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San Francisco tables hedge fund discussion for 90 days

Pensions & Investments – San Francisco City & County Employees’ Retirement System Chief Investment Officer William Coaker Jr. will have to wait at least 90 days before the pension fund’s board passes judgment on his plan to invest 15% of the pension fund’s $19 billion in assets in hedge funds.

Mr. Coaker was pushing for board approval at the pension fund’s monthly meeting Wednesday of his portfolio restructuring plan, which reduces equity and fixed-income exposure, and creates a new $3 billion allocation to hedge funds. The plan also includes a new 12% allocation to alternative equity strategies. But board members by a 6-1 vote tabled the matter for 90 days for further study.

Mr. Coaker told board members that the hedge fund allocation would reduce equity risk and major financial losses for the pension fund in a severe market downturn, preventing a repeat of the scenario that occurred for the pension fund during the financial crisis.

But board members told Mr. Coaker that they needed more information and directed him to prepare a report to be presented to the board in 90 days with detailed information on performance of hedge funds at other public pension funds. They also asked for specific information on hedge funds in which he planned to invest and their performance as well as their fees.

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