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August 16, 2002
State Officials Pledge Protection of Pension Assets
Tre
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asurers and other state officials with influence over more than $1 trillion of public pension assets have pledged to work together to foster integrity in corporate America.

Representatives from 14 states and one city - Hartford, Conn. - agreed at a recent meeting in New York City to "work proactively to clean up corporate corruption and bring about a renewed faith in the financial marketplace."

Scandals that have cost the pension plans run by those officials tens of billions of dollars.

But the New York Times notes that while the officials denounced "imperial CEO's" who are paid far beyond their value and companies that acquire an offshore address to escape taxes on profits earned in the United States, only one of them said he was working to divest his fund of stock in companies that have abused shareholders or taxpayers.

The official, California Treasurer Philip Angelides, said he was trying to arouse a sustained interest in change among trustees of public pension funds because "one of the real dangers in the reform movement is that it could be quickly forgotten."

Angelides says he will not issue contracts to 22 companies that have or are seeking an offshore address. He is also trying to persuade fellow trustees of the California Public Employees' Retirement System, or Calpers, and the California State Teachers' Retirement System to sell their shares in companies like Ingersoll-Rand, Cooper Industries, Nabors Industries and Tyco International.

Calpers is the nation's largest public pension fund; the California teachers' system is the third largest.

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