Calpers’ Private-Equity Fees: $3.4 Billion

The nation’s largest pension fund by assets said it has paid $3.4 billion in performance fees to private-equity managers since 1990, providing the most significant disclosure yet in a debate at retirement plans over whether Wall Street is worth the price of admission.

The California Public Employees’ Retirement System, known as Calpers, disclosed the performance-related expenses for the first time Tuesday. Calpers said those performance fees were based on profits of $24.2 billion earned in hundreds of private-equity funds over the past 17 years.

“We have been rewarded for the risk we took in the [private-equity] program, and the costs we incurred,” said Ted Eliopoulos, Calpers’ investment chief, in a conference call with reporters.

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