Need to Know

California On Path To Restrain Placement Agents

In early June, the California State Assembly passed by two votes legislation intended to regulate placement agents by treating them as lobbyists. The bill now moves on to the State Senate for its consideration.

Under the proposed law, placement agents soliciting the California Public Employees’ Retirement System and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System would have to register as lobbyists and could not receive contingency fees earned by persuading a pension fund to make a commitment. Placement agents would have to follow strict limits on gifts and prohibitions on campaign contributions; they would also have to file quarterly reports on fees and compensation; and they would have to disclose any honoraria or gifts.

Assemblyman Dr. Ed Hernandez, the sponsor of the bill, indicated in a prepared statement that it was needed in the wake of last year’s scandal in which several placement agents took part in pay-to-play schemes in New York. In California, meantime, two former CalPERS officials are now embroiled in a civil suit filed by the California Attorney General’s office accusing them of making improper payments and gifts.

KKR Saves Millions With Green Program

The Green Portfolio Program, an initiative by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., developed with the Environmental Defense Fund, has saved the firm $160 million since its launch in 2008, said the firm in a prepared statement.

The program seeks to improve “the financial and environmental performance of KKR’s portfolio companies,” according to the firm, by taking environmentally friendly actions such as lowering greenhouse gas emissions, using fewer raw materials and reducing water use.

As of early June, the first eight of the firm’s portfolio companies to participate in the program have reported that their efforts have saved more than “$160 million in operating costs, 345,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions, 8,500 tons of paper, and 1.2 million tons of waste,” stated the firm.

The program now includes 20 percent of KKR’s global portfolio, including Accellent Inc., Biomet Inc., Dollar General Corp., First Data Corp., HCA Inc., Lehigh Phoenix, Oriental Brewery, Primedia, Sealy Corp., SunGard Data Systems Inc., Tarkett, and U.S. Foodservice.

Examples of savings include Accellent, which makes medical devices, lowering its energy use and greenhouse gas emissions from its manufacturing facilities for a savings of $785,000; and U.S. Foodservice, a food service distributor, saving $22.3 million via changes to its delivery fleet and distribution centers.