UC Prevails in Public Disclosure Case

UC invests in pension and other funds in a broad array of assets including investments in private equity firms.  Such firms are exempt from most forms of public disclosure since investments with them are not publicly available.  However, there have been attempts to get at their records through UC by demanding the reports that UC receives from the firms as an investor.  The firms reportedly will refuse to allow future UC investments if their records are subject to disclosure.

Finance types generally view having a broad array of assets in a portfolio as a Good Thing and therefore exclusion by UC from private equity investments is seen as a Bad Thing. 

A recent case to obtain such records has failed, according to a Bloomberg report excerpted below.  The attempt to obtain such records did not really involve an investigation of UC investment strategy but was a back door for a Reuters financial news service to getting records of a private equity firm that would otherwise be unavailable.

The University of California won a court ruling that it doesn’t have to obtain and make public records of its investments with Sequoia Capital and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. A California appeals court in San Francisco reversed a trial-court ruling and denied a petition by Reuters America LLC to force the university to get the records of its investment returns and release them. “This is a complete and total victory for us,” Dianne Klein, a spokeswoman for the UC Regents, said in a phone interview. The records sought by Reuters aren’t covered by California’s Public Records Act, and the appeals court recognized that Reuters “overstepped the boundaries of the act” when it sought to compel the university to obtain records about investments made with Sequoia and Kleiner, she saidThe ruling came in a public records lawsuit against the university…

Full story at http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-12-19/california-regents-needn-t-disclose-private-equity-returns-1-.html