New Jersey Fund Will Not Align With CalPERS

April 15, 2004 (—New Jersey Investment Council will not unite with the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS), the country's biggest publicpension fund, in withholding votes for Citigroup Inc.'s Sanford Weill and Coca-Cola Co.'s Warren Buffett, Chairman Orin Kramer said today.

Kramer said “political correctness” shouldn’t trump investors’ interests, and that although he knows of examples in which directors’ actions have hurt shareholder interests, he did not think that had been the case with either Warren Buffett or Citigroup, Bloomberg reported.

Earlier this week, CalPERS vowed to withhold votes for Citigroup Inc. Chairman Sanford Weill and Chief Executive Charles Prince to serve as directors of the world’s largest financial services company (see CalPERS Targets a Dozen Proxy Targets).   The fund also said it would not vote for half the board of Coca-Cola, including Buffett, according to Bloomberg.

Those votes will not be increased by the approximately 18 million shares of Citigroup and 7.1 million shares of Coca-Cola owned, as of last September, byNew Jersey, the sixth-biggest public pension fund.

Yesterday, Massachusetts Treasurer Timothy Cahill, chairman of the $32.7 billion state pension fund, declared that he would not be joining CalPERS against Coca-Cola and Citigroup, Bloomberg said.