1000’s of Americans now have their pension funds in Israeli private investment firms:

The next shoe about to fall?

Quietly Markstone Capital Group has lost 50% of value [Prisma’s mutual fund assets under Markstone management have dropped from NIS 21.4b in June 2007 to only NIS 10.2b]as it begins to sell off assists:

 May 4, 2006
    Unmasking Israel’s Mystery Benefactor

        The mystery man of the Israeli economy, as he was dubbed by the country’s media, is alive and well and living in Los Angeles.

        His name is Elliott Broidy, and in the last two years he has raised $800 million to boost private enterprise in the Jewish state.

        Broidy earned the “mystery man” label through his reticence to go public, in contrast to his more flamboyant peers.

        With the right connections and introductions, Broidy met with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and such top-level political figures as Ehud Olmert, Benjamin Netanyahu, and Amir Peretz, now head of the Labor Party.

        A longtime supporter of the Jewish state, Broidy said that “a strong and vital Israel is important to the United States, to American Jewry, and to me and my family.”

        Broidy’s proposal to establish a large private equity fund for investments in Israel’s “old” economy, agriculture, manufacturing, capital management, found a warm welcome among government officials at a time when most investors were shunning the strife-racked Jewish state.

        With the [American]pension funds as a solid base, corporate and private investors, foundations, banks and insurance companies in the United States and Israel swelled the pot, and Markstone raised its goal to $800 million, with a minimum investment of $1 million plus.

        Broidy’s first prospect was New York State Comptroller Alan Hevesi, and after several months of vetting Broidy’s proposal and meetings with Israeli business and political leaders, the New York State Common Retirement Fund signed on for $200 million.

        On the other coast, the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPers) put in $50 million, and additional amounts came from similar funds in Oregon, New Mexico, North Carolina and New York City.
        “When you try to raise money for Israel investment from private people, particularly Jewish ones, you can appeal to both their heart and their head,” said Gunther. “But when you try to do business with public pension funds, these are hard-nosed people, who deal strictly from the head. Their investment decisions in this case represent a notable vote of confidence in Elliott and in the future of the Israeli economy.”[…sounds familar??]

        The $800 million figure, raised between 2003 and 2005, makes Markstone the largest private equity fund in Israel, with 90 percent coming from American investors and 10 percent from Israelis.

        He is a major donor to the United Jewish Fund and Friends of the Israel Defense Forces, a trustee of USC and USC Hillel, serves on the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion board of governors, and is an executive board member and former trustee of Wilshire Boulevard Temple.

        Much more here:


Not too long ago, May 23, 2006:

    Markstone launches Israel’s largest investment firm

        Venture capital fund Markstone Capital Partners on Monday launched Israel’s largest investment firm “Prisma,” with assets of over NIS 50 billion under its management, resulting from key purchases it made from Bank Hapoalim and Bank Leumi last year.


From 2005:

        The Markstone Capital Group investment fund recently finished raising another $200 million, with one of the major new pledges, $50 million, coming from the Oregon state employee pension fund.

        Prior to this, the American-Israeli fund had raised more than $500 million. The current round increases its capital to more than $700 million.[familar number] Over the past year, Markstone has invested some $200 million in four Israeli companies, including placing $50 million in the drip irrigation firm Netafim, which included an option to invest an additional $15 million. In exchange, Markstone will receive 20-25% of Netafim’s share capital.

    oh…the fund is now closed…so does anyone know how it’s doing??

    …and it seems recently to be selling assists:

   Markstone in talks to break up Prisma Investment House: Every scenario includes mass layoffs at Prisma.

    Sunday December 21, 2008

        Markstone Capital Partners Group LLC is breaking up Prisma Investment House Ltd. and is in talks to sell its units to various parties. Markstone, run by managing directors Ron Lubash and Amir Kess, is in advanced negotiations to sell Prisma’s provident funds to Psagot Investment House Ltd., and is also in talks with several investment houses to establish a new investment house that will consolidate and manage investment portfolios and short-term assets, including mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). This new company will also take over Prisma’s Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) membership.

        The most serious talks about the new company are with Meitav Group and Gaon Capital Markets Ltd. Other names are also include Altshuler Shaham Ltd., Epsilon Investment House Ltd., Tamir Fishman & Co., and Yelin Lapidot Ltd.

        A capital market source said, “There was no company in the market that Markstone did not contact in the past month about cooperation.”


    Tons of stuff out there but most behind firewalls:

    Selling the pieces, will pensioners get a dime in the end?

    Markstone Capital Partners Makes First Full Exit With Sale of Zeraim Gedera to Syngenta

        Markstone Capital Partners, a leading private equity fund Chaired by Elliott Broidy, confirmed reports that Syngenta AG (NYSE: SYT) has agreed to acquire Markstone portfolio company Zeraim Gedera Ltd., a high quality Israeli vegetable seed company.



    And now:

    Markstone dismantling Prisma

        Three years after founding the Prisma investment house, its owner, the Markstone Capital Group, has decided to dismantle Prisma. Markstone managing directors Ron Lubash and Amir Kess are in negotiations with Psagot over the sale of the provident funds, while also negotiating with a number of other investment houses, such as Meitav, over a merger of mutual funds.

        Markstone, or Prisma, will most likely receive shares in Psagot for the provident funds, while it is possible the mutual funds merger will remain part of a joint firm under the Prisma name. The main reason Prisma wants to sell the provident funds and merge the mutual funds is an attempt to avoid the huge expenses involved in running an entire investment firm, including advertising and marketing, personnel and operating expenses – especially as Prisma has very heavy bank debts it took out to buy the funds in the first place.

        Prisma’s mutual fund assets under management have dropped from NIS 21.4 billion in June 2007 to only NIS 10.2 billion in November of this year. The decline is actually even larger, since Prisma agreed to buy the PKN and Lahak funds originally when they had about NIS 40 billion in assets in them.


Why are Americans being forced to invest in foreign countries instead of having a choice in investing right here at home??

In Seattle there was a court case trying to divest from Israel, it failed.

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