CalPERS appoints real estate housing executive

The $171bn US pension has bolstered its real estate housing programme, which lost 35% in value over the first half of 2008, with the hire of James Lasher as senior portfolio manager.

The California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) has appointed James Lasher to the newly created position of senior portfolio manager of its real estate housing programme. He will to report to Theodore Eliopoulos, senior investment officer for real estate.

Lasher previously led real estate investment and advisory firm Piedmont Property Partners, which he founded in 2008. He has also spent 10 years in real estate investment banking at Bank of America and Morgan Stanley.

Lasher will be responsible for managing CalPERS’ residential land and development investments across 20 funds sponsored by seven investment managers. The partnerships include Hearthstone, IHP Capital Partners, McFarlane/Weyerhaeuser Partners, Newland Capital Advisors, Resmark Equity Advisors and Wells Fargo Reality Advisors.

In November, CalPERS revealed the value of its US housing investments has collapsed 35 percent in the six months ended 30 June. The value of its US residential holdings fell from $9.3 billion to $6.1 billion, the pension revealed in an investment committee agenda. CalPERS also disclosed it has gone 1.8 percent overweight in real estate against its 10 percent target allocation following steep declines in the value of its equities portfolio.