UPDATE 1-Calpers could shift investments to avoid risky bets in areas like commodities -WSJ

Sun Aug 10, 2014 10:41pm EDT

(Recasts, adds detail on commodities)

Aug 10 (Reuters) - The California Public Employee Retirement System, the largest U.S. public pension fund, is considering major changes to its portfolio as it attempts to stay away from riskier investments, including commodities, the Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday.

Calpers is mulling whether to exit or cut back its investment in commodities, company stocks and hedge funds, the newspaper reported, citing anonymous sources. Calpers had assets totaling $290.5 billion as of April 30, 2014, according to its website, and any move it makes to change its investment strategy could influence other state and local pension funds.

A representative for Calpers did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Calpers' top investment executives including Chief Investment Officer Ted Eliopoulos are discussing whether to make the changes and have not made a final decision, according to the newspaper. Calpers' board has not been told about the talks, sources told the Wall Street Journal.

The newspaper said one of the biggest changes the fund is considering is potentially eliminating investments in indexes for commodities, including energy, food and metals.

Calpers currently has $2.4 billion in such indexes, or less than 1 percent of total holdings, according to the report.

The fund is also thinking about shifting its $55 billion investment in company stocks to broader investments in countries or sectors, it said.

The report also said that Calpers may get rid of some of its highly paid external investment managers.

Calpers, which has a $4.5 billion hedge fund, is also trying to figure out options for part of the portfolio. (Reporting by Liana B. Baker and Dan Burns; Editing by Eric Walsh and Ed Davies)