Forbes’ Siedle Eyes New Rhode Island Pension Investigation
Wednesday, December 09, 2015
The move comes on the heels of his recently released second report looking into the Rhode Island State Investment Commission, the results of which he discussed at a talk with retirees in Rhode Island in November -- who asked for more investigation.
"In our first-ever crowdfunded investigation, Double Trouble: Wall Street Secrecy Conceals Preventable Losses in Rhode Island issued in June 2015, we revealed that real estate is the Rhode Island state pension's worst performing asset class by far. Real estate investment performance has been nothing short of horrific over the past 10 years—2 percent versus the Fund’s benchmark return of 9.6 percent. Real estate underperformance has cost the pension approximately $638 million over the past decade," writes Siedle on his Kickstarter page.
Siedle had first looked into the Rhode Island pension investments in his 2013 report, "License to Steal."
Details of New Crowdfunding Effort
The new crowdfunding effort marks the second time that Siedle has sourced support from individuals to back his investigation, as his 2015 investigation marked the first one he had crowdsourced.
"The Rhode Island retired teachers and others have said that they want to send a message that they are on the case and will continue to investigate what's going on," said Siedle.
"There's a change.org petition to have the SEC investigate -- I had nothing to do with that, that looks like AFSCME," continued Siedle. "Coming out of the seminar was the call to turn up the heat. And I am working with the FBI and others to make them aware of what we found."
"The first thing I will tell people -- what makes this investigation different, is that in the case of the hedge funds and private equity, the General Treasure maintains those are top secret. Real estate is not," said Siedle. "This one should be the Treasurer's.opportunity to be more transparent than ever before."
"This is the worse asset class that the pension fund has," said Siedle. "It appears to be the worst real estate in the country. $600 million in losses over the past 10 years. The question is how did they manage to do so badly? What are the fees they paid? Have they properly disclosed them? That's what this investigation seeks to find out."
Related Slideshow: RI Public Pension Reform: Wall Street’s License To Steal
See the key findings from Forbes' columnist Edward Siedle, who unveiled his investigative report into the RI pension system, "License to Steal," in October 2013.
"The Employee Retirement System of Rhode Island has secretly agreed to permit hedge fund managers to keep the state pension in the dark regarding how its assets are being invested; to grant mystery hedge fund investors a license to steal, or profit at its expense using inside information; and to engage in potentially illegal nondisclosure practices," said Siedle.
So-Called Pension Reform Scheme Permanently Reduces Benefits To Retirees
"Whether retirees receive any COLA will depend upon both ERSRI’s funding level and the Fund’s actual investment returns—both of which are volatile, unpredictable and subject to manipulation by elected officials and others. The manipulation of both of these key goalposts has already begun. "
SEC Should Investigate ERSRI’s Failure to Disclose Skyrocketing Investment Expenses
ERSRI Agrees To Be Kept In The Dark, Grants Mystery Investors Licenses to Steal and Consents To Potential Nondisclosure Illegalities
SEC Should Investigate Questions Surrounding ERSRI’s Point Judith Venture Investment
Rhode Island Ethics Commission Opinion And “Blind Trust” Fail to Address Conflicts Regarding Point Judith Investment
SEC Should Investigate ERSRI Investment Consultant Conflicts, Payments From Money Managers
“Pay To Play” Placement Agent Abuses at ERSRI
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