New Jersey's Head of Alternatives Steps Down

The head of alternative investments at New Jersey’s $70 billion state pension system, Christine Pastore, has stepped down. 

(March 26, 2012) — Christine Pastore, who was instrumental in building the $70 billion New Jersey’s Division of Investments ‘ private equity program has announced she will resign. 

Since joining the State of New Jersey’s Division of Investments in January 2005, Pastore led the fund’s alternatives investment program, responsible for directing asset classes including hedge funds, real assets, private equity and real estate. Prior to that, she served as Deputy Budget Director at the State of New Jersey General Assembly, where she was responsible for assisting with functions related to the General Assembly’s role in the state’s budget process. 

Her last day is March 30, Private Equity International first reported. 

Pastore was instrumental in the New Jersey State Investment Council’s decision last year to approve investment guidelines for the state’s pensions to boost returns, allowing a higher alternatives allocation totaling 35% of assets from the previous cap of 25%.

The new rules came as New Jersey’s pension funds gained 15% in the 2011 fiscal year.

Pastore’s departure follows a recent survey of consultants in the United States that showed investors will be dumping underperforming traditional managers and embracing alternatives this year. Private equity, emerging market debt, hedge funds, real estate and commodities are to be the asset classes seeing the most investor searches in 2012, according to the survey of consultants by Casey Quirk and eVestment Alliance.

In total, alternatives are to make up 20% of all fund manager searches, according to consulting firms responsible for advising investors with over $9.7 trillion in assets.

Benjamin Olmstead, Vice President of New Product Innovation at eVestment Alliance, said:  “As hedge funds continue to dominate news headlines, we are not surprised that many of the significant findings from this year’s survey were focused on alternative investments.”

Last year, the top five expected manager searches included US and global equities, despite the list being topped by single manager and fund of hedge funds. Previously, global equities were the most searched asset class.