August 5, 2014

Peter Scheer of the First Amendment Coalition would have you believe in his recent guest column in the San Francisco Chronicle, "Time to shine spotlight on CalPERS' private equity investments," that CalPERS' private equity deals - investments made in companies or assets that are not publicly traded on an exchange in the financial markets - were made in dimly-lit alleys by individuals in trench coats. And while it is true that former CalPERS officials broke the law and public trust with their actions, the System completed its own top-to-bottom review of its operations and made significant changes to increase transparency, reduce the potential for conflicts of interest, and ensure accountability as a result.

Scheer makes his point by asserting that "little, if any" of CalPERS' private equity investment information is available to the public. However, a quick browse of the CalPERS website will net a wealth of private equity information.

For instance, the PE Program Fund Performance Review Web page lists all CalPERS' private equity investments by fund name, including the year the investment was made, the amount committed, and the internal rate of return, among other measures.

The CalPERS Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, in addition to detailed financial and operations information about the entire CalPERS enterprise, breaks out a complete schedule of all Investment Office fees and expenses, including private equity fees paid to every manager that CalPERS has a relationship with.

When the CalPERS Board of Administration's Investment Committee meets each month, staff prepares a Total Fund Monthly Update for the Committee that gives a current snapshot of the Total Fund investment portfolio, including asset allocation and performance information. Recent investment transactions are also listed in this report. Staff also completes a more detailed report, the CIO Total Fund Performance and Risk Report, for the Committee twice a year. For CalPERS' private equity investments, this report breaks out performance by investment strategy and the external money managers that we invest with.

CalPERS Private Equity Program staff also provide an annual program update to the Committee. This is a comprehensive look at the private equity portfolio, including insights on investment strategies, market outlook, exposure by mandate and geography, and portfolio risks and opportunities, among a bevy of additional information.

CalPERS is committed to maintaining openness and transparency for its members and the public. That commitment extends to the Investment Office and our private equity investments. All of the above mentioned information is available to the public, updated regularly, and can be found on our website at any time of the day.