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New Jersey state pension PE official joins Nippon Life

Public pensions often cultivate private equity allocator talent over a period of years, only to have those individuals leave for better paid roles in the industry or at private institutions.

Liam Daul, who formerly worked on the private equity team for New Jersey’s state pension system, moved to Nippon Life Global Investors Americas earlier this year, according to sources.

Daul’s move is an example of the kind of transition limited partners will often make, moving from influential though likely underpaid public pension rules to insurance companies. Public pensions often cultivate private equity allocator talent over a period of years, only to have those talented individuals leave for better paid roles in the industry or at private institutions.

Daul joined Nippon Life in March, where he works as assistant director in private equity. He worked for New Jersey for nine years, starting as a trader on US domestic equities, and moving to the private equity team in 2019, according to his profile on LinkedIn.

Nippon Life held about $10.7 billion of unlisted equity securities as of March 31, 2021, according to the company’s 2021 annual report. It’s not clear how private equity is broken out of that total.

New Jersey Division of Investment, meanwhile, had a target allocation to private equity of 13 percent, with an actual allocation of 12.18 percent as of February, according to pension documents.

New Jersey’s pension system has historically had a high rate of turnover in its private equity team. In 2017, then-Investment Council member Guy Haselmann said New Jersey’s investment staff were paid around two-thirds less than their peers at similar institutions, Buyouts reported at the time.

“This staff deserved to be paid a competitive rate for the work that they do, and it’s not even competitive,” he said. At the time, the Division had lost most of its alternatives investing team.

New Jersey passed a law last year that attempted to make the pension system more competitive by eliminating the salary cap on the director of the investment division role, which had long been capped at $200,000. The bill gave authority to the state treasurer to determine the director’s salary.