CalPERS officials have approved a plan to launch an internally managed passive international equity fund, targeting up to 50% of the $30 billion currently being managed by State Street Global Advisors in a fund benchmarked to a customized FTSE index, according to Brad Pacheco, spokesman. Officials of the $182.3 billion California Public Employees' Retirement System, Sacramento, expect to start the fund with $5 billion in May once additional staff members, including an investment officer, are hired and internal testing of its proprietary index is complete. The move, approved earlier this week, is an effort to diversify the system's international equity investment. Consultant Wilshire Associates backed the change but said in a memo to CalPERS CIO Mark Anson that a plan for compliance and oversight should be developed.
Separately, Rob Feckner today was named CalPERS board president, according to a news release. Mr. Feckner has been acting president since late last year when his predecessor, Sean Harrigan, was voted out because of criticism regarding the pension fund's stances on corporate governance reform. Mr. Feckner, who has worked for 27 years in the Napa Valley Unified School District, has been board vice president and chairman of the board investment committee for the past two years. Also, Robert Carlson was elected vice president. Mr. Carlson is the senior member of the CalPERS board, having served continuously since 1971. He was board president from 1976 to 1985 and vice president from 2000 to 2002. Mr. Carlson was chief counsel for the California Department of Transportation; he retired from that position in 1985.
Also today, the CalPERS board of administration voted to oppose legislation that calls for a constitutional amendment that would shift the state's public pension plans from defined benefit to defined contribution. The two bills, which would affect newly hired public employees, would go into effect July 1, 2007. If either bill passes, it would require voter approval during the next statewide election.