SEC Investigating CalPERS-Broidy Ties

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – U.S. security regulators are investigating possible ties between a former chief executive of California pension fund Calpers and a former Calpers board member, and a financier who has pleaded guilty in a New York pension fund corruption case, The Sacramento Bee said on Saturday, citing court documents.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has demanded records of any contacts financier Elliott Broidy had with former California Public Employees’ Retirement System CEO Fred Buenrostro and former Calpers board member Alfred Villalobos, among others, the newspaper said.

Broidy pleaded guilty this week to providing nearly $1 million in gifts to New York pension fund officials to win investments for the firm Markstone Capitol Group.

Calpers spokesman Clark McKinley was not immediately available for comment. Broidy’s spokesman declined comment but the financier has said he is cooperating with the SEC.

SEC lawyer Leslie Hakala did not immediately return a phone call for comment.

The California pension fund and other public pension funds across the country have come under increased scrutiny from federal and state officials in recent months for irregularities.

Last month, a Calpers board member agreed to pay $12,500 to settle a campaign contribution dispute related to placement agents, who help sell investments at the pension fund.

Placement agents have also come under increasing scrutiny as a result of a pay-to-play probe in New York that has uncovered a web of connections between placement agent firms, investment firms and public retirement systems across the country.

(Reporting by Poornima Gupta and Jim Christie; Editing by Eric Walsh)