Retired Arnold Eyes Pension Reform

Jun 27 2013 | 1:02pm ET

Another hedge fund manager is weighing in on the thorny issue of public pension reform.

John Arnold, who made billions running Centaurus Advisors before shutting the hedge fund last year, is turning his foundation and fortune to reforming California's public pensions. Arnold aims to back groups seeking to limit public-employee pension deals, which are threatening the fiscal health of states and municipalities across the country.

Arnold has been involved in the pension reform movement for years, having given $150,000 to the California Foundation for Fiscal Responsibility two years ago, out of a total of about $10 million spent nationwide on the issue.

Arnold's acceleration of his pension effort comes after the American Federation of Teachers issued a watch list of hedge and private-equity funds run by those it says are seeking to undermine public pensions. The union particularly targeted Third Point's Daniel Loeb.

Unlike the managers on that list—some of whom have backed down in the wake of its release—Arnold is no longer managing outside capital. But he's still subject to the outrage of the potentially affected.

"It's the height of narcissism for a Texas billionaire who doesn't have to worry about his retirement to come into California and try to meddle with the secure retirement of working-class people," Service Employees International Union spokesman Lowell Goodman said.

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