The buttons have been hot in California during this frustratingly slow economic recovery, especially on the issue of public pensioners getting more than $100,000 per year in retirement. Even though six-digit pensions go to about two percent of California public sector retirees, the message, it seems, is that those working for the state should not get large pensions, or salaries, no matter what talents or responsibilities they bring to their jobs.
So, what about the guy who manages the multi-billion dollar pension fund? Joe Dear, who oversees investments for the $232 billion
But CalPERS is one of the largest and most complex pools of money in the world, with a hand in nearly every kind of investment, from infrastructure to stakes in non-public companies, from venture capital to real estate and hedge funds. Moreover, this pension has the largest pool of private equity investments in the (transparent) world, with a $49 billion private equity program, including more than $33 billion in invested capital.
Dear was hired in 2009 with a base salary of $425,000, according to press reports at the time. In addition to his base salary, he could earn a performance bonus that maxes out at 75 percent of his base salary ($318,750). That much, he didn’t earn in 2010. As of April 30, CalPERS reported a one-year return of around 15 percent.
Brad Pacheco, a spokesman for CalPERS, told the Associated Press with some understatement that Dear earned less than what an experienced manager could earn in the private sector. That private sector, of course, includes many private equity billionaires, some of whom have made it a practice of late of buying professional sports teams.