CalPERS Taps Yup Kim as Private Equity Investment Director

He joins the $407.5 billion pension giant from Alaska’s sovereign wealth fund.

Yup Kim, CalPERS investment director in private equity

The $407.5 billion California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) has named Yup Kim as its new investment director in private equity. Kim, who joins CalPERS from the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation (APFC), started his new post Sept. 28 and reports to Greg Ruiz, CalPERS’ managing investment director of private equity.

Kim will be tasked with helping Ruiz lead the CalPERS Private Equity Program, including its strategy, team management, and investment activities for primary, secondary, and co-investment opportunities. While at the Alaska Permanent Fund, he served as senior portfolio manager for private equity and special opportunities.

“Yup has been a thought leader in the industry with a unique combination of strategic insight, investing acumen, and managerial experience,” Ruiz said in statement. “I look forward to partnering with Yup in the years to come as we continue to strengthen and evolve our Private Equity Program.”

Private equity was CalPERS’ worst-performing asset class for the fiscal year that ended June 30, losing 5.1%. However, it significantly outperformed its benchmark, which lost 11% for the year. The asset class makes up 6.3% of CalPERS’ asset allocation, with a target allocation of 8%, and has an estimated market value of $24.6 billion. The three-, five-, and 10-year annualized returns for CalPERS’ private equity investments are 5.9%, 6.6%, and 10.4%, respectively.

“CalPERS’ Private Equity Program has tremendous potential to generate long-term outperformance across the private markets spectrum,” Kim said in a statement. “There are incredible, unearthed competitive advantages at CalPERS that we’ll focus on cultivating and compounding over time to deliver strong results for all of our beneficiaries.”

Kim joined the Alaska Permanent Fund in 2016, and before that was a member of Deutsche Bank Private Equity’s global investment committee. He has also held roles at Performance Equity, Silver Point Capital, and Citigroup. He has a bachelor’s degree in economics from Yale University and a degree in intensive Mandarin from Duke University.

In 2017, Kim was named to CIO magazine’s Forty Under Forty list of rising star asset owners under 40 years old, which is compiled based on anonymous nominations. In an interview with CIO at the time, Kim said he leans toward “active, catalyst-driven alpha” over passive investing. “Active management and transformational operating intervention should outperform in today’s world of low rates, high asset prices, and geopolitical uncertainty,” he said.

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