CalPERS Settles Private Equity Data Release Lawsuit

December 7, 2004 ( - The California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS), the nation's largest public pension fund, said Tuesday it would publicly reveal management fees and other costs paid to private equity funds to settle a lawsuit.

CalPERS said in a Web site statement  that it settled a suit with the California First Amendment Coalition and agreed to provide the dollar amount of gains and profits from private equity funds since 1999 to 2003. Data for 2004-2005 will be released in the future, the fund said.

In exchange for that information, CalPERS said the group had withdrawn its request for a broad range of information. “This innovative solution – to develop new documents with the bottom line information – enables us to provide important information to the public and still protect, as prescribed under the exemption to state disclosure laws, the kind of information that absolutely must be shielded to meet the public interest in obtaining high rates of return from a diversified public pension asset pool,” said Peter Mixon, General Counsel for CalPERS, in the statement

The California First Amendment Coalition filed its lawsuit in early September, aiming to discover CalPERS’ cost for investing in private equity funds and their performance. CalPERS had earlier rejected requests from the group, fearing that it would be excluded from top-tier private equity and hedge funds for disclosing terms as a so-called “limited partner” investor in them.

CalPERS said it has investments of $19 billion in private equity funds and $850 million in hedge funds, and has generated profits of more than $6 billion since 1990 in its private equity program. The fund said that in 2003 it paid management fees and costs of $192 million to private equity fund managers.

“They had been resisting consistently to show which funds get how much money so California taxpayers were unable to see if the funds were getting the money on merit,” Peter Scheer, executive director of the California First Amendment Coalition, told Reuters.