THEN WHAT?

Calpers Sues The Rating Agencies For Bad Investment Advice

rating agencies, lawsuits, bad advice

Just the first of many lawsuits of this type that will be coming down the pike but this one has some rich irony to it.

Calpers, the California retirement system manager, has filed suit against Moody’s, Standard & Poors and Fitch claiming that they are responsible for over $1 billion of losses it incurred in investments in structured investment vehicles which owned exotic financial assets.

From the NYT:

The suit from the California Public Employees Retirement System, or Calpers, a public fund known for its shareholder activism, is the latest sign of renewed scrutiny over the role that credit ratings agencies played in providing positive reports about risky securities issued during the subprime boom that have lost nearly all of their value.

The lawsuit, filed late last week in California Superior Court in San Francisco, is focused on a form of debt called structured investment vehicles, highly complex packages of securities made up of a variety of assets, including subprime mortgages. Calpers bought $1.3 billion of them in 2006; they collapsed in 2007 and 2008.

Calpers maintains that in giving these packages of securities the agencies’ highest credit rating, the three top ratings agencies — Moody’s Investors Service, Standard & Poor’s and Fitch — “made negligent misrepresentation” to the pension fund, which provides retirement benefits to 1.6 million public employees in California.

The AAA ratings given by the agencies “proved to be wildly inaccurate and unreasonably high,” according to the suit, which also said that the methods used by the rating agencies to assess these packages of securities “were seriously flawed in conception and incompetently applied.”

OK, that’s standard stuff and we will see a lot more of it. Who prevails is an open question, however, I think that if the tide does turn against the rating agencies then the legal actions are most likely money down a dry hole. There’s no way that the agencies have the funds to cover a wave of negative judgements. But here’s the most intriguing…
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Government Fraud: Pensions

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Government Fraud: Pensions

Courtesy of Karl Denninger at The Market Ticker

I warned people about this over a year ago….. 

This morning I had seen a third "notice" that there are widespread "critical shortfalls" in Union Pension Funds.

I put up a short video on the topic and am now getting emails telling me that this is more widespread than has been reported – additional funds have been sending these deficiency notices out.

And in that article I called for general strikes organized by the unions of this nation – what’s left of them anyway.

In fact, here’s the original call:

Yes, I am potentially calling for the Longshoremen to strike every port in the United States.

I am potentially calling for the Teamsters to strike.

I am potentially calling for every State Employee covered by CALPERS to strike.

Of course none of them did.

Now we get this from The Wall Street Journal:

Public employee pension plans are plagued by overgenerous benefits, chronic underfunding, and now trillion dollar stock-market losses. Based on their preferred accounting methods — which discount future liabilities based on high but uncertain returns projected for investments — these plans are underfunded nationally by around $310 billion.

The numbers are worse using market valuation methods (the methods private-sector plans must use), which discount benefit liabilities at lower interest rates to reflect the chance that the expected returns won’t be realized. Using that method, University of Chicago economists Robert Novy-Marx and Joshua Rauh calculate that, even prior to the market collapse, public pensions were actually short by nearly $2 trillion.

Oh, so there’s a little book-cooking going on?

Yeah, you’ve got these "public" pension plans that don’t like the rules that private pension plans have to use for their accounting, and this is what they’re telling their "auditors":

Some public pension administrators have a strategy, though: Keep taxpayers unsuspecting. The Montana Public Employees’ Retirement Board and the Montana Teachers’ Retirement System declare in a recent solicitation for actuarial services that "If the Primary Actuary or the Actuarial Firm supports [market valuation] for


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ValueWalk

The Classic Harbinger Of A Recession

By Louis Navellier. Originally published at ValueWalk.

In his Daily Market Notes report to investors, while commenting on recession, Louis Navellier wrote:

Goodbye and good riddance to the 1st half of ’22, as the focus shifts from inflation to growth.

Harbinger of Recession

Stocks were modestly in the green on the open after a tough week, but have since headed firmly into the red.  The big concern today is how much interest rates have dropped, reflecting a fear of recession.

...

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Zero Hedge

Blain: "Markets Are Still In Denial/Fool-Themselves Mode"

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

Authored by Bill Blain via MorningPorridge.com,

“Cheer up my lads ‘tis to glory we steer, to add something new to this wonderful year…”

Stocks tumbled 20% in H1, but Central Banks are fixated on Inflation as the No 1 priority with higher interest rates nailed on. Supply chain issues remain difficult, meaning corporate earnings will remain under pressure. The market is setting up for further weakness through H2....



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Nvidia Stock On The Ropes As Semiconductors Leadership Tested!

Courtesy of Chris Kimble

It is imperative for active investors to understand the importance of market leadership, both on the way up and down.

And this is proving to be very true of the Semiconductors sector. The Semis played a HUGE role in the tech bull market, helping to push the Nasdaq and Nasdaq 100 higher and higher over more than a decade.

But, as we have covered several times this year (click here for our latest article on Semis), tech turned lower late last year… and the Semis were the warning as a leader to the downside.

So t...



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Phil's Favorites

Kremlin tightens control over Russians' online lives - threatening domestic freedoms and the global internet

 

Kremlin tightens control over Russians’ online lives – threatening domestic freedoms and the global internet

Russia has pioneered the concept of digital sovereignty and used it to severely restrict Russians’ access to the internet. NurPhoto via Getty Images

Courtesy of Stanislav Budnitsky, Indiana University

Since the start of Russia’s war on Ukraine in late February 2022, Russian internet users have experienced what has been dubbed the descent of a “...



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Politics

Kremlin tightens control over Russians' online lives - threatening domestic freedoms and the global internet

 

Kremlin tightens control over Russians’ online lives – threatening domestic freedoms and the global internet

Russia has pioneered the concept of digital sovereignty and used it to severely restrict Russians’ access to the internet. NurPhoto via Getty Images

Courtesy of Stanislav Budnitsky, Indiana University

Since the start of Russia’s war on Ukraine in late February 2022, Russian internet users have experienced what has been dubbed the descent of a “...



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Chart School

Gold Stocks Review

Courtesy of Read the Ticker

Gold miners do well when gold is higher, and borrowing and gasoline costs are lower.

Lets start with a question: Why do governments own gold?

1) The need it to support their economy during an energy crisis. If their currency is collapsing oil producers will not take fiat for settlement, but they will accept gold.
2) While the US prints money the purchasing power of the US dollar is declining, hence gold is a hedge.

A particular market action which forces traders to move gold higher is when oil moves higher while the US dollar falls. This means the US dollar is losing purchasing power against oil, therefore gold will go higher as the demand for (1) above explodes. Some history, gold moved higher sharply in these years 2007, 2011, 2016, 2020. All ...

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Digital Currencies

Scams and cryptocurrency can go hand in hand - here's how they work and what to watch out for

 

Scams and cryptocurrency can go hand in hand – here’s how they work and what to watch out for

The anonymous nature of cryptocurrency transactions is ideal for con artists. seksan Mongkhonkhamsao/Moment via Getty Images

Courtesy of Yaniv Hanoch, University of Southampton and Stacey Wood, Scripps College

When one of our students told us they were going to drop out of college ...



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Biotech/COVID-19

At last, COVID-19 shots for little kids - 5 essential reads

 

At last, COVID-19 shots for little kids – 5 essential reads

Millions of U.S. children between the ages of 6 months and 4 years will soon be eligible for COVID-19 shots. FatCamera/E+ via Getty Images

Courtesy of Amanda Mascarelli, The Conversation

For many parents of kids under age 5, a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine could not come soon enough. A full year and a half after shots first became available for adults, their wait is nearly over.

On June 17, 2022, the Food and Drug Administration ...



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Promotions

Phil: Be the House Not the Gambler at the Fintech Conference in Vegas

 

Phil gave an excellent, educational presentation called "Be the House Not the Gambler: Using Stock Options to Significantly Boost Your Portfolio Performance" at the FinTwit Conference hosted by Lupton Capital and Benzinga on May 14 in Las Vegas. The video is set to start playing at 5:30:45, when Phil takes the stage (but you can see previous presentations by backtracking).

AGENDA 
9:00 AM Opening Remarks with Jonah Lupton, Entrepreneur & Investor
9:05 AM Wagging the Dog: How to Profit From Derivative Driven Moves in the Market with Steven Place, Founder, Investingwithoptions.com
10:00 AM The MarketWebs & The Path of Least Resistance, Christian Fromhertz, CEO, The Tribeca Trade Group
10:55 AM Fireside Chat with Gareth Mann, Founder & CEO, AlphaStream & Spencer Israel, Executive Producer, Benzinga
11:25 AM Sponsor Pitch: Carolyn Bao, VP of Marke...



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Mapping The Market

Suez Canal: Critical Waterway Comes to a Halt

 

Suez Canal: Critical Waterway Comes to a Halt

Courtesy of Marcus Lu, Visual Capitalist

The Suez Canal: A Critical Waterway Comes to a Halt

On March 23, 2021, a massive ship named Ever Given became lodged in the Suez Canal, completely blocking traffic in both directions. According to the Suez Canal Authority, the 1,312 foot long (400 m) container ship ran aground during a sandstorm that caused low visibility, impacting the ship’s navigation. The vessel is owned by Taiwanese shipping firm, Evergreen Marine.

With over 2...



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The Technical Traders

Adaptive Fibonacci Price Modeling System Suggests Market Peak May Be Near

Courtesy of Technical Traders

Our Adaptive Fibonacci Price Modeling system is suggesting a moderate price peak may be already setting up in the NASDAQ while the Dow Jones, S&P500, and Transportation Index continue to rally beyond the projected Fibonacci Price Expansion Levels.  This indicates that capital may be shifting away from the already lofty Technology sector and into Basic Materials, Financials, Energy, Consumer Staples, Utilities, as well as other sectors.

This type of a structural market shift indicates a move away from speculation and towards Blue Chip returns. It suggests traders and investors are expecting the US consumer to come back strong (or at least hold up the market at...



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Lee's Free Thinking

Texas, Florida, Arizona, Georgia - The Branch COVIDIANS Are Still Burning Down the House

 

Texas, Florida, Arizona, Georgia – The Branch COVIDIANS Are Still Burning Down the House

Courtesy of Lee Adler, WallStreetExaminer 

The numbers of new cases in some of the hardest hit COVID19 states have started to plateau, or even decline, over the past few days. A few pundits have noted it and concluded that it was a hopeful sign. 

Is it real or is something else going on? Like a restriction in the numbers of tests, or simply the inability to test enough, or are some people simply giving up on getting tested? Because as we all know from our dear leader, the less testing, the less...



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Insider Scoop

Economic Data Scheduled For Friday

Courtesy of Benzinga

  • Data on nonfarm payrolls and unemployment rate for March will be released at 8:30 a.m. ET.
  • US Services Purchasing Managers' Index for March is scheduled for release at 9:45 a.m. ET.
  • The ISM's non-manufacturing index for March will be released at 10:00 a.m. ET.
  • The Baker Hughes North American rig count report for the latest week is scheduled for release at 1:00 p.m. ET.
...

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