What it is:
Elephants are large institutions that make big trades.
How it works/Example:
CalPERS (the California Public Employees' Retirement System) is the nation's largest pension . More than 1.6 million people there are employees of public institutions such as schools and local governments. To ensure that the fund has enough to make pension payments when employees retire, it invests that money in , , venture capital, real estate and a variety of other assets. In 2012, CalPERS had about $234 billion invested and another $3 billion in .
Accordingly, it can make some very large trades and has a of influence in the . CalPERS can also be a source of for growing companies: It invested $34.2 billion in private in 2012.