CalPERS Again Postpones Philippines Decision

March 16, 2004 (—The nation's largest pension fund, the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) has postponed its decision regarding whether or not to continue investment in the Philippines for another month.

This is the second time CalPERS has postponed this decision (see CalPERS Tables Philippines Decision ), which was made at a board of directors meeting where Philippine officials appealed to the board to keep the country on CalPERS’ list of permissible investment sites.

The pension fund made the decision despite CalPERS consultant Wilshire Consulting’s recommendation to remove the country from the list.  During the one-year “cure period”, the Philippines was supposed to correct deficiencies in its system to qualify permanently as an investment site, but it still fell below Wilshire’s cut-off point of two points, scoring a 1.86.  Wilshire had given the country low scores in areas of market practices and business conduct although the Philippine government argued that Wilshire based its recommendation on inaccurate data, and expressed concerns that the scores should have been higher.

The Ambassador to theUS, Albert del Rosario, said that the scores were not a fair ruling since Wilshire had refused to visit the country or even meet with local officials who wanted to clarify Wilshire’s recommendations.   However, the governor of the central bank, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, Governor Rafael Buenaventura again embraced the extra time, saying that he was happy CalPERS did not only listen to Wilshire’s recommendations.

Corazon Guidote, the executive director of the Investor Relations Office (IRO), said that the time before the decision will be used to confer with CalPERS’ other third party advisors.