Mark Anson, the highly-respected chief investment officer for CalPERS, has left his post at the massive California pension giant to take the reigns at Hermes Pension Management in the U.K. Anson will take over for the retiring Tony Watson, when Watson retires in January.
"I'm delighted that Mark is joining us," said Hermes' chairman Richard Bernays. "He is a well known and highly respected figure, of international stature, in the world of fund management and corporate governance."
"Hermes has a huge reputation and outstanding people and I'm delighted to be joining such a dynamic team," said Anson.
Hermes is one of the largest pension funds in Europe, overseeing more than $100 billion in investments, including the British Telecom (BT) and UK Postal Service pension funds. Like CalPERS, which manages close to $200 billion in assets, Hermes is known for aggressive advocacy on social and corporate responsibility issues, and Anson will likely build on this reputation. Under Anson's watch, CalPERS help launch a number of aggressive shareholder revolts, including the bid to remove Michael Eisner from the CEO office at Disney. The California pension fund also became the first pension outfit to pursue a green investing initiative, pushing fiscal and environmental sustainability hand in hand.
Anson helped CalPERS diversify into alternative assets, including hedge funds and private equity, and he is expected to do the same at Hermes. Nonetheless, indexing has long been the central strategy at Hermes, and that is not expected to change in any significant manner.
Anson joined CalPERs in 1999, and under his watch, the system grew from $127 billion to $197 billion. The board credits Anson with adding $8 billion in excess returns through savvy investment management..
"Mark did a spectacular job for us during some of the most difficult periods in our financial markets," said Rob Feckner, President of the CalPERS Board of Administration.
"We are going to miss Mark, but wish him well in his new career," said Charles P. Valdes, Chair of CalPERS Investment Committee.
CalPERS will consider replacements for Anson at its regular November board meeting.