Weekend Reading

If you’re like me, you’ll be glued to the television this weekend watching the Olympics. For everyone else, here’s some news and two interesting case studies for your weekend reading. Enjoy!


Today’s top stories:

- China’s State Administration of Foreign Exchange has committed $500 million to a real-estate fund managed by Blackstone.

- The UK’s planned £20 billion “Pension Infrastructure Platform” is expected to launch on time despite initial concerns over a lack of interest among pensions.

- Oregon’s Public Employees Retirement System offers a nice case study of how public pension return expectations have very little to do with... actual return expectations.

- I defy you to find me one thing on the International Forum of Sovereign Wealth Fund‘s current website that has changed in the last year.

- And here’s why some countries are serious about keeping the size of their SWFs under wraps.

Academic Research:

Andrew Ang of Colombia Business School was kind enough to send over two relevant case studies that he’s recently completed:

  • First, he recently published “Factor Investing: The Reference Portfolio and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board.” Here’s a blurb: “The Reference Portfolio played an integral role in allowing Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) to look through the labels of asset classes and to holistically consider each asset in terms of its underlying factors. How does this low cost, viable benchmark for active management guide CPPIB’s investment strategy? What corresponding changes should be considered to enhance the organization?”
  • Second, he also just released “California Dreamin’: The Mess at CalPERS” Here’s the blurb: “When Joseph Dear was appointed CIO of the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) in March 2009, the situation was grim. The global decline in risky asset prices had hit CalPERS hard. During the financial crisis between 2007 and 2009, CalPERS’ assets shrank by almost $92 billion, dropping its funding ratio from 101% to 61%. CalPERS had also experienced recent management and pay-to-play scandals. Was Dear up to the task of rebuilding CalPERS’ damaged balance sheet and wounded reputation? Was CalPERS beyond saving in its present form?”

They’re very interesting and worth a read. Anyway, have a nice weekend!