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Tag: Washington State Investment Board

July
7th

Start-ups too risky for state pension fund investment

This editorial will appear in Friday’s print edition.

If elected governor next year, U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee says he’d focus on job creation in innovative fields.

That’s a worthy goal. But the way he’d fund it – by investing a portion of the state pension funds in start-up companies that pledge to stay in Washington – is worrisome. His plan would use money that needs to be as secure as possible to fund the kind of investments that are about as risky as they come.

The Washington State Investment Board folks who manage $61 billion in state pension funds don’t seem too thrilled by Inslee’s idea either. The board’s executive director, Theresa Whitmarsh, told the Seattle Times that the WSIB is bound by a “very, very strict fiduciary duty” to maximize return on investments that fund state retirees’ benefits. Its goal of an 8 percent return was set by the Legislature.
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