CalPERS voices support for PE team

At Tuesday’s investment committee meeting, CIO Ted Eliopoulos corrected a ‘regrettable’ error made during the pension’s August meeting, which prompted backlash from one board member and a number of bloggers.  

At its September investment committee meeting today, the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS) addressed criticism it endured after last month’s meeting, when staff incorrectly answered a question about the structure of fee-offsets.

“Our error was regrettable but human,” chief investment officer Ted Eliopoulos said during today’s meeting, which was livecast. He noted that staff had misunderstood the line of questioning and that the November meeting would include a complete educational session on private equity to answer board members’ in-depth questions. The session will be concurrent with CalPERS’ annual review of its private equity programme.

Vote of confidence 

When the August investment committee meeting videos were uploaded to the pension’s YouTube channel last month, it prompted a number of bloggers to question the pension’s private equity investing abilities.

In response to the negative attention, a previously unscheduled meeting was held by private equity head Réal Desrochers and staff alongside CalPERS’ CEO Anne Stausboll, Eliopoulos, consultant PCA and general counsel.

Private Equity International's sister publication Pfm has learned the meeting was held so CalPERS senior management could express its “full confidence” in Desrochers and the private equity team, contrary to what’s been implied by other media reports.

“We are not letting the recent attention on the [August] staff presentation overshadow CalPERS’ long standing commitment to financial transparency and reporting, and the significant steps we have taken recently to address what has been a challenge of the entire industry,” a CalPERS spokesperson told pfm via email.

The board member who challenged the private equity team last month, JJ Jelinicic, recently penned a letter to CalPERS CEO Anne Stausboll to express his dismay over the “failure of [the] investment staff to perform adequately”.

Jelinicic has had previous disagreements with the board and staff, notably in 2011