Official defends $144M decision

Newark Star-Ledger – Prompted by criticism from a prominent state lawmaker, the head of the state’s Division of Investment yesterday defended his decision to invest $144 million in pension funds in a BlackRock Inc.-managed hedge fund in the past two weeks, saying the state needed to act quickly to protect its stake and possibly reap big returns.

Senate President Richard Codey (D-Essex) questioned the transparency of the process, taking issue with the state putting $49.5 million in the hedge fund on Oct. 17 — an amount just shy of the $50 million threshold that requires a review by the state Investment Council. On Friday, the state invested another $94 million in pension funds in the BlackRock venture, following a special meeting of the Investment Council.

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