Rhode Island Candidates Spar On Hedge Funds Again

Aug 28 2014 | 4:24am ET

Hedge funds continue to be a hot-button issue in this year’s Rhode Island gubernatorial campaign.

The state pension fund’s investments in hedge funds have been a major point of attack for Providence Mayor Angel Taveras, one of three candidates for the Democratic nod for governor. Taveras has consistently slammed rival Gina Raimondo, the state’s treasurer who is responsible for its pension investments, for the increase in fees paid by the system.

At this week’s debate, ahead of Sept. 9’s primary, Raimondo shot back, accusing Taveras of falling down in his responsibilities at Providence’s pension fund—and of investing in hedge funds himself.

Taveras “did move money from one hedge fund to another, and the one he put it into is now being investigated by the U.S. Senate for possible tax evasion,” Raimondo said, referring to Renaissance Technologies, which has been criticized for using a controversial options strategy to reduce its tax bill. That is, Taveras did that when he actually showed up.

“For the first half of his term, he barely showed up at the investment committee meetings,” Raimondo alleged. “He missed 80% of the meetings.”

For his part, Taveras noted that Providence’s pension has “outperformed” the state pension.


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