Firms no longer against Calif placement agent bill

SACRAMENTO — Two firms that had been fighting a proposal to reduce the influence of so-called placement agents with public pension funds have changed their tune.

The private equity firm Blackstone Group was opposing a bill in the California Legislature that would change the way the middlemen were paid. During a committee hearing Tuesday, Blackstone announced it now supports the measure.

A representative for Park Hill Group, a placement agent firm owned by Blackstone, said it also supports the bill.

The Securities and Exchange Commission has been investigating improper influence of placement agents, which help investment firms win business with public pension funds.

The news comes a day after the California Public Employees' Retirement System announced an agreement with Apollo Global Management to no longer use placement agents.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.