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NEWS
January 23, 2012 | By Marc Lifsher
 The nation's largest public pension fund, the California Public Employees' Retirement System, posted a low, single-digit return on its $229.5-billion investment portfolio in 2011, Chief Investment Officer Joseph Dear told his board. The giant fund, which provides retirement and other benefits for 1.6 million state and local government employees, saw its portfolio grow by just 1.1% in the calendar year that ended Dec. 31, Dear said at a board meeting in Monterey. During the 2011 calendar year, CalPERS lost 7.95% in public equity investments and earned approximately 12.37% on its private equity investments (through the third quarter)
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BUSINESS
April 23, 2012 | By Marc Lifsher
SACRAMENTO - Federal securities regulators sued a former chief executive and a former director of the country's largest public pension fund, accusing them of scheming to defraud an investment firm of more than $20 million in fees. The Securities and Exchange Commission filed the lawsuit Monday against the former CEO, Federico Buenrostro Jr., and the former CalPERS board member, Alfred J.R. Villalobos, alleging that they fabricated documents provided to Apollo Global Management in New York.
BUSINESS
March 18, 2013 | By Marc Lifsher, This post has been updated, as indicated below.
Federal prosecutors in San Francisco indicted former CalPERS Chief Executive Fred Buenrostro and former board member Alfred J.R. Villalobos on Monday afternoon as part of a years-long investigation into possible influence-peddling and corruption. The two former officials of the California Public Employees' Retirement System were charged with fraud and obstruction of justice, according to the U.S. attorney's office in San Francisco. The federal investigation has been probing Villalobos' alleged influence-pedding in winning lucrative contracts for private equity funds that wanted to do business with CalPERS, the country's largest public pension fund.
BUSINESS
February 17, 2011 | By Marc Lifsher, Los Angeles Times
Directors of the California Public Employees' Retirement System endorsed ethics and open-government proposals but put off decisions on stronger measures aimed at avoiding conflicts of interest and self-dealing, issues that have plagued the fund over the last few years. CalPERS wrestled with recommendations from an internal review of operations after it was rocked by claims that it was too cozy with outside investment firms and allowed go-betweens to get exorbitant fees simply for referring deals to many of Wall Street's most powerful private equity, hedge fund and real estate investment managers.
BUSINESS
March 14, 2012 | By Marc Lifsher
Bowing to the realities of a volatile stock market and a weak investment climate, the board of the nation's largest public pension fund lowered its benchmark assumed rate of return. The board of the California Public Employees' Retirement System voted 9-1 Wednesday to reduce its expected average annual return from 7.75% to 7.5%. That was a quarter of a percentage point higher than what had been recommended by its chief actuary, Alan Milligan. The board also agreed to reduce its assumed average annual inflation rate from 3% to 2.75%.
BUSINESS
May 23, 2012 | By Marc Lifsher
SACRAMENTO --Adding weight to a growing backlash over alleged corruption in Mexico, the California Public Employees' Retirement System is withholding its support for the election of nineWal-Mart directors. The $228-billion CalPERS fund said it would not support the officers pending "a thorough and independent investigation into the bribery allegations" involving the company's largest foreign subsidiary, Wal-Mart de Mexico. CalPERS' announcement came a day after its smaller cousin, the California State Teachers' Retirement System, said it is opposing the election of all 16 Wal-Mart directors.
BUSINESS
December 21, 2009 | By Evan Halper and Marc Lifsher
A Nevada businessman was paid $17 million by two private equity firms to help them win business from California's giant pension fund at the same time he was working for a La Jolla company that was advising the fund on those investments. The board of the California Public Employees' Retirement System had been informed about the arrangement during a closed-door meeting. Its legal staff determined there was no conflict of interest, and the board approved $1 billion in investments with private equity funds Apollo Global Management and Aurora Capital Group.
BUSINESS
November 9, 2009 | Tom Petruno and Stuart Pfeifer
For much of the last decade the California Public Employees' Retirement System cultivated the image of a cutting-edge pension fund -- pouring billions of dollars into potentially lucrative but high-risk investments, hounding companies to rein-in executive pay and championing financial security for government workers. Now, CalPERS finds itself caught in a maelstrom of troubles that threatens its reputation as the gold standard for public pension funds. Slammed by huge investment losses in last year's meltdown of financial markets, the nation's largest public retirement plan faces questions about its long-term ability to make good on the benefits it owes more than 1.6 million workers, retirees and their families.
BUSINESS
June 23, 2013 | By Chad Terhune
When the California Public Employees' Retirement System told its Anthem Blue Cross members it would pay only up to $30,000 for a knee or hip replacement surgery, some patients shopped around for a cheaper hospital. What may be more surprising is that about 40 higher-priced hospitals in the state cut their surgery prices significantly to avoid losing patients. That response accounted for about 85% of the $5.5 million CalPERS saved over two years, researchers at UC Berkeley found, with the rest of the savings coming from patients opting for lower-cost hospitals.
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