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Thursday, November 29, 2007

Florida Freezes Fund Withdrawals

by Calculated Risk on 11/29/2007 04:16:00 PM

UPDATE: This Bloomberg Special Report has more info: Florida Suspends Withdrawals From Investment Pool (hat tip Andrew)

The pool had $3 billion of withdrawals today alone, putting assets at $15 billion, said Coleman Stipanovich, executive director of the State Board of Administration. The board manages the pool along with other short-term investments and the state's $137 billion pension fund.

``If we don't do something quickly, we're not going to have an investment pool,'' said Stipanovich at the meeting in the state capitol in Tallahassee. The fund was the largest of its kind, managing $27 billion before this month's withdrawals.

Local governments including Orange County and Pompano Beach that use the pool like a money-market fund asked for their money back after the State Board of Administration disclosed in a report earlier this month that holdings in the fund were lowered to below investment grade.
The pool has invested $2 billion in structured investment vehicles and other subprime-tainted debt, state records show. About 20 percent of the pool is in asset-backed commercial paper, Stipanovich said at the meeting today.

``There is no liquidity out there, there are no bids'' for those securities, he said.
Original post from the WSJ: Florida Moves to Halt Run on Fund
Florida halted withdrawals from a $15 billion local-government fund Thursday after concerns over losses ... prompted investors to pull roughly $10 billion out of the fund in recent weeks.

The State Board of Administration met Thursday and voted to immediately freeze withdrawals ...

The decision shows how far this year's ... credit crisis has spread. Florida's Local Government Investment Pool, which had more than $27 billion in assets at the end of September, is a money-market fund that's supposed to invest in ultrasafe assets to provide participants with a secure place to stash spare cash. But even these types of funds have been hit by the widening crunch.