Calpers chief resigns after lower than 18 months at $400bn fund

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The funding chief of Calpers has resigned after lower than 18 months within the prime job on the US’s greatest public sector pension fund.

Calpers, the $400bn Californian worker pension fund, mentioned late on Wednesday that Ben Meng would depart efficient instantly. The fund mentioned Dan Bienvenue, deputy chief funding officer, would function interim chief funding officer because it seemed for a everlasting successor.

Mr Meng took the chief funding officer function in January 2019 after serving as a deputy at China’s $3tn State Administration of Overseas Alternate, the company that manages the nation’s capital account. The China-born American had beforehand labored at Calpers because the fund’s funding director for asset allocation.

To satisfy an formidable 7 per cent annual efficiency goal, Mr Meng led a push into personal fairness and personal debt. These property can produce increased returns however realising these throughout occasions of market stress might be troublesome.

“Leverage will enhance the volatility of returns however Calpers’ long-term horizon ought to allow us to tolerate this,” Mr Meng mentioned in an interview with the Monetary Instances final month.

Mr Meng had lately drawn criticism for a plan to extend the fund’s leverage to 20 per cent of its worth utilizing borrowings and monetary devices similar to fairness futures. One board member, Margaret Brown, voted towards the plan, saying it reminded her of the fund’s mis-steps through the 2008 monetary disaster.

Mr Meng mentioned in an announcement printed on Calpers web site that he was “proud” of his work on the fund however “presently, it’s vital for me to deal with my well being and on my household and transfer on to the subsequent chapter in my life”.

Mr Meng had been introduced in to turnround a shortfall in property, which lately totalled 71 per cent of the quantity essential to fulfil projected payouts to the 1.9m public staff served by Calpers.

Calpers has been marked by government turnover lately. The fund didn’t have a head of personal fairness for 2 years till Greg Ruiz joined in Could 2019. Elisabeth Bourqui left as deputy chief funding officer in January final 12 months after six months on the fund.

Mr Meng didn’t reply to a request for additional remark.

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