Pensions Criticize KKR Over Fee Refund Spurred by SEC Exam


Some pension funds are criticizing KKR’s communication with investors regarding “erroneously” charged fees; the firm refunded those fees last year, but waited a year tell investors that the refund was the result of an SEC exam.

From the Wall Street Journal:

KKR & Co. is getting unusually pointed criticism from some of its public-pension fund investors, after they discovered that KKR didn’t tell them for almost a year that its decision to refund some money was prompted by a regulatory exam.

The contretemps, rare in the tightly-controlled world of private equity, stems from a Securities and Exchange Commission exam of the industry giant in late 2013. Regulators found that the firm had erroneously charged some expenses and didn’t fully disclose it was collecting certain fees, according to a document obtained from one of KKR’s largest investors, the Washington State Investment Board.

As a result of the SEC findings, the private-equity giant in early 2014 refunded money to investors in some of its buyout funds.

As a result of the SEC findings, the private-equity giant in early 2014 refunded money to investors in some of its buyout funds.

Several KKR investors said they were informed of a fee credit but didn’t learn the reason until after The Wall Street Journal last month broke the news about the SEC exam findings and the refunds.

Read the full Journal article here.


Photo by Securities and Exchange Commission via Flickr CC License

Washington Pension Manager Commits $1.1 Billion to REOCs

Washington stateThe Washington State Investment Board, the entity that manages Washington state’s pension assets, has committed a total of $1.1 billion to two funds that invest in real estate operating companies (REOCs).

From IPE Real Estate:

Commitments of $600m and $500m were made to Calzada Capital Partners and Evergreen Real Estate Partners, respectively.


Calzada, which buys real estate operating companies in the Americas, places capital with companies investing in major property sectors.

It has around $4bn in assets under management.

The private equity firm has invested in Terramar Retail Centers, which owns neighbourhood shopping centres on the US West Coast, as well as in Corporate Properties of the Americas, which owns industrial property in Mexico.

Hometown America, an owner and operator of manufactured housing, Pacific Beachcomber, a luxury hospitality renovation firm in French Polynesia and Pivotal Capital Group have also received capital as part of Calzada’s niche investment strategy.

Evergreen, which invests in US-based real estate operating companies, will use capital for future growth.

The company mostly makes investments in the office, industrial, retail and apartment sectors.

The Board manages $103.6 billion in assets.


Photo credit: “Washington Wikiproject” by Chetblong – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Washington Pension Board Declines to Divest From Fossil Fuels

Washington Seal

The Washington State Investment Board (WSIB), the entity that handles investments for the state’s pension systems, at its latest board meeting weighed whether to divest from fossil fuel-based companies.

The Board ultimately decided against divestment. But the members said they would continue to evaluate whether climate change posed any risk to pension investment returns, and would use their power as major shareholders to push companies for transparency about financial risks posed by climate change.

The WSIB has major stakes in oil and coal investments.

Further details on the board’s decision, from the Olympian:

When evaluating a future investment, the SIB said it will consider whether climate change poses any financial risk to its expected returns.

It should not stop investing in lucrative but controversial energy projects. That would expose the board to potential legal action over its failure to produce as much value as possible.

Outgoing SIB Chair Jim McIntire, who is also the state Treasurer, proposed a more responsible strategy for showing sensitivity to environmental issues. He said the SIB should press companies for greater transparency about the risk from climate change, and how they are mitigating that risk.

A large institutional investor such as the state of Washington can use its leverage to change company policies. McIntire said that’s the SIB’s preferred approach.


The SIB’s legal mandate is to make money for the pension funds it manages. Its fiduciary duty is simply to get the best return possible for the individuals who will someday depend on those pensions.

But setting investment policy is more complex than that. The SIB members are responsible for examining the short- and long-term risks of its investments. And that requires assessing both internal and external factors that might influence an investment’s return.

The WSIB presents an argument many pension funds have made over the past few months: divestment isn’t as effective as lobbying for change as a major shareholder.

No public pension funds in the U.S. have yet divested from fossil fuel companies on the grounds of climate change.