Trey Kovacs: Mixing pensions with politics

Labor Policy Analyst Trey Kovacs Featured in The Orange County Register

Who here is better to run a business? In 2011, Apple recorded a net profit of $6.62 billion and its highest September earnings ever. The

California Public Employees’ Retirement System ended 2011 with some sources estimating unfunded pension liabilities up to $240 billion and paltry 1.1 percent earnings on investments. Yet, CalPERS is using their 2.8 million Apple shares to influence Apple to reform its board election rules.

For two decades, overseers of California’s state employee pension funds have placed ideological agendas ahead of investment returns. This has cost pensioners dearly, for no good reason. Thus, the pension board members appear to be in dereliction of their fiduciary duty to gain the best possible returns for the funds on which so many depend for their retirement.

The managers of CalPERS and California State Teachers’ Retirement System – CalSTRS – have engaged in a politically motivated investing strategy that has put California government workers’ pensions at undue risk.