'Let them sell their summer homes': NYC pension dumps hedge funds

Thu Apr 14, 2016 6:59pm EDT
 
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Edward Krudy

NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York City's largest public pension is exiting all hedge fund investments in the latest sign that the $4 trillion public pension sector is losing patience with these often secretive portfolios at a time of poor performance and high fees.

The board of the New York City Employees Retirement System (NYCERS) voted to leave blue chip firms such as Brevan Howard and D.E. Shaw after their consultants said they can reach their targeted investment returns with less risky funds.

The move by the fund, which had $51.2 billion in assets as of Jan. 31, follows a similar actions by the California Public Employees' Retirement System (Calpers), the nation's largest public pension fund, and public pensions in Illinois.

"Hedges have underperformed, costing us millions," New York City's Public Advocate Letitia James told board members in prepared remarks. "Let them sell their summer homes and jets, and return those fees to their investors."

The move is a blow to the $3 trillion hedge fund industry where managers like to have pensions as investors because they leave their money in for longer than individuals, sending a signal of stability to other investors.

Hedge fund returns have been lackluster for some time. The average fund lost about 1 percent last year when the stock market was flat, prompting institutional investors to leave.

Research firm eVestment said investors overall pulled $19.8 billion from hedge funds in January, marking the biggest monthly outflow since 2009.

Performance at some of the funds with which New York City invested was far worse. Luxor Capital Group, a long-time favorite with many pensions, lost an average 18.3 percent a year for the last two years.   Continued...

 
Downtown Manhattan and the One World Trade building (R) are seen from the observation level of the Empire State Building in the Manhattan borough of New York February 4, 2015.     REUTERS/Carlo Allegri