California pension fund at it again

The California State Teachers' Retirement System (CalSTRS) intends to use its 5.3 million shares to block the reelection of the entire board of directors of Wal-Mart Stores. You may recall this is the same group that filed suit against Walmart and its executives over their alleged actions in Mexico.

Regarding the matter, Jack Ehnes, CEO of CalSTRS, said, “CalSTRS believes former and current Wal-Mart executives and board members breached their fiduciary responsibilities. They did so by failing to respond to indications of a pattern of unethical conduct in the company’s foreign operations. Beyond that, CalSTRS believes that in some cases, Walmart leadership actively suppressed an internal investigation which would have brought these improper actions to light."

CalSTRS is encouraging other shareholders to vote against reelection. However, with the Walton family owning a 48% stake in the company, it will take more than just a handful of disgruntled shareholders to affect any real change.

The California State Teachers’ Retirement System, with a portfolio valued at $153.7 billion as of April 30, is the largest teacher pension fund and second largest public pension fund in the United States. CalSTRS administers a hybrid retirement system, consisting of traditional defined benefit, cash balance and defined contribution plans, as well as disability and survivor benefits. CalSTRS serves California's 856,000 public school educators and their families from the state’s 1,600 school districts, county offices of education and community college districts.

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