Rhode Island governor-elect Gina Raimondo and the state Investment Commission held a closed-door meeting last week to review a particular hedge fund, Mason Capital, in which $61.7 million of pension money is currently invested.
The exact reason for the meeting, and what was said during, is unknown because the session was exempt from the state’s Open Meetings Law.
The minutes of the meeting are sealed to “protect the interest of the state’s pension fund”, according to a Raimondo spokesman,
More from the Providence Journal:
Asked to explain [the meeting], Raimondo spokesman Ashley Gingerella-O’Shea drew attention to the exemption that the state’s Open Meetings Law provides for any “matter related to the question of the investment of public funds where the premature disclosure would adversely affect the public interest.”
The state has had an investment in Mason Capital since January 2012 that has increased in value by an average of 1.02 percent per year in the nearly three years since, according to an Oct. 31 report to the investment commission.
It was one of the hedge funds in which Raimondo, a former venture capitalist, invested an overall $1.176 billion in a controversial shift in strategy that figured prominently during her heated primary and general election campaigns. Her opponents keyed their criticism to the sharp increase in state-paid investment fees since she took office.
When pressed, Gingerella-O’Shea sent a further statement on Monday that said the investment commission “reviewed the calendar year-to-date performance” of all of the state’s hedge fund investments during the open portion of last Wednesday’s meeting.
But a review of the last online Investment Commission report indicates the value of the state’s investment in Mason Capital dropped by about $4.7 million during October, from $66.4 million to $61,751,634.
While the market value of some of the state’s other “global equity hedge funds” dropped in October, none dropped this much.
The closed portion of the meeting was only a segment of a larger, open-to-the-public discussion on the year-to-date performance of the pension system’s hedge fund investments.
The Mason Capital fund returned around 1.02 percent annually over the last three years. Meanwhile, the state pension system’s hedge fund portfolio has averaged returned of 6.9 percent over the same time period.