CalPERS: We're Staying in the Philippines

April 19, 2004 ( - The California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) will hang onto its investments in the Philippines after all, citing ongoing reforms in that nation.

The unanimous vote by the CalPERS’ investment committee followed intense lobbying by Manila officials to prevent the fund from selling about $67 million in Philippine stocks.

The Sacramento, California-based CalPERS, the nation’s largest public pension fund, had threatened earlier in the year to sell the stocks because the Philippines had failed to make the grade on the fund’s scorecard for market transparency and political openness in emerging markets (See   CalPERS Again Postpones Philippines Decision  ).

CalPERS consultant Wilshire Consulting’s had formerly recommended it be stricken from the investment 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.