CalPERS' magical performance numbers - W.C. Varones

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7.19.2008

CalPERS' magical performance numbers

Clever liars give details, but the cleverest don't.

CalPERS reports 2008 performance numbers:
While the value of Calpers' stock portfolio fell nearly 11 percent, its private equity holdings gained 19.6 percent for the 12 months through March 31 and its inflation-linked assets returned 22.9 percent over nine months.

Global fixed-income assets returned 7.7 percent for the year and real estate gained 8.1 percent for the 12 months through March 31.

What a coincidence. While things that have easily observable market prices (i.e. stocks) went down, everything that is valued subjectively went up! Private equity? It does great during a credit crunch when stocks are crashing! Just ask noted private equity players Blackstone Group or Babcock & Brown. And real estate? Well, whose real estate portfolio is not up at least 8% this year?

Nice numbers, CalPERS! Especially considering your investment in toxic waste CDOs at the beginning of the mortgage crisis, and your $1 billion dollar investment in the now-bankrupt LandSource at the peak of the real estate bubble.

Mark my words: CalPERS is lying about its performance, and there will be serious consequences for California retirees and taxpayers.

UPDATE 12/18: Welcome Instapundit, Patrick.net, and Kedrosky readers! Updated and related thoughts here.

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