Author: David Crane

Steep Drop in CalPERS Funded Ratio, 1995–2015

A reader of a recent post asks the following: “On page 100 of its 2015 annual report, CalPERS notes with approval that it earned a 20-year investment return of 7.76%, exceeding its 7.50% investment return assumption. Did that healthy investment…

Update: CA’s FY2015 Pension Liability

Annual reports just issued by California’s two largest public pension funds indicate that the state added roughly $24 billion of unfunded public pension liability in fiscal year 2015. In December, California’s two principal pension funds, CalPERS and CalSTRS, posted online…

Donors Should Ask Candidates About Vergara and Pensions

Candidates for state office are pressing hard for year-end contributions. Before you donate, press them about two recent events: Without fanfare, California’s public schools quietly reported $9 billion of new pension debt over the last year, as explained here. Unless…

Flash: California Issues $9 Billion in Debt

Did you know that California just issued $9 billion in debt? There wasn’t a press release— in fact, the announcement was buried on page seven of a report quietly posted on a website — even though this debt is larger than 95%…

Before You Contribute To A Candidate…

California’s next governor won’t take office for more than three years. Still, Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom has already declared his candidacy and at least four others (John Chiang, Tom Steyer, Antonio Villaraigosa and Steve Westly) are rumored to be considering…

CalPERS Must Stop Spinning

Last week California’s largest public pension fund, CalPERS, issued a misleading press release about its private equity investments. To understand what CalPERS did, compare it to a report from your mutual fund or see the screenshot below from a typical…

CalPERS’s Anemic Private Equity Returns

At first glance, the most surprising aspect of CalPERS’s report about the private equity performance fees it pays is not the large size of the fees but rather the small size of the returns. According to the report, CalPERS’s private…

Jerry Brown v. Rob Feckner on Pension Funding: Why It Matters

Last week California Governor Jerry Brown criticized as “irresponsible” the decision of his state’s largest public pension fund, CalPERS, to continue using unreasonably high investment return assumptions when setting pension contributions. CalPERS’s president Rob Feckner, a retired public employee, disagreed.…

Know Your Candidate, Part II

Public education is big business. This year California will spend $83 billion on K-12 education, or nearly $13,500 for each of the state’s six million students. Most will go to compensation and benefits for members of special interest organizations that…

Know Your Candidate!

Last month I attended the Philanthropy Innovation Summit hosted by the Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society (PACS). The event kicked off with a discussion between entrepreneurs Reid Hoffman and Peter Thiel moderated by PACS chairman Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen, who…