CalPERS’s Jean Hsu Steps Down

By Muskan Arora

Jean Hsu, the global head of private debt at California Public Employees’ Retirement System stepped down after almost 25 years at the largest US pension fund.

While Hsu hasn’t decided on her next steps, she may seek out board roles.

Hsu highlighted the fund’s participation in more than $5 billion of Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility deals starting in 2009 as a “significant milestone” during her tenure.

That program’s success “demonstrated how Calpers, as a public pension manager, could lead and take creative risk at a time of market uncertainty,” said Hsu in the email to investment firms, as seen by Bloomberg.

She also supported in building the CalPERS collateralized loan obligations portfolio in the midst of the financial crisis, “when few others were doing the same,” she wrote. The pension fund has acted as an industry leader during one of the most uncertain times in the market history, she further mentioned.

CalPERS had about $11.9 billion in CLO exposure as of Dec. 31

CalPERS’s private debt exposure totalled $12.8 billion as of April 30 and was the firm’s best-performing segment last year with a return of 13.3% through Dec. 31 — outperforming an 8.8% return from private equity, according to a disclosure. The pension fund also had about $13 billion in unfunded private debt commitments at year-end.

Adding to the changes in leadership, last month CalPERS appointed Stephen Gilmore as its new CIO to run its approximately $495 billion portfolio, as the system aims to bounce back from years of leadership churn.

 (Image: CalPERS website)