California, Texas pension funds among new investors in EV startup Rivian

FILE PHOTO: A Rivian R1T pickup, the Amazon-backed electric vehicle (EV) maker, is driven outside the Nasdaq Market site during the company’s IPO in Times Square in New York City, U.S., November 10, 2021. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Seven state government employee pension funds including CalPERS, the largest U.S. pension plan, took stakes in electric vehicle startup Rivian Automotive Inc in the quarter that ended Dec. 31, according to securities filings released Monday.

The Teacher Retirement System of Texas, the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS) and the Maryland State Retirement and Pension System were among the seven as well as pension funds for Utah, Colorado, North Carolina and Wisconsin, according to data from fund tracker WhaleWisdom.

CalPERS, which has approximately $492 billion under management, bought slightly more than 305,000 shares in the company, while the $191 billion Teacher Retirement System of Texas fund took a position of about 33,000 shares in the company.

The moves illustrate a greater appetite for risk among U.S. pension funds as they continue to face funding gaps despite U.S. equity market gains since the start of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020. Overall, the average pension plan's funded ratio - a measure of assets compared with liabilities - remains below 75%, according to sovereign investor specialist Global SWF.

Shares of Rivian popped nearly 10% on Monday after the disclosure last week that several prominent investors including billionaire George Soros and hedge fund Tiger Global added shares in the company last quarter.

As of Friday's close, shares of Rivian were down 43% for the year to date. At their Monday afternoon trading price near $64.75, shares of the company remain 64% below the high of $179.46 on Nov. 16, less than a week after the company raised $12 billion in the largest stock debut of 2021.

The filings, known as 13-fs, are backward looking and do not disclose whether a firm has sold or added to its position since the end of December.

(Reporting by David Randall; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

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