LANSING – This is the story of how Facebook and Twitter make Michigan's public pension systems unique.
The state-run pension plans for Michigan school employees and state government workers are among the biggest players in so-called "alternative investments" such as real estate, private companies and hedge funds, according to a new report from the Pew Charitable Trusts.
Michigan has tens of thousands of individual investments in its alternative pool. Michigan retirees bought into companies that invested in Silicon Valley office buildings, apartments in Japan, toll roads in Peru, and a drinking water plant in California. Retirees currently own a little bit of Uber, a piece of Pinterest.
Michigan Treasurer Nick Khouri said the state's been in the alternatives game for decades, recognizing early that it pays off. Like when the state bought a piece of Facebook and Twitter before either company went public and turned a $364 million investment into more than $1 billion.