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BUSINESS
June 25, 2013 | By Marc Lifsher
SACRAMENTO -- Federal prosecutors appear to be clearing the legal way to speed up the trial of two former top state pension fund officials on fraud, conspiracy and obstruction charges. A grand jury in March indicted Federico Buenrostro Jr. of Sacramento, the former chief executive of the California Public Employees' Retirement System, and Alfred J.R. Villalobos of Reno, a former CalPERS board member and onetime deputy mayor of Los Angeles. Recent legal filings in state and federal courts in Los Angeles County, San Francisco and Reno asked judges to grant stays, halting lawsuits involving the two federal defendants.
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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
August 7, 2013 | By Chad Terhune
A new lawsuit alleges the California Public Employees' Retirement System intentionally misled more than 100,000 policyholders who purchased long-term care insurance from the giant pension fund. This case, filed Tuesday in Los Angeles County Superior Court, adds to the growing backlash against CalPERS over its recent decision to hike rates 85% for many of these policies, starting in 2015. CalPERS, which runs the nation's second-largest long-term care plan after one for federal government employees, has said the hefty rate increases are necessary to keep this insurance fund intact for future claims.
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.
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.
OPINION
February 24, 2013
Re “ CalPERS' long-term care rates to surge ,” Business, Feb. 22 I retired as a college teacher in 2009 and had bought my long-term care policy in the late '90s. I was influenced to get it by two factors: I had watched financial advisor Suze Orman on PBS support long-term care policies as a part of retirement planning, and I had watched my father forced to spend down his modest estate to virtually nothing in order to qualify my dementia-suffering mother to receive nursing home care under Medi-Cal.
BUSINESS
July 21, 2009 | Marc Lifsher
California's huge government pension fund is expected to report today a whopping annual loss of an estimated $56.8 billion, almost a quarter of its investment portfolio. The loss at the California Public Employees' Retirement System for the fiscal year ended June 30 is the second in a row for the country's largest fund. A year ago, CalPERS reported an $8.5-billion loss, as the severe recession began to take hold.
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