San Francisco Pension Fund Votes Today On Whether To Invest in Hedge Funds

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San Francisco Employees’ Retirement System (SFERS) will vote later today on whether to invest in hedge funds for the first time.

If the board votes “yes”, the fund will have the ability to allocate up to 15 percent of its assets toward hedge funds. Reported by Bloomberg:

The hedge fund proposal stems from a June meeting when staff recommended changes to the fund’s asset allocation and the board voted to take 90 days to study options. At a meeting last month, staff suggested shifting the allocation to invest 35 percent in global equity, 18 percent in private equity, 17 percent in real assets, 15 percent in fixed income and 15 percent in hedge funds, according to the [fund CIO] Coaker memo.

The retirement system administers a pension plan and a deferred-compensation plan for active and retired employees. Retirement members include those who had worked for the City and County of San Francisco, the San Francisco Unified School District, the San Francisco Community College District and the San Francisco Trial Courts.

Herb Meiberger, a commissioner and retirement board member, last month called for keeping hedge funds out of the mix. Hedge funds are complex, difficult to understand and carry high management fees, he said in a September memo.

“SFERS is a public fund subject to public scrutiny,” Meiberger wrote in the memo. It’s “one of the best-funded plans in the United States. Why change course?”


The San Francisco fund had $17 billion in assets based on market value and an unfunded liability of 15.9 percent as of July 1, 2013, a decline from 21.1 percent a year earlier, according to its most recent actuarial valuation report.

The chief investment officer of SFERS, William Coaker, recommended approving hedge funds in a memo this month.

“They have provided good protection in market downturns,” he wrote.

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