CalPERS to Vote on Tobacco, CIM Group Investment

August 21, 2000 ( - The California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) is scheduled to make a decision today on a controversial investment in the CIM Group, as well as a vote to support legislation that would require a divestiture of tobacco stocks from the portfolio of the nation's largest pension system.

Meanwhile, another portfolio manager has reportedly departed CalPERS for the private sector.

Originally the CIM Group had requested a $250 million investment from the pension fund and hired two former directors of the retirement system and a retired state senator to help lobby the deal (see NewsDash 06/16) – moves that concerned some at CalPERS. 

However, the investment staff recommended a more modest investment of $50 million, which will be considered in today’s meeting.

The California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) has already committed $125 million to the group, but that money is contingent on CIM getting other investors.

Legislative Agenda

Also on the agenda is a vote in support of legislation that would require CalPERS to sell off holdings in tobacco company stocks. 

Concerned about external mandates influencing specific investments, CalPERS’ staff has recommended that the board oppose the legislation.

In its September meeting, the board will decide whether to divest tobacco stocks on their own, without a legislative mandate.

Another One Bites The Dust

P&I Online reports that Mark Albertson, a portfolio manager at CalPERS who oversees $3 billion in specialized real estate investments, will leave at the end of September to work in the private sector. 

The departure comes in the wake of the departure of Guy Jaquier, CalPERS former senior investment officer for real estate who left to become CIO at AMB Property. 

Albertson does not yet have a new position, according to the P&I article.

The departure of Jaquier was the third top executive to leave CalPERS this year for a more lucrative position in the private sector. 

CalPERS senior investment officer Bob Boldt resigned in May, while former CIO Sheryl Pressler quit in February.