PA Pension Funds Can Shield Investment Info

November 15, 2006 ( - Pennsylvania Governor Edward Rendell has signed into law bills allowing the state's two largest pension funds to refuse public access to certain investment information.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that Senate Bill 592 was signed by Rendell last week and allows the Pennsylvania Public School Employees’ Retirement System to deny access to information about private equity, real estate, and other “alternative” investments if the managers who handle the investment demand secrecy, if making the investments public could cause “competitive harm”, or if disclosure might affect the value of the investment.

House Bill 126, providing the same protection for investment information for the State Employees’ Retirement System, was signed by Rendell last month, the newspaper said.

A similar bill establishing common disclosure guidelines for venture capital firms when they accept money from public funds was signed into law in California in September 2005 (See Golden State Guidelines Proposed for Venture Capital Disclosures ). The California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) had agreed in December 2004 to provide the dollar amount of gains and profits from private equity funds on its Web site as part of the settlement of a lawsuit filed by the California First Amendment Coalition (See CalPERS Settles Private Equity Data Release Lawsuit ).

However, by September 2005 it decided to remove the buyout and venture capital fund performance data in response to backlash from private equity firms whose funds were mentioned (See CalPERS To Remove Posted Fund Performance Data ).