California Dreamin’: The Mess at CalPERS

Was the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) beyond saving in its present form?
Andrew Ang, Jeremy Abrams  | Fall 2012
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Program for Financial Studies

When Joseph Dear was appointed CIO of the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) in March 2009, the situation was grim. The global decline in risky asset prices had hit CalPERS hard. During the financial crisis between 2007 and 2009, CalPERS’ assets shrank by almost $92 billion, dropping its funding ratio from 101% to 61%. CalPERS had also experienced recent management and pay-to-play scandals. Was Dear up to the task of rebuilding CalPERS’ damaged balance sheet and wounded reputation? In this case, students analyze the financial, structural, and political challenges facing CalPERS Chief Investment Officer at this point in time.

Case ID: 120306

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