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Arden Asset Management picks up $150m from Pennsylvania SERS amid local criticism of role of placement agents and hedge fund performance

Monday, January 28, 2013

Beverly Chandler, Opalesque London: Joseph N. DiStefano writing for philly.com has opened up a debate on the merits and expense of hedge fund placement agents or third party marketers as he revealed that the Pennsylvania State Employees Retirement System (SERS) announced it was giving Arden Asset Management $150m to invest.

DiStefano writes: "Back in 2006, SERS and its board, headed by ex-state Rep. Nicholas Maiale, gave more than $3bn to six private investment firms so they could use it to buy high-priced hedge fund investments, in hopes of fat profits.

The goal was to beat the sluggish stock and bond markets and ease the system's deficit, which had been growing since Gov. Tom Ridge boosted pensions in 2001 but failed to pay for the increase."

From 2006-12 New York firm, Arden Asset Management was given $20m to invest in hedge funds. DiStefano writes: "About 20 percent of that fee went to former Phillies pitcher Larry Christenson and his partners. Christenson is what investors call a "third-party marketer" or "placement agent," whose job is to help funds such as Arden get hired by clients such as Pennsylvania. Christenson rubs elbows with Pennsylvania movers and shakers. Last June, Christenson cosponsored a fund-raiser for NHS Human Services, a Philadelphia-based, multistate social service agency headed by ex-state Sen. Joseph Rocks, a longtime member of the SERS board that hires managers such as Arden. I ask......................

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