Sunday, July 21, 2019
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Divestiture politics roils pensions, investments

Thanks to Assembly Bill 33, introduced by Assemblymember Rob Bonta, D-Alameda, the state Legislature will spend time and resources to codify an issue that California pensioners have spoken on before: divesting from high-performing funds for political purposes. AB 33, as written, would require that state retirement systems, namely California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS) and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS), divest of all investments in private corrections companies and disallow investing in those same companies in the future. Specific numbers for the amount of money CalSTRS has lost through divesting from private corrections companies are not readily available but all CalSTRS divestment efforts from 2000 through 2018 have cost the fund’s retirees an accumulated $6 billion. The most basic argument against this bill is one against divestment generally. Divesting destabilizes an investment portfolio at the cost of public servants’ retirement and future stability. California pensioners have a reasonable expectation that retirement funds will be responsibly invested and managed now and in the years to come. Further, there is often a misconception that these companies have a role in shaping the public policy that is the target of activist agendas, like Bonta’s call for divestment. In October 2018, CalPERS elected a new board member over the divestment issue. When a pension fund is underfunded only two options remain: raising taxes on working people to make up the difference, or to cheating retirees out of the pensions they rely on. — Editor’s Note: Corrects 9th graf to identify Jason Perez as board member, Henry Jones as board president.

China Politics and YOUR Business

With all that is going on with China’s economy and with its trade discussions with the United States and with US tariffs and with the EU’s mounting frustration with China, our China lawyers are finding themselves more often engaged in “big picture” discussions with our clients than ever before. What are you seeing in China? We are well-trained and well-positioned to answer some of these, such as the one regarding China’s new laws and we write about those. See China’s New Foreign Investment Law and Forced Technology Transfer: Same As it Ever Was and China Approves New Foreign Investment Law to Level Playing Field for Foreign Companies. Our client had read the report, found it exceedingly helpful, and thought we too would benefit from it. Yesterday, my law firm had its bi-weekly “international team” meeting. One of the things I love discussing at these meetings is what I call the 360 nature of our practice and in our meeting yesterday I talked of how the EU lead at a multinational company had contacted us because he had heard of our having opened a Madrid office and he was based right outside Madrid. I just assumed from this that he was seeking Spain legal help, but it turned out he wanted to work with our Spain lawyers on a China matter. The Special Report is 20 pages, but Ms. Minehardt nicely summarizes it on APCO’s blog here. Stability is the government’s top priority amid the continuation of China’s economic slowdown.
Jared Kushner Under Scrutiny After Failed Qatar Deal, Blockade | AM Joy | MSNBCvideo

Jared Kushner Under Scrutiny After Failed Qatar Deal, Blockade | AM Joy | MSNBC

Jared Kushner is under scrutiny after the Kushner family company failed to acquire investment from a Qatari entity, followed by Jared Kushner allegedly supporting a U.S. blockade against Qatar. Joy Reid and her panel discuss. » Subscribe to MSNBC:…