The California Public Employees’ Pension Retirement System is appointing Nicole Musicco as its new chief investment officer, effective March 28.

She joins the CalPERS from RedBird Capital Partners, where she led the firm’s Canadian investment business. Previously, she managed the private markets investment program at the Investment Management Corp. of Ontario. She also spent 16 years at the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, leading both the private equity and public equity investment teams.

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“Nicole’s experience, vision and skill as an investor in public and private markets is critical for CalPERS,” said Marcie Frost, chief executive officer of the U.S.’s largest public pension fund, in a press release. “We were determined to take our time to ensure we found the right candidate who could succeed in a high-pressure and demanding environment. Nicole is exactly the leader we want to lead CalPERS’ investment office and is an exceptional addition to our team.”

Musicco joins the CalPERS at a time when the pension fund has increased its funded status from 60 per cent five years ago to 80 per cent today. In addition, it adopted a new asset allocation mix late last year that calls for increasing its private equity investments from eight per cent to 13 per cent and added a private debt allocation of five per cent. The CalPERS also added five per cent leverage to its investment portfolio to increase diversification.

“CalPERS has achieved remarkable success during the last five years, strengthening the organization, navigating the pandemic and improving its funded status,” said Musicco, in the release. “My goal is to build on these achievements recognizing that, as long-term investors, CalPERS must maintain focus and discipline to deliver consistent investment returns and retirement security for dedicated public servants.”

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