Tags: Arends | Calpers | hedge | funds

MarketWatch's Arends: Investors Should Follow Calpers Out of Hedge Funds

By    |   Thursday, 18 September 2014 12:59 PM

The California Public Employees' Retirement System (Calpers), the country's largest public pension fund, set a good example for other investors this week in deciding to ditch its $4 billion of investments in hedge funds, says MarketWatch columnist Brett Arends.

That's because hedge funds combine stiff fees with mediocre performance, he writes.

Hedge funds typically charge 2 percent of assets and 20 percent of profits above a pre-set threshold. And average returns have trailed those of a passive balanced fund of stocks and bonds since 2009.

Editor’s Note:
5 Shocking Reasons the Dow Will Hit 60,000


Calpers' hedge fund exposure returned 7.1 percent in the year ended June 30, with fees totaling $135 million during that period. Meanwhile, the MSCI All World Equal Weight stock index returned 21.7 percent, Arends notes.

"The hedge fund guys pull their razzmatazz and their shtick, promising proprietary algorithms . . . and all sorts of other alchemy," he says.

"If I were better at being a con artist I'd go into business marketing my own fund, and then just quietly buy a bunch of stocks at random from New York to New Delhi, and then head to the islands for the year," Arends quips.

"As a general rule, the simpler the investment approach the better you’re likely to fare."

At least some pension funds are apparently taking Calpers' message to heart.

"It's a discussion that's going on everywhere in our industry right now, given the high fees and what's going on with hedge funds," Steve Yoakum, executive director of the $40 billion Missouri teachers retirement funds, tells CNBC.

Editor’s Note: 5 Shocking Reasons the Dow Will Hit 60,000

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The California Public Employees' Retirement System (Calpers), the country's largest public pension fund, set a good example for other investors this week in deciding to ditch its $4 billion of investments in hedge funds, says MarketWatch columnist Brett Arends.
Arends, Calpers, hedge, funds
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2014-59-18
Thursday, 18 September 2014 12:59 PM
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