San Francisco Pension Taps New PE Chief

Pension: San Francisco Employees’ Retirement System

Assets Managed: $16 Billion (Sept. 2012)

Target Allocation Alternatives: 16 percent ($2.56 billion)

Deputy Director for Investments: Vacant

The San Francisco pension had 13.4 percent of its portfolio invested in alternative assets as of September 2012. That includes private equity and venture capital. The pension’s alternative portfolio has an allocation target of 16 percent. Calls to a SFERS spokesman were not immediately returned.

Wang comes to the San Francisco pension fund from the $150 billion New York State Common Retirement Fund, where he was the director of that pension’s $14 billion private equity portfolio. He joined New York Common Retirement Fund in 2010 from China Development Financial Holdings, a China-based merchant banking group, where he was executive director and head of U.S. private equity investments. China Development Financial Holdings had $11 billion in assets overall.

The San Francisco pension’s top investment role, its deputy director for investments, is still vacant, meaning that whoever is ultimately appointed to that role will not get an immediate say on who the pension’s alternative chief will be.

Wang’s move also leaves a big vacancy at New York Common Retirement Fund, which has the fourth largest private equity pool among U.S. pensions. The move does, however, give the pension fund’s chief investment officer, Vicki Fuller, who has only been in her role a few months, a chance to refocus her private equity portfolio with someone she appoints.

In his new role, Wang will supervise Glen Schwartz, the San Francisco pension’s longtime head of private equity, and Tanya Kemp, who is mainly responsible for venture capital investments.

SFERS, which manages the retirement benefits of both city and county employees, has more than 53,000 current and future beneficiaries.