Wednesday, March 19, 2014
Listen to the Regents Meeting of Feb. 27
In any event, the meeting began with a public comment period, mainly featuring students pushing fossil fuel divestment. Editorial comment: The push to use the pension and other UC funds for political objectives has no potential end. Moreover, once we move down that road, we might undermine ongoing attempts to get whatever funding for the pension that we can from the state. Yes, it is always possible to find periods in which divesting from this or that might be advantageous. But the opposite will also be true. So even if in the long run it might turn out that divesting from something had no effect on returns, anytime there is a temporary loss, opponents of funding the pension will make a fuss. Of course, individuals in their personal 403b and 457b savings accounts might be given the option of divesting from this or that. But there are real dangers in making symbolic gestures with an underfunded pension plan.
There was some discussion about pension funding in this session. Former Regent David Crane, a Schwarzenegger appointee who was never confirmed by the legislature, seems to be an advisor to the Committee and said he wanted to see routine data on the ratio of retirees to active employees and the pension as a percent of the UC budget. Crane wasn't confirmed in part because of his pension views.
Much of the meeting involved performance of the pension and other portfolios. There was much defensiveness over a recent article that indicated that UC earnings were substandard and assertions that investment practices had been improved.
A link to the audio is below: