California Teacher's Retirement PENSION Funds to be Invested in Toll Roads, other PPP projectsSomervell County Salon-Glen Rose, Rainbow, Nemo, Glass....Texas


California Teacher's Retirement PENSION Funds to be Invested in Toll Roads, other PPP projects

12 June 2007 at 8:06:49 AM

Yesterday I read that the Federal Govt is looking to put restrictions on PPP toll road projects, which is giving companies such as Goldman Sachs, etc, some queasiness. I've also wondered about the issues of tying people's pension funds to PPP projectsHere's a story about the CalSTRS investing teacher's retirement funds into PPPs.

Someday, California public schoolteachers could own a stake of a Chicago airport, a Pennsylvania turnpike or a California high-speed railroad.

If so, they wouldn't be alone. Increasingly, public pension funds from Australia to New Jersey are investing billions of dollars in toll roads, pipelines, power plants and other government infrastructure projects across the globe.

The $171 billion California State Teachers' Retirement System is exploring a strategy to get a piece of an international infrastructure marketplace valued at up to $287.5 billion

In the United States, pension funds in New Jersey and Illinois are boosting commitments to up to 5 percent of their portfolio. San Bernardino County's fund this year is setting aside $120 million, or 2 percent, of its assets.

For pension funds, these investments are a perfect match because of their long-term nature, usually 30 years or more. They are considered a stable investment that can counter volatility in the global stock markets.

Yet experts acknowledge these investments come with risks ranging from hurricane damage in Florida to political unrest in South America. Investors are often locked into these projects for decades and in some cases there is no clear path to sell off the investment. They point out these investments have a short history in the private equity market and the results in Europe have been mixed.

"These are complex assets," Lepin said. "There are more political and regulatory risks."

CalSTRS trustees raised questions about management fees, labor issues and the politics of privatizing government assets.

And, as I said before, investing in projects that are NOT egalitarian, but favor those who can afford to ride the now-tolled-highways... with pension money.

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