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Cypen & Cypen
NEWSLETTER
for
FEBRUARY 18, 2010

Stephen H. Cypen, Esq., Editor

1.         CalPERS STILL ATOP PUBLIC FUNDS:  Pensions & Investments has taken its annual look at the largest retirement funds.  Here are the top ten: 

 1.            California Public Employees - $198.8 Billion

 2.            California State Teachers - $130.5 Billion

 3.            New York State Common - $125.7 Billion

 4.            Florida State Board - $114.7 Billion

 5.            New York City Retirement - $111.7 Billion

 6.            Texas Teachers - $91.4 Billion

 7.            New York State Teachers - $77.6 Billion

 8.            Wisconsin Investment Board - $73.1 Billion

 9.            North Carolina - $70.8 Billion

10.            New Jersey - $68.7 Billion

The foregoing public funds total over $1 Trillion, virtually all in defined benefit plans.  And, despite its corporate woes, at $99.2 Billion, General Motors still leads all corporate funds.

 2.            RETURN OF THE CALLAN PERIODIC TABLE OF INVESTMENT RETURNS:  Callan Associates Inc. annually publishes its Table of Investment Returns, showing annual returns for key indices, ranked in order of performance over the past twenty years (see C&C Newsletter for January 29, 2009, Item 3).  Here are the numbers for 2009, in which all eight categories are in positive territory: 

RUSSELL 2000 GROWTH                                                            34.47%
MSCI EAFE                                                                                                31.78%
S&P/CITI 500 GROWTH                                                                        31.57%
RUSSELL 2000                                                                                    27.17%
S&P 500                                                                                                26.47%
S&P/CITI 500 VALUE                                                                        21.17%
RUSSELL 2000 VALUE                                                                        20.58%
BC AGG                                                                                                  5.93%

Remember that last year, at 5.24%, Barclays Capital Aggregate Bond Index (formerly Lehman Brothers Aggregate Bond Index) was the only category in positive territory.  Here are some other observations: 

  • The U.S. stock market enjoyed its best year since 2003, with the S&P 500 climbing 26.5%.  The gains were even more remarkable, considering that the S&P 500 began the year with a sharp loss of 11 % in the first quarter. 
  • Large cap growth (+31.6%) outperformed value (+21.2%) for the third year in a row and by the widest margin since 1999 (the heyday of growth). 
  • All equity categories reported positive returns for the first time since 2006.
  • For the ninth year out of the last 11, small cap (+27.2%) outperformed large cap (+26.5%) stocks in 2009.  Similar to large cap, small cap growth (+34.5%) outperformed small cap value (+20.6%).

 3. DON’T WORRY; BE HAPPY:  A 29-year Yale study concluded that an optimistic attitude is more important to health than blood pressure, cholesterol level, smoking or obesity.  With an optimistic attitude, you will live an average 7 1/2 years longer. Optimism is not a goofy, naive, overdreaming perspective.  Optimism is choosing to be forward-moving regardless of setbacks. It is choosing to be free of unnecessary anxiety and frustration.  It is accepting the fact of where you are, but never letting go of the mental perspective, “I will prevail.”  The remarkable thing is that you have a choice every single day to manage it or let it be mismanaged.  Wow -- great stuff.  Executive Charisma

 4. EEOC HIT WITH $4.5 MILLION IN FEES AFTER DISMISSAL OF SE.XUAL HARASSMENT SUIT:  A federal judge in Iowa has ordered Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to pay $4.56 Million in attorneys fees and expenses to a trucking business after dismissing the agency's sexual harassment lawsuit. According to the National Law Journal, the fee award against EEOC, while not unprecedented, is unusual, and may be among the largest imposed by a federal court.  EEOC has filed an appeal from dismissal of the underlying case.  The agency had charged in its suit that the trucking company's lead drivers or team drivers had subjected approximately 270 female drivers to se.xual harassment and a se.xually hostile work environment, and that the company had failed to correct and protect them.  The judge indicated that several factors warranted a large award:  the company's counsel successfully obtained dismissal of the entire case; the case involved hundreds of allegedly aggrieved individuals; and there was potentially massive liability to the trucking company.

 5. SO YOU VANT TO BE GOVERNOR, DAHLING?:  Prince Frederic von Anhalt -- Zsa Zsa Gabor's husband and a tabloid fixture -- says he Is ready for his next role:  governor of California.  The Associated Press reports that the flamboyant socialite will file candidacy papers at the secretary of state's office.  If he follows through, von Anhalt would be the only independent in the field.  His political platform includes lifting the import ban on Cuban cigars, legalizing marijuana and prostitution, then taxing them all.  He said he was motivated to run by watching mistakes of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who he says has let Californians down.  Inasmuch as the prince is Zsa Zsa's eighth, perhaps he should change his name to Henry.  Von Anhalt is actually her ninth husband because her one day marriage to Felipe de Alba was annulled.  Incidentally, the remarkable Ms. Gabor turned 93 this month. 

 6. PROSECUTOR DOGGED BY THE GIGGLES; LAUGHS IN COURT WHILE READING STATEMENT ABOUT OWNER’S BEATING PET:  A prosecutor stepped in it Wednesday, according to nydailynews.com, laughing in court while reading a suspect's statement about how she beat her dog for relieving itself in an elevator.  Defendant’s lawyer blasted the Assistant District Attorney for his lack of decorum.  The defendant was charged with beating her 9-pound Pomeranian named Sparky into unconsciousness in an elevator.  She told police "It wasn't like I was killing him or anything like that.  I mean I wasn't gonna really hurt him."  But that part is not what cracked up the prosecutor:  he apparently had a hard time containing himself when he came to a part of the statement where defendant described what Sparky did in the elevator.  Defendant, who has since put Sparky up for adoption, was caught on video pounding the 4-year-old dog, and now faces up to a year in jail.  As Thornton Melon says:  look out for number 1, but don’t step in number 2. 

 7. BRITS TOAST NEW SHATTERPROOF PINT GLASS:  Soon Britons will be able to get smashed at the pub while their pint glasses will not, according to the Associated Press.  The shatterproof pint glass was proudly unveiled by government officials, who swore the country would save billions in health care costs by coming up with a glass that does not double as a lethal weapon.  (Noticeably, no officials were talking about reforming the British binge drinking culture at the root of the problem.)  There are about 87,000 alcohol-related glass attacks each year, with many resulting in hospital visits.  There are two types of shatterproof technologies in the works:  one has a thin bio-resin coating on the inside that strengthens it and the other bonds two thin layers of glass together in the same way as car windshields.  Both are difficult to break, and keep the shards together if they do fracture, rendering them useless as weapons.  The government is touting the prototypes as the first significant improvement in bar glassware in decades (whoopee).  The plan is to introduce the new glasses for use on a voluntary basis in pubs, if tests show they are durable, cost-effective and safe.  We wonder if the new glasses will hold a chill as well as the old ones.  Cheers! 

 8. IF FAMOUS CHARACTERS THROUGHOUT TIME HAD JEWISH MOTHERS:   PAUL REVERE'S JEWISH MOTHER:  “I don't care where you think you have to go, young man, midnight is long past your bedtime!” 
 9. FABULOUS RANDOM THOUGHTS:  How many times is it appropriate to say "What?" before you just nod and smile because you still didn't hear what they said?

10. QUOTE OF THE WEEK:  “The time is always right to do what is right.”  Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Items in this Newsletter may be excerpts or summaries of original or secondary source material, and may have been reorganized for clarity and brevity. This Newsletter is general in nature and is not intended to provide specific legal or other advice.


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