DEFINITION of 'CalPERS'

The California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS), an organization that provides numerous benefits to its more than 1.6 million members, including health insurance, long-term care insurance, death benefits, mortgage program, and distribution of pension and retirement-related financial benefits. CalPERS Investments is the nation's largest public pension fund and, given its size, it is able to exercise significant pressure to make desired changes within the companies in which it invests.

BREAKING DOWN 'CalPERS'

CalPERS Investments publishes an annual "Focus List," which contains companies with concerning financial performance and questionable or undesirable corporate governance practices. Instead of boycotting these companies – and posing a significant threat to their attractiveness as a business for investment by other firms – the organization works with listed companies to improve their performance. The resulting turnaround for companies on the Focus List has created a phenomenon known as the "CalPERS effect."

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