US - The San Diego County Employees Retirement Association (SDCERA) has said it will appeal against a New York court decision preventing it from recouping its investment in a collapsed hedge fund.
The state pension fund sued US hedge fund Amaranth Advisors for securities fraud in 2007 after the hedge fund's spectacular collapse the year before wiped out a multi-million dollar investment. (Global Pensions, March 30, 2007).
It had invested US$175m in the hedge fund in 2005 but a year later Amaranth was forced to close down after losing about $6bn within days on disastrous trades in gas futures.
The court ruled that the SDCERA contract with Amaranth contained routine disclaimers on the level of investment risk and therefore dismissed the lawsuit.
But the pension fund argues that the disclaimers "did not excuse the type of excessive and unreasonable conduct" that led to Amaranth's collapse.
"We're disappointed with the court's ruling," said chief executive officer Brian White.
"None of those disclaimers advised us that Amaranth was going to break the law," he added.
Last year, the US energy commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission approved a settlement with Amaranth that required it to pay a fine of more than $7m for manipulating prices on the gas market.
In January this year an administrative law judge found that one of Amaranth's energy traders, Brian Hunter, violated federal law.
It is thought that the San Diego pension scheme, which looks after the retirement benefits of about 36,000 current and former civil servants, is still looking to recover about $85m from Amaranth.
Separately, New York attorney general Andrew Cuomo pledged to crack down on civil servants who allegedly manipulate their salary and overtime payments to boost their pension benefits.
He has sent letters to 28 state agencies and local government employers that have some of the highest salary or pension payments in New York seeking payroll and related data for pension recipients.
The move is the latest in Cuomo's efforts to stamp out corruption at the New York State Common Retirement Fund, with pay-to-play kickback schemes being a particular focus.
The Brunel Pension Partnership has become the fourth local authority pool to receive the green light from the regulator.
Defined benefit (DB) schemes are to be offered a new consolidator as the former chief of the Pension Protection Fund (PPF) launches 'The Pension SuperFund'.
Martin Freeman has been hired as head of technology product and development at Smart Pension, to support the 'growing' technology product side of the business.
Tim Sharp says the government has missed some big opportunities to help workers in the DB white paper.