Thursday, June 26, 2008

Lawmakers Try to Seize Control of UC Pension Plan

By Chris Thompson
Thu, Jun 26, 2008 at 6:07 AM

After years of declining profits and mounting criticism, the UC Regents' control of the University pension plan may finally be wrested from them. On Tuesday, state Assemblyman Anthony Portantino introduced a bill to seize control of the plan from the UC Regents and turn it over to an independent governing board. According to the Contra Costa Times, the board would consist of Regents, faculty, staff, retirees, and union members. The state legislature has tried to convince the Regents to go along with this plan in the past; last year, state Senator Leland Yee introduced a nonbinding resolution calling on the Regents to help set up the board voluntarily. But once the Regents refused to go along, legislators decided to seize governance of the board through this bill, which would put the question to the voters in a state ballot. As this paper has detailed, the UC pension plan's profits have steadily shrunk in the last seven years, and critics have raised allegations of conflicts of interest among investment advisors, who had financial relationships with some of the companies managing hundreds of millions of dollars in retirement assets.

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