WSJ: PE’s Ongoing PR War Sees Lobby Group Push Public Pension Data

By Michael Wursthorn

As politicians and pundits continue to hammer the private equity industry during this election, the industry’s lobby group has culled public data from pension plans across the U.S. in an attempt to show the impact private equity has had on nearly 17.8 million beneficiaries of retirement benefits.

Using the data, the Private Equity Growth Capital Council has released an interactive map–Private Equity at Work in Your State–showing, state by state, how many companies are backed by financial sponsors, the number of employees across them and the total number of dollars invested between 2002 and 2011.

The data was used to make several rankings, including pension returns, number of dollars invested in private equity and total investment value by state and congressional district.

“This data, coupled with the new interactive map, further demonstrates who benefits most from successful private equity investments,” PEGCC said in a statement, adding that the beneficiaries range from teachers to police officers to firefighters.

The release of the map marks a turn for the PEGCC and its campaign, Private Equity at Work, as much of the additional data featured in the map-such as case studies-comes from previous releases of information starting earlier this year.

According to the data, the Pennsylvania State Employees’ Retirement System tops all other pension plans with a 10-year return on private equity investments of 13.6%, ahead of the Teacher Retirement System of Texas, which has 13.1%, and the Minnesota State Board of Investment, with 13%.

California Public Employees’ Retirement System doesn’t make the top 10 list, despite it having more dollars invested in private equity than any other U.S. pension fund ($34.4 billion), but California State Teachers’ Retirement System, just behind Calpers with $23 billion invested, ranks fifth on the returns list with 11.3%.

That data may change significantly as private equity firms are still sitting on a number of boom-time buyouts, some of which firms may be forced to sell out of necessity as funds near the end of their life span.

To continue reading, please click here.