Catching Up With the Florida Funds Scandal

Forgot to check in with the Florida funds scandal yesterday.

The local media has finally gotten engaged here, and there are several relevant stories in the Miami Herald, even if they have to get one from the AP rather than reporting it all themselves.

  • AP, Governments continue investment withdrawals; managers positive:

    Local governments withdrew about $560 million of their money from Florida's state-run investment pool Friday, but the beleaguered fund's managers were pleased that figure was about half the amount from a day before.

  • Beatrice Garcia, Citizens assesses its risk: The state-run insurer is the biggest investor in a troubled investment pool, and it wants to reduce its holdings:

    It has about $1.7 billion in Part A of the fund, which has been reopened for withdrawals, and about $260 million in Part B, which remains closed.

    In all, Citizens has about $7 billion of the $10 billion it has stockpiled — in cash, credit lines and borrowings to pay future claims — invested with the State Board of Administration, which runs the investment pool and other funds. It began to move funds over to be managed by the SBA last fall because of its good investment results and also to save money on management fees.

  • Gary Fineout, The State Board of Administration reported that it has more than $2.5 billion in downgraded investments in several accounts, including the state retirement fund. It's a little hard to follow, but it seems that the Local Government Investment Pool (LGIP) may not be the only state-managed fund with problems:

    The SBA said Wednesday the state pension fund has $756 million in investments that have fallen below purchase guidelines, as have more than $800 million in investments that it manages on behalf of Citizens Property Insurance and the Hurricane Catastrophe Fund. The SBA manages nearly $200 billion in its various accounts.

  • In that same story, the local angle: “Donald Nelson, finance director for the City of Coral Gables, which has $32 million frozen in the pool, has plenty of cash to meet obligations, particularly with tax revenues flowing in. Still, he said the city plans Thursday to withdraw $2 million.”

Earlier items:

Not irrelevantly, there's also this amazing piece of news: South Florida homeowners are in trouble, with one in 32 Miami-Dade homes in foreclosure; in Broward, it's one in 30.

I suppose the silver lining is that for all the aspiring faculty to whom we've extended offers this may be a good time to buy. Assuming you plan to hold on to the property for a while….

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