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Thursday, December 21, 2023

Texas Municipal Pension Fund Hires Away CalPERS’s Yup Kim to Be New CIO

Yup Kim will join TMRS as chief investment officer in mid-January

A Texas retirement fund for city employees has given its top investment job to Yup Kim, who is leaving his role as head of private equity investments at CalPERS, America’s biggest state pension fund.

Kim is set to join the Texas Municipal Retirement System as chief investment officer on 15 January, TMRS said in a release ↗. He succeeds Dave Hunter, who announced his retirement in early November and will leave TMRS in January.

Kim worked with a 30-member team at the California Public Employees Retirement System to manage nearly $60 billion in global private equity assets for the $463 billion pension fund.

“TMRS and its members are extremely fortunate to have Yup Kim join our leadership team,” said TMRS executive director David Wescoe. “He is one of the most respected public pension plan investors in the country.”

Rock Star in Alaska

Before joining CalPERS in 2020, Kim spent four years as a senior portfolio manager at the $80 billion Alaska Permanent Fund, which has grown to become America’s largest sovereign wealth fund by investing the Arctic state’s oil royalties.

Kim is upping sticks and headed for TMRS headquarters in Austin (Image: Google)

“These guys are rock stars,” a general partner who worked with Kim’s Alaska team told Private Equity International in 2018 ↗. “This is the ultimate model of having a small team of very thoughtful people leveraging their GP network constructively to generate some really interesting dealflow, executing on it and delivering good returns. They use their resources where they see the opportunity and just get things done — not many people execute and execute well.”

A Yale economics grad and polyglot (six languages), Kim previously served as a member of Deutsche Bank Private Equity’s global investment committee and held roles at Performance Equity, Silver Point Capital, Citigroup and Merrill Lynch.

In Austin, he takes up chief investment duties for a fund with $35.5 billion in assets managed on behalf of 210,000 municipal employees and retirees in 930 participating Texas cities.

“I am honoured to partner with David and the exceptional investment team at TMRS to strengthen its global investment presence and partnerships in support of TMRS’s many members, retirees and beneficiaries,” Kim said.

Revolving Door

Kim’s departure from CalPERS is the latest in a string of leadership exits from the world’s 11th-biggest pension fund in recent years.

Nicole Musicco left her post as chief investment officer ↗ of CalPERS in September, with the institution saying she planned to spend more time with her family in Toronto. Deputy chief investment officer Dan Bienvenue is serving in an interim capacity while CalPERS searches for a new CIO.

Musicco had joined CalPERS just last year after an extended search to replace Ben Meng, who left abruptly in August 2020 amid allegations that he ran afoul of rules governing disclosure of personal investments, Bloomberg reported ↗.

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