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StepStone hires CalPERS manager, boosts infra bench

The appointment of Todd Lapenna as partner comes after the US firm recruited 20 infrastructure staff from KPMG last May.

StepStone Group has expanded its real assets division by hiring three infrastructure specialists that will be based in New York, London and Sydney.

Leading the new recruits is Todd Lapenna, who is joining StepStone's infrastructure and real assets unit (SIRA) as a partner from the California Public Employees’ Retirement System. Lapenna worked as a portfolio manager at the $307 billion pension for seven years, helping to develop and implement its infrastructure investment strategy across a $3.5 billion portfolio. He has also held senior investment and capital markets roles at the Royal Bank of Scotland, CIT Group, EDC and Westcoast Energy.

“StepStone certainly has a culture that’s focused on private market solutions, and in my capacity at CalPERS, that’s also what I was focused on. From that perspective, the transition is very seamless,” Lapenna told Infrastructure Investor.

“I’ll very much be doing similar work for a variety of global institutions seeking to invest across modes in the US, whether they want to be in a fund, buy a secondary interest in a fund, be a co-investor alongside a GP or invest directly with us.”

Last May, StepStone hired more than 20 infrastructure professionals from financial services group KPMG to bolster its own infrastructure and real assets unit. The KPMG team, led by James O’Leary, made the transition to the New York-based firm in May. It now operates out of Sydney, Perth, Toronto, London, LaJolla and New York with O’Leary serving as head of SIRA.

The firm also hired Varun Kapoor, a Hastings Funds Management alumni, to be its head of investment operations based in Sydney. At Hastings, Kapoor worked on infrastructure equity and debt funds.

Sid Chandrasekaran, formerly at QIC in Singapore, joined SIRA’s team in London as an investment manager.

“In additional to increasing SIRA’s size and depth, we are also making a significant expansion to our US operations by establishing a team based in New York to support our North American activities for the benefit of our investors in the US and globally,” O’Leary said.

StepStone Group is an asset management and advisory firm that has over $100 billion of private capital allocations and around $28 billion of assets under management.