Like many public pension funds, the $29.4 billion Indiana Public Retirement System has decided to increase its direct hedge fund investments so it can build a less expensive and more dynamic portfolio with better risk-adjusted returns. Helping the Indianapolis-based pension plan execute and oversee that strategy is director of absolute return Sanjay Patel. The 31-year-old majored in finance at Indiana University Bloomington and spent a summer in investment banking and two years in real estate private equity at Lehman Brothers Holdings in New York before taking a job in acquisitions with a Chicago real estate investment manager. But the mortgage market collapse of 2008 was tough on real estate funds, and the Indiana native and his wife wanted to move closer to their families. Patel, who gained a greater appreciation of public markets and the benefits of hedge funds to an investment portfolio as a result of the crisis, jumped at the chance to work for the Indiana pension system. Since Patel joined in 2012, INPRS has hired ten-plus new managers and terminated a few preexisting relationships.