By Jeff Ostrowski- Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
From Palm Beach Post
The head of Florida’s $140 billion pension plan admits that hedge funds are complicated, costly and fraught with potential pitfalls.
But properly managed, the contentious investment vehicles produce a handsome profit, says Ash Williams, executive director and chief investment officer at Florida’s State Board of Administration, which oversees the retirement fund for public workers.
For the three years that ended Nov. 30, Florida made an average annual return of 9.6 percent on its hedge fund investments after expenses, Williams said. That outpaced the pension plan’s overall annual return of 8.9 percent.
“The evidence that it’s working is clear, and it’s quantitative,” Williams said Tuesday at a hedge fund conference in Palm Beach Gardens.
- Florida began dabbling in hedge funds five years ago. Since March 2011, the state pension plan has invested $3.9 billion with 22 hedge fund managers who were vetted by state investment officials, Williams said.