US - Michigan's State Department of Treasury has denied there are political drivers behind the decision to set aside US$300m of the state pension fund to be invested in Michigan-based companies.
"At the same time we think that by concentrating on Michigan companies we can retain, grow or even attract businesses to locate in Michigan and create jobs."
The investment vehicles used will be two different private equity funds, one dedicated to direct investments in venture capital and expansion stage companies and one targeting acquisitions and buyouts.
Stanton added: "We already have about 16% of the pension fund invested in private equity, so it is really a continuation of what we are already doing, but with more consistent or tighter concentration on Michigan companies."
David John, senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation, commented: "I have very mixed reactions. While the idea of improving a state's economy sounds good, state and local government pension plans have a history of making politically motivated investments that end up either losing money or producing substandard returns.
"The real question is whether the investments are made using strict business criteria, or whether political considerations will cloud that judgment. The appointed fund managers are professionals, but the activities of these funds should be very closely watched."
Last June, New York City comptroller William Thompson Jr. hit back at critics of New York City pension funds social investment model, claiming every other public pension fund should follow it.
Speaking at a Harvard Law School national conference on pensions, he said: "Some cite decades old examples of social investments that were implemented for political purposes.
"We invest with partners under strict, clearly-spelled-out business parameters and structures to ensure board members and staff are free from any political pressure. I think this is a model every public pension fund can learn from and should follow."
Trustees lack expertise, time and resources to develop effective communications on technical pensions issues and need professional help, a major review of the British Steel saga has concluded.
In this week's Pensions Buzz, we want to know if you think trustees should consult directly with members before agreeing to a DB superfund buyout.
Thousands of savers taking tax-free lump sums ahead of retirement are at risk of a pensions shortfall in later life due to neglecting their remaining pot, Zurich has warned.
Professional Pensions is looking to update its list of pensions master trusts in the UK ahead of authorisation. Can you help?