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Wisconsin State Fund Gets Burned

March 24, 1995|From Bloomberg Business News

MADISON, Wis. — A Wisconsin state fund said it lost $95 million in an unauthorized bet on the direction of Mexico's currency and interest rates, becoming the latest government entity to lose public money on risky investments.

The $6.7-billion fund, which invests for the state, its retirees and about 1,000 local governments, suffered the biggest investment loss by a municipality since December, when a $1.7-billion loss hit Orange County.

Wisconsin, also known for its investments in leveraged buyout funds and high-risk biotechnology stocks, lost its money on derivatives tied to the value of Mexico's peso and interest rates.

Jim Amundson, treasurer of Dane County, said he was surprised. Only a few months ago, state officials reassured him about the fund, which manages about $65 million of the rural county's money, he said.

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