Auditor Criticizes La. Pensions' Hedge Investment

Jun 7 2012 | 11:25am ET

Just over two months after three Louisiana public pension funds won the liquidation of a hedge fund they invested $100 million with, a state watchdog has rapped them for poor oversight.

The state's Legislative Auditor found that the Louisiana Firefighters' Retirement System, Louisiana Municipal Employees' Retirement System and New Orleans Firefighters' Pension and Relief Fund failed to fully document the risks inherent in the Fletcher Asset Management fund. But the auditor did credit the pensions with following most state legal requirements.

The pensions, for their part, argued that they still hope to get their money back as the hedge fund is liquidated, and that the investments made up just a small part of their portfolios.

Whether they pensions will be able to get much back from Fletcher remains unclear.

A Cayman Islands court last week approved the pensions' winding-up petition, ruling that New York-based Fletcher's FIA Leveraged Fund is "very doubtfully solvent." The pensions invested $100 million with Fletcher four years ago, and claim that the hedge fund guaranteed a 12% annual return. When they sought to redeem a portion of their investment in March 2011, the pensions received promissory notes, and then moved to redeem their entire investment, which Fletcher said had grown to $136 million.


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