CalPERS investment chief Ben Meng steps down from $400b pension fund

Photo: REUTERS/Max Whittaker

California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) said late Wednesday Yu Ben Meng resigned as its chief investment officer and Dan Bienvenue, deputy chief investment officer, will become interim CIO.

The nation’s largest public pension fund, which manages pension and health benefits for more than 1.6 million California public employees, retirees and their families, said in a statement it will begin an immediate search for a permanent successor.

The statement did not disclose a reason for Meng’s departure and CalPERS declined to comment when contacted by Reuters.

Meng, who joined the fund in January 2019, is “resigning, effective August 5”, the statement said.

A U.S. citizen born in China, Meng has twice worked for CalPERS – the first time in 2008 and the second beginning in January 2019 when he became CIO managing $400 billion in investments, according to the CalPERS website.

Back in February, U.S. Representative Jim Banks of Indiana in a letter to California Governor Gavin Newsom called for an investigation into Meng, citing the CIO’s “cozy” relationship with Beijing and assailed the fund’s investments in Chinese companies.

Banks, who is a Republican, strongly urged California to fire Meng in the letter.

In defense of the allegations levelled against Meng, CalPERS Chief Executive Officer Marcie Frost said “this is a reprehensible attack on a U.S. citizen. We fully stand behind our chief investment officer who came to CalPERS with a stellar international reputation.”

In March, U.S. national security adviser Robert O’Brien said U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration is “looking at” investments in Chinese military companies by CalPERS.

Reuters

Singapore Reporter/s

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Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.