Some Fancy Pension Things You Should Check Out

First there’s this:

Blackstone Group’s Stephen Schwarzman yesterday gave SAC Capital Advisors’ Steve Cohen a little Valentine’s Day kiss.

Blackstone, which has $550 million invested with Cohen’s $14 billion hedge-fund empire, cut a deal to keep the “vast majority” of its money with Cohen’s SAC for at least another three months, The Post has learned.

Then this (Warning: External PDF Link) where New York has banned placement agents. Kentucky only requires them to register as lobbyists. The New York Attorney General recovered more than $100 million for the fund from various investment managers and intermediaries while Kentucky’s Attorney General is sitting on his hands.

Even the Wall Street Journal says this is the right way to clean up public pension systems:

An outside review of New York’s $150 billion pension fund for public workers showed Tuesday that it fixed the ethical problems that led to a “pay-for-play” scandal.

The three-year review by Michigan-based Funston Advisory Services said the Common Retirement Fund’s 2009 decision to ban paid placement agents, which are used by other pension funds, does not appear to have kept it from accessing qualified outside investment managers.

New York Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, the fund’s sole trustee since the 2007 scandal, is meeting all applicable ethical and conflict-of-interest standards and is acting solely for the benefit of its 1 million workers and beneficiaries, Funston said in the 161-page report. However, the review noted the fund is thinly staffed for its size and complexity, depending more on external consultants, and needs better computer infrastructure including a centralized document management system.

Frankfort should really pay attention to this:

DiNapoli said the review, the first of the outside reports now required every three years, validated reforms that followed the scandal and confirmed the in-house feeling that banning placement agents didn’t close out many investment options.

“The reality is so much of what went wrong under the prior administration had so much to do with that relationship,” DiNapoli said. “My feeling was the only way to be sure that kind of corrosive relationship won’t happen again is to not do business with placement agents. I think the findings confirmed we have not suffered because of that.”

Frankfort won’t, though. Jack Conway won’t. Damon Thayer is incapable of comprehending the mess at KRS. Bob Stivers is terrified to touch the disaster. Greg Stumbo can’t be bothered.

This is why Kentucky can’t have nice things.