The Ohio Public Employees Retirement System has appointed Richard Shafer as deputy director of investments for external management. He will be responsible for developing and implementing the pension fund’s investment strategy in private equity and real estate.
According to an announcement made by OPERS today, Shafer, who has 30 years of experience of investing on behalf of insurance and pension funds, will report directly to the chief investment officer and oversee nine staff.
Prior to joining OPERS, Shafer was the director of investments for the New Hampshire Retirement System and the chief investment officer of Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation.
OPERS has assets of almost $60 billion making it the largest public pension fund in Ohio and the 12th largest public pension fund in the US.
According to OPERS website, the pension's real estate portfolio was valued at $4.8 billion as of the end of December, 2008, equivalent to 9.6 percent of the fund's total portfolio. The pension invests in both public and private real estate assets, with 65 percent of the fund's private real estate assets dedicated to core properties, with 35 percent focused on non-core assets.
OPERS has an allocation to private equity of 4.9 percent as of the end of 2008, with a market value of $2.4 billion. The pension's private equity assets returned -7.4 percent in the final quarter of last year, the website added.