New frontiers in Transparency
We know we live in the world of perverse transparency: governments,
which are effectively shielded from having to provide information have
the right to get intimate information about our lives. I think this
is supposed to be called transparency.
In the case of pensions, they are woefully underfunded. The only hope
they have of staying afloat while meeting their obligations is to
treat their finance as a form of what is known in the football world
as a series of hail Mary passes in order to gamble on getting
extraordinarily high returns.
The largest pension fund is California’s Public Employees Retirement
System, which recently announced that it would be withdrawing its
investments from hedge funds, but left unsaid that it would continue
investing with private equity operations.
Here we encounter a sad irony. The Mitt Romney campaign increase
public awareness of the damage that private equity does to workers.
Workers have good reason to want to know about the fees that their
pensions pay to the private equity operations. The high fees are a
matter of concern. In addition, recent revelations show that private
equity operations sometimes continue to charge fees from companies
after they have severed their official connections with the company.
People, presumably covered by their pension plan, petitioned the state
of Iowa to learn about the fees private equity charges. Private equity
companies pressure the pension plans not to reveal this information
unless they are willing to be blackballed from investing in private