Calpers Investment Chief Renews Pitch for Private Equity Revamp

Last year, private equity was the best-performing asset class in the portfolio of the nation’s largest pension fund, California Public Employees’ Retirement System (“CalPERS”). Now the manager of the $337 billion fund wants more exposure to private equity, unveiling a proposed new strategy at a recent board meeting.

“We need private equity, we need more of it, and we need it now,” said Ben Meng, Chief Investment Officer of CalPERS.

While some see the move as controversial, it reflects a larger industry trend of more pension fund involvement in the private markets. According to eVestment, new allocations into private equity by pensions have consistently grown over the last two years.

At the CalPERS board meeting, Meng expressed the need to have more exposure to private equity (“as much as we can have access to,” he said) and proposed raising portfolio allocations to double their current level.

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