Thursday, May 17, 2007

Why do I know more about OPERS in Iran than in Ohio?

So, it's not really appropriate for me to blame the world at large for my ignorance of it, but there's a problem here. The Ohio Public Employee Retirement System, apparently the 17th largest public pension fund in the world, has been in the news lately arguing with a couple of State Reps who want the fund to divest itself of holdings related to companies with ties to Iran.

Iran lends itself well to political grandstanding (just ask their President).

Do you know what lends itself to even better political grandstanding? OPERS pumping money into Ohio firms that are pushing Ohio innovation and entrepreneurship. But... I came across this by accident. If Mandel and Jones have gotten in my face from six different directions, this shouldn't have required stumbling luck:

The Ohio Public Employees Retirement System and Credit Suisse Group have doubled their investment in the Ohio PERS/Credit Suisse Ohio-Midwest Fund.

Ohio PERS said the fund of funds, managed by Credit Suisse, now totals $102 million.

Ohio-Midwest was established in 2005 to provide funding to venture capital and other firms that then provide funding for early-stage companies in the state and the Midwest.

In February, the entirety of the original $51 million dollars had been allocated.

I don't mean to undercut any notion that OPERS has a fiduciary duty first and foremost, but if you want to use that twenty-ton bank account as a force for social change, that's the way you do it. Let Ohio Experts put it where it can aggressively grow Ohio.

And while I like our Ohio officials to think globally, I'm a lot more impressed with the local action.

1 comment:

Delco Dem said...

Very nice post on a crappy bill. My thought is this: Republicans want to get rid of social security and tell everyone to take that money instead and go invest it for their own retirement. Yet now the Republicans are telling us HOW to invest it. So now, my retirement does not have an equal chance of growing as compared to every other private retirement dollar in the market. If these same Republicans were trying to ban stock investments like GE that has business in companies like GE with business ties to Iranian companies, and it afected ALL Ohioans (not just state workers), do ya think it would go ANYWHERE? I shudder to think what would happen if social security was privatized. These clowns would be telling everyone how they CAN'T provide for their retirement.