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Teachers Union and Hedge Funds War Over Pension Billions

Labor leader aims to pull money from managers who promote retirement cutbacks; a billboard over Times Square Daniel Loeb, Paul Singer and dozens of other hedge-fund managers have poured millions of dollars into promoting charter schools in New York City and into groups that want to revamp pension plans for government workers, including teachers. The leader of the American Federation of Teachers, Randi Weingarten, sees some of the proposals, in particular the pension issue, as an attack on teachers. She also has influence over more than $1 trillion in public-teacher pension plans, many of which traditionally invest in hedge funds. It is a recipe for a battle for the ages. Ms. Weingarten start

John Oliver's criticism helps fiduciary duty go prime time

Recent 'Last Week Tonight' segment is just one example of the growing awareness of this issue. For the last six years, the debate over a Labor Department regulation to raise investment advice standards for retirement accounts has been conducted mostly among regulators, lawmakers, industry officials and financial advisers. Now the people the regulation targets — investors — are getting into the conversation. The process of taking fiduciary duty to Main Street was boosted by a segment on the HBO comedy program “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.” Mr. Oliver applied his signature brand of mordant satire to a topic mostly discussed — and fiercely contested — in technical terms by industry insid

Pension Holders Need a New Retirement Plan, Not Stock Tips

Having long fretted over the state of our retirement system, I was delighted that the Department of Labor is vigorously defending its new rule requiring brokers to recommend only investments that are in the best interests of holders of retirement accounts. Hats off to the Obama administration for forcefully addressing the very real conflict between commission-based financial advisers and their clients. But the country’s retirement problems are vast and require much more reform. In fact, we need a complete revamping of our pension arrangements. Once upon a time, many Americans enjoyed an employer-based, defined-benefit system in which they could depend on a no-hassle pension of a specified am

Three Ways to Identify Governance Risk

As more investment professionals acknowledge that responsible investing is coming of age, how environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues can be incorporated into the investment process has taken on increasing urgency. Among the major questions to consider: Can ESG concerns be aligned with responsible investment practices? Must financial returns be sacrificed in the name of sustainable investing? Sandra Carlisle, head of responsible investment at London-based Newton Investment Management, says that “responsible investment” has nothing to do with nebulous moral considerations — it’s all about generating sustainable financial returns. Carlisle manages the team that integrates ESG issues

PRI Challenges You!

Our friends at the PRI recently celebrated their 10th Anniversary. More than 420 PRI signatories and stakeholders flocked to New York in support. During the conference, they shared a Challenge video which we are happy to promote through our Heartland network. Watch, share and join the challenge for responsible investing!

Home Repair Program to Invest Up to $30 Million to Rejuvenate Blighted Detroit Neighborhood

AFL-CIO HIT and community partners to renovate 300 single-family homes The AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust (HIT) announced today that it will invest up to $30 million in the Detroit Neighborhood Home Repair Program, a partnership with leading civic and community organizations to rejuvenate up to 300 single-family homes and properties that have faced decades of blight. “It is wonderful to see the AFL-CIO, an organization that played such an important role in building Detroit, investing so much to help build Detroit again through the Housing Investment Trust,” said Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan. “This will create jobs and training opportunities to Detroit residents, and will do so much to strengt

Building a legacy: Construction begins on 12-story South Lake Union office complex

The Multi-Employer Property Trust is helping finance the construction of 9th & Thomas. MEPT requires that all contractors working on its projects sign collective bargaining agreements with trade unions. Seattle-based Bentall Kennedy advises MEPT, a $7.5 billion fund. With 9th & Thomas, the Redmans wanted the craftsmen and women who have been part of Sellen Construction's success to benefit. Pension plans are the investors in MEPT, and they'll get some of the cash flow from 9th & Thomas once the building is done. In addition, some unnamed local families are contributing equity for the development. The 9th & Thomas building is a legacy project for the Redmans. The family could have sold the de

Interview With Ana Lei Ortiz, Relationship Manager, Europe, Hamilton Lane

Ana Lei Ortiz is a Managing Director of Relationship Management at Hamilton Lane. She joined joined the firm in 2008 and currently focuses on the Europe region. Prior to joining Hamilton Lane, Ms. Lei Ortiz was with various areas of HSBC. She is a CFA and holds her M.A. from the University of Edinburgh. Your firm was established in 1991. Total assets under management, and assets under management that follow a responsible investment mandate? We manage approximately $37.5 billion, and advise on an additional $215 billion in assets. We have incorporated ESG issues into our investment processes for a number of years now. The diligence for all fund investments we make includes analysis of ESG iss

A new campaign to hold Wall Street accountable emerges

Wall Street’s big banks remain too big to fail and its bankers apparently too big to jail. If Wall Street is ever once more to serve Main Street rather than sabotage it, citizens will have to do the heavy lifting. Last week, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit overturned a verdict against Bank of America for falsely peddling lousy mortgage loans, showing yet again that the Justice Department and courts have offered no remedy for what the FBI once warned was an “epidemic of fraud.” At the same time, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) called out Wall Street lobbyists who were “swarming this place,” pressing Congress to slip bank-friendly riders into must-pass legi

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