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University of California Hires Head of Real Assets

John Ritter has left Texas Teachers to lead UC’s growing real assets team.

The University of California investment office has made a new senior hire as part of a build out of its real assets program.

Chief Investment Officer Jagdeep Bachher announced the hire of managing director John Ritter during an investment committee meeting Tuesday. Ritter, previously director of energy and natural resources at the Teacher Retirement System of Texas, joins UC’s team after about ten years with the Texan pension fund.

Ritter will head a three-person real assets team that includes senior analyst Jessica Hans and investment officer Albert Lee. Bachher was enthusiastic about having built out this team, noting the “almost close to zero” real assets staff at the fund when he joined in 2014.

“We’ve actually grown it,” he said at the meeting. “I think there will be lots of good real assets opportunities going forward.”

The University of California investment office is responsible for managing $107.2 billion split across several funds, including the school’s endowment and pension plan.

Both the endowment and the university retirement plan had less than 1 percent allocated to real assets at the end of March, according to a University of California document that was prepared for the investment committee meeting.

The endowment’s real assets program gained 3.5 percent in the 12 months through March, while the pension’s exposure to the category earned a 5.5 percent return. Both real asset programs posted losses in the three- and five-year periods through March, the document shows.

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