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State-by-State breakdown of high-risk, secretive private equity holdings by public pension funds

See which state pension funds have the most in private equity holdings

Story Filed 10/5/2013 5:57:20 PM (GMT -5)
Story Pulls 10/13/2013 5:57:20 PM (GMT -5)
City Desk Naples-Marco Island, Florida
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Gina Edwards
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Taxpayer-funded public pension funds are private equity firms’ biggest customers, and the private equity industry has control of an estimated $240 billion or more in taxpayer-funded public pension fund money, based on an analysis of financial statements from 88 pension funds from all 50 states by Watchdog City Press reporter Gina Edwards.

And it’s this taxpayer money — used to buy and flip companies in secretive, private deals — that has fueled the wealth of some of the richest men on Wall Street.

The Watchdog City Press story “Trusting Wall Street’s Wizards Behind the Curtain: More than $240 billion in public pension money locked in secretive private equity deals” explains growing concern among some public pension fund managers, academics, union leaders and federal regulators about:
■ the accuracy of accounting of private equity investments held by pension funds,
■ whether private equity firms are providing misleading information and cutting secret side deals that give preferential treatment to certain influential investors,
■ and whether pension funds — and taxpayers — are getting ripped off by fees and hidden conflicts of interests.

Meanwhile, private equity industry leaders have launched a public relations campaign to dispel myths about an industry they say pumped more than $140 billion into U.S. companies last year and at the same time provided positive returns for the public pension funds that secure the retirements of teachers, police officers and public workers around the country.

The chart presented here shows the private equity holdings of 88 state and local pension funds, including public employee funds in all 50 states. 

See the accompanying story: "Trusting Wall Street's Wizards Behind the Curtain: Public Pension Funds have more than $240 Billion invested in secretive private equity deals"

For more information, contact Gina Edwards at

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