Friday, August 6, 2010

Follow The (Squandered) Money: Investment Advisors To Local Greasers To Elected Officials

The Cometeer is conducting a discussion (featuring Michael Lamb and Dok Harris) of InsolvenCity pension fund investment performance.

Investment performance -- what is done with capital after deposit -- is an important point, perhaps more important than the amount deposited. By steering the accounts to a bitter mix of well-connected dullards and high-powered fleecers, the city's elected officials and pension board members crippled the fund, rivaling the Port Authority board in long-term ineptitude.

Since the city dumped Hirtle Callaghan for Mercer as investment advisor a couple of years ago, performance appears to have improved. The Post-Gazette might have published an analysis of some of the relevant figures, but has anyone ever chronicled the behind-closed-doors warfare associated with the Hirtle-to-Mercer switch, or identified the recipients and amounts of finder's fees the underperformers paid to local door-openers?

Extra credit: Trace cash from the failed investment advisors to local agents to elected officials. Don't expect help from Dok Harris (no clue) or Michael Lamb (amnesia and laryngitis). An intriguing wild card might be Patrick Dowd, who could be far enough off the reservation to spill the magic beans if he can get his hands on them.

Infinonytune: Money For Nothing, Mark Knopfler, Sting, Eric Clapton

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