October 26, 2009
AMERICA'S BIGGEST PENSION FUND
Property adviser to Calpers resigns
Victor MacFarlane will remain under contract with the fund through year's end
(SACRAMENTO, California) San Francisco businessman Victor MacFarlane is ending his longtime role as a property adviser to the California Public Employees' Retirement System (Calpers), a spokeswoman for his firm said on Saturday.
The development came after property investments by the nation's largest pension fund lost much of their value during the global economic downturn, costing the fund hundreds of millions of dollars.
MacFarlane Partners spokeswoman Julie Chase said that Mr MacFarlane will remain under contract with the giant pension fund through year's end. She said that Mr MacFarlane resigned within the past month, but she would not say why.
Calls to Calpers spokeswoman Pat Macht at home and work were not immediately returned.
Mr MacFarlane had advised the pension fund for years, Ms Chase said. 'More than a decade is probably fair.'
In January 2007, his firm helped engineer a US$970 million purchase by the pension fund of a majority share of a massive Southern California residential development known as LandSource, The Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday.
Falling land prices sent LandSource Communities Development LLC into Chapter 11 protection in June 2008.
In July, a federal bankruptcy judge let one of the original owners, Lennar Corp, buy back much of the firm at a steep discount to bring it out of bankruptcy. The Miami-based home builder bought about 15 per cent of the Newhall Ranch project and other properties for about US$140 million.
Newhall Ranch is in the last major tract of undeveloped land in Los Angeles County and the site of a planned 21,000-home development.
MacFarlane Partners property investment management firm was founded in 1987 and now manages US$10 billion in assets for some of the world's largest pension plans and institutions, the firm says on its website.
Martin Koh/ Sherry Tang