Lehman Has Little Affect On Florida State Investments
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. Â - Less than 2 percent of Florida's portfolio is invested in Lehman Brothers and other troubled Wall Street firms, the state's investment chief told Gov. Charlie Crist and two Florida Cabinet members Tuesday.
They serve as the State Board of Administration, which invests about $163 billion in state and local government money, including the $120 billion state pension fund.
Bob Milligan, the board's interim director, said putting the state's eggs in many baskets has minimized its exposure to the troubled investment firms.
The state has more than $2.6 billion invested in Lehman, Washington Mutual, American International Group Inc., Merrill Lynch & Co. and Bank of America, which bought Merrill Lynch over the weekend. That's only 1.76 percent of the state's overall portfolio and includes $821 million in unrealized losses, or 0.55 percent.
That's when a stock's value has dropped below its purchase price but hasn't yet been sold. Crist said he thought Florida is "in very good shape."
"Our investments in Florida are very well diversified," Crist
Milligan agreed there's nothing for anyone to worry about, including state retirees and employees still looking forward to retirement. The pension fund continues to have a surplus of about 5 percent, or $6.9 billion, more than it needs to cover future benefit, he said. That's down from 7 percent.
The local government investment pool, still recovering from its own problems, has even less exposure to the five troubled firms, Milligan said. It has only a small investment in Merrill Lynch.
The other board members are Attorney General Bill McCollum and Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, whose office oversees investments by the state treasury.
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