Desrochers steps down as head of CalPERS PE program

  • Desrochers to take role at “large overseas bank”
  • Joined CalPERS from Saudi Arabian Investment Co in 2011
  • Desrochers previously led CalSTRS PE program

Réal Desrochers is stepping down from his role at the helm of California Public Employees’ Retirement System’s private equity portfolio to take a position at a large overseas bank, according to the retirement system.

A news release did not identify the bank where Desrochers is taking a new position. His last day with CalPERS is April 7.

Sarah Corr will take over for Desrochers on an interim basis. In a release, Chief Investment Officer Ted Eliopoulos said the retirement system would “continue to review new business models for the CalPERS Private Equity Program.”

“Réal has worked for years to reduce costs and increase transparency throughout the industry, and he leaves a legacy at CalPERS of working tirelessly on behalf of our members,” Eliopoulos said in a statement.

Eliopoulos also credited Desrochers with streamlining the CalPERS PE portfolio. The retirement system is in the process of reducing its number of relationships with external PE managers from around 100 to around 30.

The statement also said Desrochers was “instrumental” in pushing for standardized reporting of fees and expenses. The Institutional Limited Partners Association released a template for fee-and-expense reporting last year. CalPERS disclosed the total carried interest its managers collected for the first time in 2015.

Desrochers joined CalPERS in 2011 from Saudi Arabian Investment Co. The private equity portfolio, currently valued at $25.71 billion, netted an 11.8 percent return. The PE portfolio represents around 8.5 percent of CalPERS’ total holdings.

Prior to his position at Saudi Arabian Investment, Desrochers led California State Teachers’ Retirement System’s private equity portfolio for 11 years.

“Private equity is integral to our long-term success, and Réal has been invaluable in helping ensure the long-term future of the CalPERS fund. We wish him great success as he embarks on this next chapter in his outstanding career,” said Henry Jones, chair of the CalPERS Investment Committee, in the statement.

CalPERS declined to comment beyond the release. Desrochers could not be reached for comment.

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Photo courtesy Réal Desrochers of CalPERS.