US Steel pension hires new property chief

Ione Wilsmann, formerly the co-head of Quilvest Real Estate, will be overseeing real estate investment activity and portfolio management at the $9.9 billion pension plan.

Ione Wilsmann has assumed the top real estate job at the United States Steel and Carnegie Pension Fund (UCF).  The pension plan did not respond to requests for comment, but PERE understands that Wilsmann has taken over the post from Joan Fallon, who had served in the role since 2007 and retired at the end of last month.

In an email sent to friends and colleagues – and seen by PERE – Wilsmann said she would be overseeing property investment activity and portfolio management as head of real estate investments, but she did not provide further details on her new role. UCF is said to have been an active investor in property for more than 40 years. Although the pension plan still has some direct investments in real estate, it now primarily invests through funds. In fact, UCF is said to be pursuing real estate commitments globally over the coming year, including to funds targeting Western Europe.

Wilsmann, formerly Permison, most recently served as co-head of Quilvest Real Estate for five and a half years. Before departing the firm at the end of last year, she helped to establish a new real estate platform that pursued both fund of funds and direct investment strategies. Under her leadership, Quilvest Real Estate raised two funds, the $248 million QS REP in 2009 and the $300 million QS REP II in 2013.

New York-based UCF, which was established in 1914, manages the assets of several defined benefit pension plans and retiree medical and life insurance plans sponsored by Pittsburgh-based United States Steel; several defined benefit plans sponsored by other clients; and a non-profit foundation sponsored by US Steel. Real estate is one of several asset classes where UCF utilizes third-party managers for investments, along with emerging markets, investment trusts, timber and private equity.

As of December 31, UCF had $9.9 billion of assets under management, according to a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. Of its approximately 63 employees, 16 hold investment advisory roles, the filing stated, although it was unclear how many were involved with real estate.  The pension plan’s senior management team includes William Donovan as president, Lyle Clark as senior vice president of investments and Randy Edwards as vice president of investments.