Recent Change In NY Legislation Could Benefit Hedge Funds

Jul 28 2006 | 4:34pm ET

Among the dozen pieces of legislation enacted by New York Governor George Pataki in his final legislative session was a law that could stand to benefit hedge funds:  The percentage of the $128 billion of public pension fund assets that can invested in alternative investments — including hedge funds — is now 25%, up from 15%. State Comptroller Alan Hevesi sought to eliminate the cap entirely to give the state's pensions carte blanche to take advantage of "hot" asset classes, such as international equities.

"This is something we've been fighting for awhile," said John Chartier, spokesman. "There are certain types of investment vehicles we have not been able to take advantage of, for instance, the 15% limited how much we could put into international equities and limited the returns we could get."

According to the most recent statistics, dated March 31, 2005, New York State has $17.4 billion committed to alternative investments in the form of hedge funds, venture capital partnerships, corporate finance, international investments and special situations, just shy of the 15% cap. This means the state could invest another $15 billion in alternatives. However, Charier is quick to note the bill was not done with an "eye toward increasing alternatives," but to give "more flexibility in the way pensions invest funds."

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