CalPERS Names a New CIO

Stephen Gilmore, CIO of the $43.5 billion New Zealand Superannuation Fund since 2019, will join the largest pension fund in the U.S. in July.

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The California Public Employees’ Retirement System has hired a new chief investment officer.

Stephen Gilmore, CIO of the New Zealand Superannuation Fund, a sovereign wealth fund owned by the New Zealand government and valued at more than $43.5 billion, was named the new CIO of CalPERS, the largest pension fund in America, on Tuesday. Gilmore is expected to join CalPERS in July.

He is filling one of the most high-profile CIO roles, and one that has turned over three times since 2018. Alongside managing a portfolio valued at $494.6 billion, Gilmore will be contending with managing board and constituent relationships; the politics of the position.

Gilmore’s investment career has spanned more than 40 years and crossed cultures and geographies. He joined the NZ Super Fund in 2019 as CIO to lead the world’s best-performing sovereign fund, with annual investment returns of more than 12 percent a year over the past decade.

Prior to the NZ Super Fund, Gilmore was chief investment strategist of the Future Fund, Australia’s sovereign wealth fund. He has also previously held senior international positions with AIG Financial Products, Morgan Stanley, the International Monetary Fund, and the Reserve Bank of New Zealand.

“Stephen has worked in very public roles during his career for organizations where transparency and resiliency are essential. He brings not only a wealth of investing knowledge to the job, but he also has the temperament to understand the needs of our members and public sector employers who depend on CalPERS to be a steady, long-term partner,” Marcie Frost, CEO of CalPERS, said in a statement.

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Following the departure of Nicole Musicco, who left abruptly to tend to immediate needs of family in Toronto, CalPERS said it hoped to fill the position in January. Recruiters said that was an aggressive goal, but the pension fund had done it before. It took CalPERS a year and half to hire Musicco. But it replaced CIO Ben Meng just four months after Ted Eliopoulos departed in 2018.

“I’m grateful to CalPERS’ leaders for the trust they’ve put in me to help shape the pension fund’s next chapter,” Gilmore said. “There are high expectations, and rightly so, when it comes to fulfilling the promises made in serving those who serve California.”

CalPERS Deputy CIO Dan Bienvenue has been serving as interim leader of the pension plan that serves more than 2 million members of its retirement system and more than 1.5 million members in its health program.

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