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  • Michael Rosen Michael Rosen
  • Investment Insights are written by Angeles' CIO Michael Rosen

    Michael has more than 30 years experience as an institutional portfolio manager, investment strategist, trader and academic.

"SPECIAL"?

Published: 11-13-2014

The following item caught my eye on Bloomberg:

Los Angeles City Employees’ Retirement System is scheduled to discuss a staff report requested at a prior meeting on the pension’s specialized private equity and real estate investment programs…. The programs agenda targeted “emerging managers, funds focused on underserved markets, demographically targeted partnerships, and geographically targeted investments.”

Since inception in 2004, the programs have committed $198 million to 23 funds that have earned an average annual return of 3 percent, according to the staff report. Within that, seven non-traditional real estate investments have returned negative 4 percent.

An annualized loss of 4% in real estate over the past decade?! Even 3% p.a. for 10 years in private equity?! Is this “specialized” program a bad idea or just bad execution? (the choice is not mutually exclusive—it could be both). I’d be curious to know how many other public plans have similar programs and how those programs have performed.

Kudos to whomever it was at LACERS who asked for this program to be reviewed. I’m sure (hope) the trustees will remember their fiduciary obligation is to the beneficiaries of the System, and ultimately, to the taxpayers who are on the hook for the decisions these trustees make.

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