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BUSINESS
March 4, 2013 | By Shan Li
Voters in Switzerland, angered by high executive pay, backed a plan to increase the control of shareholders over compensation of corporate leaders. Nearly 70% of voters approved the so-called "Rip-Off Initiative," according to the Swiss television station SRF, which gives shareholders the right to vote on compensation for company directors and executives and bans bonuses bestowed on high-ranking employees when they join or leave a firm. "Today's vote is the result of widespread unease among the population at the exorbitant remuneration of certain company bosses," said Justice Minister Simonetta Sommaruga in a press conference over the weekend, according to the Associated Press.
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BUSINESS
February 14, 2013 | By Marc Lifsher
SACRAMENTO -- The country's second-largest public pension fund is opposing the reelection of Walt Disney Co. Chairman and Chief Executive Robert Iger to the entertainment and theme-park giant's board of directors. Citing concerns about the company's corporate governance, the $158-billion California State Teachers' Retirement System, known as CalSTRS, announced Thursday that it will vote its 5.3 million shares of Disney stock against Iger and five other board members who are up for election at an annual meeting March 6. CalSTRS' holdings in Disney are worth $263 million and represent 0.3% of the company's outstanding shares.
BUSINESS
February 8, 2013 | By Marc Lifsher
SACRAMENTO -- The California State Teachers' Retirement System, the second-biggest public pension fund in the nation, reported a return on investments of 13.5% for the just-ended calendar year. The $158-billion fund, known as CalSTRS, said it missed an overall target of 15.4% in asset growth. But it posted strong results of 16% for U.S. stocks, 17.2% for international equities, 14.6% for private equity, 6.1% for bonds and 13.5% for real estate. CalSTRS' returns were in line with last month's report of 13.3% growth during 2012 at its larger sibling, the California Public Employees' Retirement System.
BUSINESS
February 5, 2013 | By Alejandro Lazo
California has filed suit against Wall Street's biggest credit rating agency, Standard & Poor's, charging the firm with violating the state's False Claims Act by using “magic numbers” and “guesses” to inflate ratings that ultimately cost California public pension funds an estimated $1 billion. The action was filed Tuesday in San Francisco Superior Court and came a day after federal prosecutors filed suit against the bond-rating agency, alleging that S&P gave top marks to troubled mortgage-backed securities that later failed, helping to trigger the financial crisis.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 21, 2013 | By Wesley Lowery, Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said that he has asked the city's three pension funds to review all investments and work to end those in companies that manufacture assault weapons. Invoking the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting that left 27 dead in Newtown, Conn., last month, Villaraigosa on Wednesday said it was inappropriate for the city to make money off of weapons manufacturers. "It's a moral and financial imperative to end our relationship with these companies," said the mayor, who added that it was unclear how much pension money was invested in weapons makers.
NATIONAL
January 14, 2013 | By Michael Muskal
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Monday he was requesting all of his city's pension funds to divest their investments in gun manufacturers, becoming the latest public official to use the purse as a weapon in the growing battle against gun violence. Speaking in Washington on the one-month anniversary of the elementary school massacre in Newtown, Conn., Emanuel's comments come as a task force led by Vice President Joe Biden prepares to issue its recommendations on gun control. The mayor also spoke as local officials, notably New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and governors in New York and Maryland, have stepped up their efforts to curb the spread of some types of assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines.
BUSINESS
January 9, 2013 | By Marc Lifsher
SACRAMENTO -- Acting on a request from the state treasurer, the board of the state teachers pension fund has begun the process of selling its holdings in some gun and ammunition-clip manufacturers. Treasurer Bill Lockyer's motion was approved unanimously Wednesday by the Investment Committee of the $154-billion California State Teachers' Retirement System. Lockyer brought the issue to the board in response to December's mass shooting of 20 students and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Conn.
BUSINESS
December 26, 2012 | By Catherine Green
In the last year, Prudential Financial Inc. has plowed money into lemons and avocados in Ventura County, almonds and mandarins in the Central Valley and strawberries in Santa Cruz County. The insurance giant is just one of many players, including highly specialized investors and large pension funds, that have snapped up California farmland recently. The buying spree has helped push farm and ranch land values to record highs, raising questions about how long the boom might last and what effect it might have on the state's important agricultural sector.
BUSINESS
December 17, 2012 | By Tiffany Hsu and Marc Lifsher, Los Angeles Times
California Treasurer Bill Lockyer may order two giant state pension funds to strip their portfolios of any investments in gun makers after the shooting rampage at an elementary school in Connecticut. He has asked that both the California State Teachers' Retirement System and the California Public Employees' Retirement System, the nation's two biggest pension funds, provide an accounting of all such holdings. Lockyer is particularly concerned about investments in the makers of certain military-style assault weapons, which are banned in the state.
OPINION
September 23, 2012 | Jim Newton
There are a couple of assumptions guiding much of the civic conversation about public employee pension reform: first, that organized labor would fight any reform tooth and nail; and second, that labor's strong presence in Los Angeles would doom such measures to defeat. I'm starting to doubt both of those assumptions, having talked at length to former Mayor Richard Riordan about some of his ideas for dramatically altering city pensions. Riordan is gearing up to put a pension reform proposal before L.A. voters.
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