CalPERS names new head of real assets

Paul Mouchakkaa, previously of Morgan Stanley Real Estate Investing and former CalPERS exec, will assume the position on March 2.

The California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS), the largest public pension fund in the US, has appointed Paul Mouchakkaa to head its real assets programme as senior investment officer, the fund said in a statement on Wednesday.

Mouchakkaa will assume his new position on March 2. He succeeds Ted Elipoulos, who, following the death of Joe Dear in 2013, was named interim chief investment officer and appointed to the post permanently last September.

“Paul is a talented and experienced real estate professional, and we’re thrilled to have him on our team,” Eliopoulos said of the former managing director of Morgan Stanley Real Estate Investing.

Mouchakkaa’s past professional experience includes serving as managing director at Pension Consulting Alliance (PCA), as well as working in CalPERS' real estate group as portfolio manager.

In his new role, Mouchakkaa will manage a team of 60 professionals and oversee CalPERS’ $29.6 billion real assets portfolio, which in addition to real estate, includes the infrastructure and forestland programmes. He will also serve as a member of the Investment Office’s senior management team which is responsible for developing the fund’s overall investment strategy.

Real estate is CalPERS’ largest programme in real assets, totaling more than $25 billion. Infrastructure, which along with forestland comprises the rest of the portfolio, accounted for $1.8 billion as of June 30, 2014, representing 0.6 percent of CalPERS’ $293 billion total funds.

CalPERS’ target allocation for infrastructure, in which it started investing in 2009, is three percent.

Based in Sacramento, CalPERS administers health and retirement benefits on behalf of 3,089 public school, local agency and state employers. The institution counts more than 1.7 million members in its retirement system and more than 1.3 million in its health plans.