CalPERS agreed Wednesday to disclose performance information for private equity investments, a step toward greater openness in evaluating the financial performance of leveraged buyout and venture funds.
The California Public Employees' Retirement System, the largest U.S. pension fund with $135 billion invested, will release the performance data for each of the pension fund's private equity funds, including the date the investment was made and the profits returned to the system, CalPERS said.
CalPERS, which was sued in October by the San Jose Mercury News, is one of several state pension funds caught in a clash between pressure for better financial reporting in the wake of corporate accounting scandals and private equity firms' requirements for confidentiality.
CalPERS had said on Tuesday that it was considering greater disclosure.
"Ending this lawsuit frees us to work proactively on developing an industry standard for private equity reporting that allows us to do our fiduciary duty and provide maximum transparency," William Crist, president of CalPERS' board of administration, said.
Karl Olson, attorney for the Mercury News, had no immediate comment.
CalPERS said it will release data for the quarters ended June 30, Sept. 30 and Dec. 31, 2002, and March 30, 2003. In exchange, the Mercury News will withdraw all claims, according to the statement.
CalPERS has $20 billion committed to private equity investments.
The disclosure could put pressure on public institutions to provide details of private equity performance and lead to restrictions on investments by state pension systems in the $250 billion of funds managed by U.S. private equity firms.
Also Wednesday, CalPERS' investment committee chairman, Michael Flaherman, said he will join New Mountain Capital Group, a private equity firm in which CalPERS has a $100-million stake.
Flaherman, 37, will join New York-based New Mountain on Jan. 20 when his previously announced retirement from CalPERS takes effect.