Calpers Unloads Record $6 Billion of Private-Equity Stakes at Discount
(Bloomberg) — The California Public Employees’ Retirement System sold about $6 billion of its stakes in private equity funds to second-hand buyers, severing ties with a slew of past managers and freeing up cash for new wagers.
Most Read from Bloomberg
The $440 billion public pension fund, the largest in the US, has cycled through four investment chiefs since 2009 and has long wrestled with the complexity of its $50 billion in private equity holdings. Calpers hired Jefferies Financial Group Inc. to explore ways to clean up its portfolio and shop a swath of assets, according to people familiar with the matter.
Lexington Partners, an investment business of Franklin Resources Inc., and CVC Capital Partners’ Glendower Capital snapped up pieces in separate sales that wrapped up over the past two weeks, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing private transactions. The deal is not only the largest of its kind by Calpers, but private equity executives said it’s probably the biggest-ever involving second-hand fund stakes changing hands.
Trading in such size came at a price: Calpers sold its holdings at a roughly 10% discount to their value in September 2021, some of the people said. The fund softened the blow thanks in part to how it structured the deal, they said.
The blockbuster transaction generates money for investment chief Nicole Musicco, who took over earlier this year, to make new wagers as markets remain volatile. She has told Calpers directors that she wants to build a team that would buy stakes in private companies. That would let Calpers gain more control and bypass private equity firms like Blackstone Inc. or Carlyle Group Inc.
“The sale positions us to act on our new asset allocation and allows us to capitalize on market opportunities,” Musicco said in a statement to Bloomberg. Calpers drew up plans last year to increase private equity and grow private debt.
Representatives for Lexington, Glendower and Jefferies declined to comment.
Pensions and endowments are among large institutions taking advantage of the rise of so-called secondary buyers — other deep-pocketed investors willing to take on older, unwanted private equity stakes that are typically hard to sell and value. These kinds of trades totaled $63 billion in 2021, a record high, according to Campbell Lutyens & Co.
Wall Street is bracing for a slowdown in trading private equity stakes. With markets in flux, some sellers are hesitant about striking deals at steep discounts.
The haircuts for various assets sold by Calpers range from high single-digit percentages to about 20%, some of the people said.
In a move to make any discount less punitive, Calpers opted to defer some payments beyond June 30, the last day of its fiscal year, people said. That allows Calpers to continue collecting some of the cash generated by the investments. And by not taking all of the sale proceeds upfront, Calpers can avoid a large balance of undeployed cash, which would drag down performance for the latest fiscal year.
Calpers, like many public pensions, doesn’t have all the assets needed to meet future promises to retired police, firefighters and other state workers. If the funds can’t meet their return benchmarks, it puts the onus on taxpayers to help fill the shortfall.
Lexington and Glendower took over a mixed bag of older funds that include buyout and growth strategies. The deal helps Calpers break ties with some managers it invested with previously.
Calpers, one of the earliest public pension funds to get into private equity, has seen its returns in the asset class trail peers over time as rivals crowded into buyout funds in search of higher returns.
Various Calpers leaders have tried to remake the pension’s sprawling private equity portfolio, but some ran out of time or faced challenges getting support from others at the fund.
Ted Eliopoulos tried to slash the number of managers during his tenure as CIO from 2014 to 2018. Under Musicco’s predecessor, Ben Meng, Calpers expanded coinvestments, which are typically deals done alongside funds to help curb fees.
The pension fund has continued to ramp up coinvesting, one of the people said.
Most Read from Bloomberg Businessweek
©2022 Bloomberg L.P.
American Weed Stocks Are Cheap. They’re About to Get a Sales Bump.
However bad the year has been for most stocks, it has been especially harsh for state-licensed cannabis sellers.
In just the past month, the
AdvisorShares Pure US Cannabis
exchange-traded fund (ticker: MSOS), which tracks America’s multistate operators—or MSOs—fell 25%, while the
How Do Mega Backdoor Roths Work?
A mega backdoor Roth is a unique 401(k) rollover strategy that’s designed for people whose incomes would ordinarily keep them from saving in a Roth Individual Retirement Account. The advantage of using a Roth IRA to save for retirement is being able to make tax-free qualified withdrawals. But not everyone can contribute to these accounts; higher-income earners are excluded. That’s where the mega backdoor Roth comes into play. If you have a 401(k) you’d like to roll over, you could use this strategy to enjoy the tax benefits of a Roth IRA without having income be an obstacle.
Make sure you’re taking advantage of every opportunity to maximize your retirement assets by working with a financial advisor.
Roth Account Basics
Before diving into the specifics of a mega backdoor Roth, there are a few things to know about Roth accounts, including Roth IRAs and Roth 401(k)s.
First, these accounts are both funded with after-tax dollars. That means when you make qualified withdrawals later, you won’t pay income tax on the money since you already paid it upfront. This is the key characteristic of Roth accounts and what makes them so appealing to investors who anticipate being in a higher tax bracket at retirement.
Next, your ability to contribute to a Roth 401(k) is not restricted by your income. But it is for a Roth IRA. For the 2021 tax year, you must be within these modified adjusted gross income limits to make a full Roth IRA contribution:
Single filers: MAGI of $125,000 or less
Married filing jointly: MAGI of $198,000 or less
Head of household: MAGI of $125,000 or less
You can make partial contributions above those income limits. But your ability to contribute phases out completely once your MAGI hits $140,000 (if you file single or head of household) or $208,000 if you’re married and file a joint return. For 2021, the full contribution allowed is $6,000 with a $1,000 catch-up contribution for savers aged 50 and older.
Finally, Roth 401(k) accounts are subject to required minimum distribution rules just like traditional 401(k) accounts. This rule requires you to begin taking money from your 401(k) starting at age 72. A Roth IRA, on the other hand, is not subject to RMD rules.
What Is a Backdoor Roth?
A backdoor Roth offers a work-around for people whose incomes are above the limits set by the IRS. When you execute a backdoor Roth, you roll money over from a traditional IRA to a Roth account. This way, you won’t have to pay taxes on your retirement savings in the Roth IRA when it’s time to make withdrawals. And you’re not subject to required minimum distribution rules either.
But there is a catch. You have to pay income tax on the money you roll over to a Roth account. So while you could save money on taxes in retirement, you’re not escaping the tax liability of a traditional IRA altogether.
How a Mega Backdoor Roth Works
A mega backdoor Roth is a backdoor Roth that’s designed specifically for people who have a 401(k) plan at work. This type of backdoor Roth allows you to contribute up to $38,500 to a Roth IRA or a Roth 401(k) in 2021. This is in addition to the regular annual contribution limits the IRS allows for these types of accounts. To execute a mega backdoor Roth, two conditions have to be met. Your 401(k) plan needs to allow the following:
You can ask your plan administrator whether your 401(k) meets these criteria. And if your plan doesn’t allow for in-service withdrawals or distributions, you could still attempt a mega backdoor Roth if you plan to leave your job in the near future.
If your plan meets the criteria, then you can take the next steps to execute a mega backdoor Roth. This is typically a two-step process that involves maxing out after-tax 401(k) contributions, then withdrawing the after-tax portion of your account to a Roth IRA.
Again, whether you can follow through on the second step depends on whether your plan allows in-service withdrawals. If it doesn’t, you’ll have to wait until you separate from your employer to roll over any after-tax money in your 401(k) into a Roth IRA.
You also need to watch out for the pro rata rule. This IRS rule says you can’t only withdraw pre- or post-tax contributions from a traditional 401(k). So if you’re completing a mega backdoor Roth, you couldn’t just withdraw post-tax contributions if your account holds both pre- and post-tax funds. In that case, you may have to roll over the entire balance to a Roth IRA.
Benefits of a Mega Backdoor Roth
There are three key benefits associated with executing a mega backdoor Roth. First, you can contribute significantly more to a Roth IRA upfront this way. For 2021, the contribution limit is $38,500 on top of the regular annual contribution limit and any catch-up contribution limits that may apply.
You’ll need to know the maximum amount you’re allowed to contribute to the after-tax portion of your 401(k). So for 2021, the IRS allows a maximum contribution of $58,000 or $64,500 if you’re 50 or older. You’d subtract your 401(k) contributions and anything your employer adds in matching contributions to figure out how much you could add to the after-tax portion.
Next, you can enjoy tax-free withdrawals in retirement. This is a benefit you may otherwise not being able to get if your income is too high to contribute to a Roth IRA. By reducing your tax liability in retirement, you can help your investment dollars go further. And you may have a larger legacy of wealth to pass on to future generations.
Finally, a mega backdoor Roth IRA would allow you to sidestep required minimum distribution rules. This means that you could retain control over when you choose to take distributions from a Roth IRA.
So who is a mega backdoor Roth right for? You may consider this move if you:
Have an eligible 401(k) plan at work
Have maxed out traditional 401(k) contributions
Are not eligible to contribute to a Roth IRA because of your income
Have additional money that you want to invest for retirement
Want to leverage the higher Roth IRA contribution limits allowed by a mega backdoor rollover
Talking to your financial advisor can help you decide if a mega backdoor Roth makes sense. And your 401(k) plan administrator should be able to tell you if it’s possible, based on your plan’s guidelines.
Mega Backdoor Roth Alternatives
If you can’t execute a mega backdoor Roth because your plan doesn’t allow it, there are other ways to increase your retirement savings. For example, you could try a regular backdoor Roth instead. This might be something to consider if you still want to enjoy the tax benefits of a Roth IRA but your plan doesn’t fit the criteria for a mega rollover. You could also elect to make Roth 401(k) contributions to your retirement plan at work. This way, you still get the benefit of contributing after-tax dollars and making tax-free withdrawals. You’d be subject to the regular contribution limits and you’d still have to take the required minimum distribution. But that may outweigh the value of tax savings in retirement.
Investing in a Health Savings Account (HSA) is another option. While these accounts are not specifically designed for retirement, they can yield multiple tax benefits. Contributions are tax-deductible and grow tax-deferred. Withdrawals are tax-free when used for eligible healthcare expenses. And at 65, you can take money out of an HSA for any reason without a tax penalty. You’ll just owe ordinary income tax on any withdrawals that are not used for healthcare expenses.
Finally, you could open a taxable brokerage account to invest. This doesn’t necessarily save you money on taxes since you’ll owe capital gains tax when you sell investments at a profit. But it could help you to diversify your investments and there are no limits on how much you can invest in a brokerage account annually.
A mega backdoor Roth strategy could work well for higher-income earners who want to take advantage of Roth account benefits. There are certain rules that need to be followed to make it work, however, so you may want to talk to your plan administrator or a tax professional before going ahead. Keep in mind also that even if you can’t complete a mega backdoor Roth rollover, you still have other options for growing retirement savings.
Tips for Retirement Planning
If you’re saving for retirement in a 401(k) or IRA, pay attention to the fees you’re paying. For instance, check the expense ratios for each fund you’re invested in to understand how much you pay to own that fund on an annual basis. You can then compare that to the fund’s performance to determine whether the fees are justified. Also, consider any administrative fees you might be paying and how those affect your net returns.
Consider talking to your financial advisor about a mega backdoor Roth and whether it could be right for you. If you don’t have a financial advisor yet, finding one doesn’t have to be complicated. SmartAsset’s financial advisor matching tool makes it easy to connect with professional advisors in your local area. You can get your personalized recommendations in minutes just by answering a few simple questions. If you’re ready, get started now.
Photo credit: ©iStock.com/designer491
Alibaba Is Tumbling. Chinese Tech Stocks Have a New Headache.
Chinese tech stocks were tumbling on Monday as two of the embattled sector’s leading players faced fresh fines from market regulators over disclosure rules.
China’s State Administration for Market Regulation announced Sunday a wave of penalties for improperly reporting past deals, in breach of competition law.
(ticker: BABA) and
(0700.H.K.) were among the companies fined as a result.
Forex8 months ago
Forex Today: the dollar is gaining strength amid gloomy sentiment at the start of the Fed’s week
Forex4 months ago
Unbiased review of Pocket Option broker
World5 months ago
Why are modern video games an art form?
Forex8 months ago
How is the Australian dollar doing today?
Cryptocurrency8 months ago
What happened in the crypto market – current events today
Stock Markets8 months ago
Morgan Stanley: bear market rally to continue
Forex7 months ago
Dollar to pound sterling exchange rate today: Pound plummeted to its lowest since 1985
Forex3 months ago
Will Croatia join schengen? Croatia became a member of the Schengen Agreement on visas and introduced the euro on January 1