A bill filed this week in the Texas Legislature would require state agencies to divulge returns of any private equity fund in which they are invested, as well as the year the fund was created and the amount invested. "This bill balances the public's right to know certain investment information while protecting company trade secrets," according to a news release from state Rep. Dan Gattis, who proposed the legislation with state Sen. Robert Duncan. The bill will be up for discussion when the Legislature convenes in mid-January.
Organizations affected would include the $85 billion Teacher Retirement System of Texas, Austin, and the University of Texas Investment Management Co., which manages the $16 billion University of Texas endowment, Austin. New legislation also calls for board members to disclose possible conflicts of interest regarding investments.
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott is supporting the bill. He is currently being sued by TRS over his ruling earlier this year that the fund release information about its investments. Neither Tom Kelley, a spokesperson in Mr. Abbott's office, nor Howard Goldman, a spokesperson for TRS, would comment on the lawsuit.
An October statement on the UTIMCO website said Mr. Abbott's disclosure policy could have "significantly negative effects on the economic development and competitiveness in Texas, and could cost taxpayers billions of dollars in higher taxes, fees and tuition."
UTIMCO spokesman Greg Lee could not be reached for comment.