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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Schipske Asks City to Pursue Investment of Pension Funds Back Into Long Beach

Says Pension System Making Billions of Investments in Other Cities and Countries to Create Jobs and Housing

Long Beach, CA – March 11, 2014 – Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske thinks the expression that “charity should being at home” might also apply to taxpayer funded pensions are invested and called on the City Council to assist Long Beach businesses in pursuing investment of City pension funds back into Long Beach.

“Ninety percent of the funds contributed by taxpayers through their cities to CalPERS that are invested by CalPERS are invested outside of California and overseas,” says Schipske, “In essence public pension funds are being used to create jobs and opportunities outside of the communities whose taxpayers are being asked to foot the bill.”

The California Public Employee Retirement System – CalPERS – administers the largest pension fund in the country. The CalPERS fund is managed by a 13-member Board of Administration, given authority over the retirement system by the state constitution.
It manages a portfolio exceed $200 billion in assets that provides retirement benefits for more than 1.1 million active and inactive public employees and around half a million retirees and beneficiaries.

CalPERS controls assets that are worth $236.6 billion as of February 23, 2012. Its investment and other income in fiscal year 2010-2011 was $43.9 billion. Employer contributions that year topped $7.46 billion and members paid $3.6 billion into the fund.

The City of Long Beach pays approximately $94 million annually to CalPERS. This includes both the total employer contribution and the contributions made by employees. The City has CalPERS assets of $3.05 billion. Long Beach is ranked 1st in terms of value of assets for all cities and 3rd for all entities. (The County of Santa Clara is ranked first.)

“It seems to me that Long Beach should be able to exert some clout to get funds invested back into our City to create private sector job growth and development of housing,” Schipske says, pointing out that CalPERS boasts of investing $20.7 billion in assets annually, some of which have been invested in private markets in areas of low income, high unemployment and high minority populations. According to the CalPERS investment report: “Access to capital is an important factor in business and productivity growth, job and wealth creation, innovation, and sustainable community and economic development. The benefits of access to capital accrue to the direct recipients of investments, and to the areas in which they are located.”

Schipske notes that the City could assist local businesses and developers in submitting proposals to CalPERS to be considered for investment. CalPERS accepts proposals in eight areas: Private Equity, Real Estate, Forestland, Infrastructure, Commodities, Global Fixed Income, Global Equities or Hedge Funds. Click here to see how to submit a proposal for investment.
Watch video to find out more about CALPERS targeted investments.

“The City Council should establish an economic development task force comprised of residents who are experts in investments to assist our local businesses and developers in getting CalPERS to invest taxpayer money back into Long Beach. We ask the Long Beach taxpayer to fund pensions and then watch as these funds are invested outside our City. We need to do whatever we can to get some of those funds back into our local economy.” 
Schipske has placed an item on the March 18th City Council asking that the City Manager report back to the City Council on how our local businesses and developers can connect with the CalPERS investment staff and what assistance the City can give to encourage CalPERS investment in Long Beach.
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