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America's 6 biggest public pensions

Forget the rich. Check out the public pension funds that every hedge fund manager, investment banker, and private equity CEO on Wall Street wants to woo.

California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERs)

us investors california government workers
  • Assets: $375 billion
  • Who it serves: 1.7 million state and local government employees and retirees

Investments: As the overseer of such a huge sum, CalPERS wields a lot of influence in the corporate world, and it knows how to use it. With large stakes in several publicly traded companies, the pension fund operates more like a shrewd activist investor than a conservative money manager.

Each year, CalPERS releases a "Focus List" of 1,000 public companies it owns and believes are underperforming. From there, it aggressively asserts its power by campaigning for change in management, board membership, executive compensation, risk management, or anything else it deems worthy of fixing.

High profile successes in recent years have included the removal of board members at JPMorgan (JPM), Hewlett Packard (HPQ), and Occidental Petroleum (OXY). The resulting corporate change following the fund's actions has been dubbed the "CalPERS effect" on Wall Street.

Source: Pensions & Investments
  @JesseSolomonCNN - Last updated June 19 2014 07:06 AM ET

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