CalPERS snags CIO from Washington State

Joseph Dear, former executive director of the Washington State Investment Board, will take the reins of the pension’s $178bn in assets following the departure of Russell Read last June. Interim CIO Anne Sausboll was recently bumped up to CEO.

The California Public Employees’ Retirement System has named Washington State Investment Board’s executive director, Joseph Dear, as chief investment officer.

Joseph Dear

Dear held his post with the WSIB since 2002, where he oversaw $67 billion across 39 funds. As of 30 June, WSIB had $13.8 billion of total assets committed to private equity and $8.7 billion committed to real estate.

Prior to joining WSIB, he was government relations officer for Tacoma, Washington-based investment firm Frank Russell Company. He was earlier chief of staff to Washington governor Gary Locke.

In March, Dear will replace Russell Read, who departed the $178 billion state pension fund on 30 June to pursue cleantech and environmental investing.

CalPERS veteran Anne Sausboll had been acting as interim investment officer since Read left. She was formerly the pension’s chief operating investment officer and was last month appointed chief executive officer.

At the top of Dear’s agenda will likely be tackling the impact of the denominator effect on CalPERS. Last month, the pension considered temporarily increasing its target allocation range to private equity and real estate in an attempt to combat an increasingly overweighted alternatives portfolio.

CalPERS staff recommended that the pension increase the upper limit of its target allocation to alternative investment managers, including private equity and hedge funds, from 13 percent to 18 percent.

As of 31 October, CalPERS’ actual allocation to its alternatives programme stood at 13.8 percent, well above its policy target of 9.5 percent.

CalPERS staff also recommended bumping the upper limit of its target real estate allocation from 13 percent to 15 percent.