CalPERS hedge fund chief leaves for wealth management firm

Kurt Silberstein, who oversaw CalPERS’ $5.3 billion hedge fund program, is leaving Aug. 5 to join Ascent Private Capital Management, said Clark McKinley, spokesman for the $237.6 billion system.

“I am very grateful to CalPERS for the opportunity to have worked with such a group of dedicated people in the investment office,” Mr. Silberstein, whose title is senior portfolio manager for global equities, said in a statement on his resignation. He is declining to give interviews.

A replacement for Mr. Silberstein has not yet been named, Mr. McKinley wrote in an e-mail.

Since July 1, the hedge fund program at the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, Sacramento, has been directly overseen by Joseph Dear, chief investment officer, “not as an asset class but as a stand-alone program, given its unique characteristics,” Mr. McKinley wrote in a later e-mail. Craig Dandurand is portfolio manager for the hedge fund program.

Mr. Silberstein will be managing director of alternative investments at Ascent, a unit of U.S. Bank’s wealth management group, confirmed Amy Frantti, a U.S. Bank spokeswoman. He will lead Ascent’s alternative investment team, she said.

In 2009, CalPERS placed Mr. Silberstein on a brief leave of absence in connection with the system’s internal investigation of the contract renewals of the fund's two hedge fund consultants, UBS Alternative & Quantitative Investments and Pacific Alternative Asset Management.

There were no charges made or disciplinary measures taken, Mr. McKinley stated, and CalPERS retained both consultants.

CalPERS’ hedge fund program returned an annualized 5.5% from the program’s inception in April 2002 to June 30, Mr. McKinley wrote. As of that date, the portfolio earned 6.6% for 12 months and an annualized 3.3% for five years.