Viewpoint: CalPERS election earthquake should shake up responsible investment narrative

Friday, October 12, 2018

By Jay Youngdahl

Shockingly, on October 4, Priya Mathur, the head of the Board of the US largest public pension fund, the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS), was defeated in her bid for a fifth term on its Board of Administration.

In an election for a seat for active public employees, southern California police officer Jason Perez defeated Mathur, 9208 votes to 7008. Recent CalPERS elections have been hard fought, but this was a large margin of victory for Perez, who was supported by a number of police and fire employee organizations. Mathur’s bid for reelection was supported with the time and resources of the two largest California public employees unions, AFSCME and SEIU, among others.

Mathur is a well-respected advocate for defined pension plans, and has been part of the golden age of ESG at CalPERS, helping to guide Board work in moving away from hedge funds, drilling down on investment fees, and developing strong investment beliefs. But on her watch CalPERS has suffered governance lapses, such as the recent exposures of misleading resumés from their CIOand CEO, and she had overseen a less than adequate response to the transgressions.

Photo courtesy of Images Money.

Source: Responsible Investor (link opens in a new window)

ESG, impact investing, public policy