Hedgies cut ties with think tank
The New York Post
By Michelle Celarier
June 11, 2013
Money management heavy hitters Cliff Asness, Henry Kravis and Thomas McWilliams have blinked.
The trio are cutting their ties to the Manhattan Institute, the conservative think tank whose policy experts have called for the abolition of defined benefit public pension plans, The Post has learned. [EXPAND Read more]
The moves come after the American Federation of Teachers in April called out 33 top money managers for backing efforts to eliminate public pensions — while soliciting their investment dollars.
AQR founder Asness has agreed not to renew his term on the Manhattan Institute board of trustees when it expires in less than a year and to work with the group to “moderate” its position on defined benefits in the meantime, according to e-mails sent to the AFT that The Post reviewed.
Meanwhile, Court Square Managing Partner McWilliams has resigned from the Manhattan Institute board.
KKR, whose founder Henry Kravis contributed to the Manhattan Institute through a foundation he runs, has agreed to what the AFT called “a greater alignment between [KKR’s] commitments and the future health and viability of public sector defined benefit plans,” according to a letter from AFT President Randi Weingarten to KKR.
“We’re glad a growing number of managers recognize it doesn’t make sense to solicit the hard-earned retirement savings of teachers and public employees while at the same time serving on the boards of organizations trying to wipe out those pensions,” said Weingarten.
AQR declined to comment. KKR, Court Square and the Manhattan Institute did not return calls.
In April, the AFT first targeted hedge-fund mogul Dan Loeb, who is also on the board of the Manhattan Institute.
Loeb has refused to back down, and has attacked the teachers union at recent public events, calling them “bullies.” [/EXPAND]