City pension fund executive's recent trip to Shanghai paid for by an investment firm
The San Diego city employees' pension fund's most freely traveled executive has been on the plane again, taking in the sights of Shanghai, China, and Cambridge, Massachusetts, during a busy autumn on the road, thanks to some big-spending investment firms running money for city hall.
As previously reported, Jamie Hamrick, the system's investment officer, made a round of prodigious jaunts last year, from Santa Monica's tony Shutters on the Beach resort to Andaz hotels in both Manhattan and Amsterdam, Holland, with a stop at the Boston Harbor Hotel in between. The grand total for that travel came to $12,234.
Hamrick's final two reported journeys of 2015 brought her total trip count to seven, as disclosed in state-required Payment to Agency reports filed December 28 with the city clerk.
From October 13 through 15, it was off to Shanghai for a stay at the Andaz there, courtesy of LaSalle Investment Management. Lodging ran $824, meals cost $357, "other expenses" were $257, with transportation costs of $1827 bringing the total expenditure to $3265.
“The first of Hyatt’s Andaz brand to be launched in Asia, Andaz Shanghai offers a new concept in hospitality by its marvelous hotel services,” says the hotel’s website.
“Explore vibrant Shanghai! An authentic neighbourhood is just across the street.”
On November 17 through 19, Hamrick checked into the Charles Hotel in Cambridge, thanks to Long Wharf Real Estate Partners. Lodging and expenses were $730, meals cost $139, and airfare ran $520, with the grand total for the trip listed as $1389.
“Over the past 30 years, The Charles Hotel has welcomed celebrities, scholars, moguls, artists, philanthropists, politicians, opinion-makers and world leaders,” says the Charles website.
“From Barbra Streisand to former President Bill Clinton and Senator Hillary Clinton, from Supreme Court Justices to Ben Affleck to even His Holiness the Dalai Lama, they have all felt at home at The Charles Hotel, an experience the hotel works hard to create for all its guests.”
According to the retirement system’s disclosure report for the China trip, Hamrick "performed due diligence" there on behalf of the pension fund "as allowed by SD ethics commission."
The San Diego retirement system is "an investor in LaSalle Asia Opportunity Fund IV and sits on the Investor Advisory Committee for this fund," the document says.
A July 2014 post by Mingtiandi, which bills itself as a "China real estate intelligence" newsletter and blog, says LaSalle raised $1 billion to invest in China and other parts of Asia.
"The fund manager’s decision to dedicate $100 million for logistics investments in China brings it into line with a trend that has seen more than $3 billion earmarked for investment in the development of warehouses in the country during the past year," the report says.
"Warehouse developers in China are currently enjoying investment yields of 8.5 to 9 percent on average as the country’s rapidly expanding retail sector struggles to find distribution centers to move its merchandise."
Conducting due diligence was also the reason given for Hamrick's November trip to attend the Long Wharf 2015 Fall Advisory Committee and Annual Partners Meeting, according to the pension fund’s disclosure of that excursion.
Long Wharf's website says its investment strategies stress turning around properties gone bad.
"These strategies include distress — acquiring well-located but operationally impaired assets with distressed capital structures; rehabilitation — renovating functionally obsolete but well-located assets; management turnaround — applying aggressive management and leasing programs to previously neglected assets; and development."