Ted Eliopoulos holds the pinnacle investment spot at the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS). The calm, well-mannered CIO started at CalPERS back in 2007 as a senior investment officer of real estate. But don’t let his calm reputation fool you. Eliopoulos played competitive tennis in his college for years, earning Men’s All-Time First Team All-Ivy League for doubles in 1986.
As global properties plummeted in value during the crisis, the new investment officer had a massive portfolio of real estate exposures dumped on him. The speculative land deals and other opportunistic property investments were major disasters. During the crisis and afterwards, Eliopoulos started reforming the real estate platform, seeking to cut an endless roster list of real estate managers, while cutting back on highly speculative land deals. It is true that the CalPERS real estate portfolio hasn’t fully recovered since the financial crisis, but Eliopoulos and his staff made important changes to operations and future allocations to help mitigate future issues.
It was in the Fall of 2014 that the Dartmouth-grad was named CIO of CalPERS. The CalPERS board made an interesting choice turning to someone who was trained as a lawyer, with a stint at Latham & Watkins, for the role of chief investment officer. Before CalPERS, Eliopoulos had never directly managed stocks or bonds in an institutional setting. However, he has a tremendous amount of internal manpower and a highly-sought after investment consultant to give him advice on which direction to take the massive pension giant.
Eliopoulos enacted another significant reform in the CalPERS investment units. He reluctantly exited the pension giant out of hedge funds, creating shockwaves on Wall Street and having other pensions make similar moves. A bold move from which we have yet to see the full result.