CalSTRS Merges Asset Classes to Improve Diversification

April 17, 2009 ( - The California State Teachers' Retirement System (CalSTRS) appointed Trish Taniguchi and Glen Blacet as co-directors of the newly created asset class of Global Equities.

Prior to joining CalSTRS Global Equities in September 2001, Taniguchi spent six years with CalSTRS Private Equity. Blacet joined CalSTRS Global Equities in 2005, after working as a senior portfolio manager at Barclays Global Investors, according to the announcement.

CalSTRS approved the new Global Equities Portfolio in February 2009 after a determination that splitting equities into U.S. and non-U.S. asset classes was not an effective approach to diversification. The second-largest U.S. public pension fund said its investment officials observed the high degree to which U.S. and non-U.S. equity markets behave similarly and that their risk/return profiles are comparable, making it impractical to treat the two as separate asset classes, according to CalSTRS Chief Investment Officer, Christopher J. Ailman.

“Today’s challenging market conditions demand creative approaches to value generation,” Ailman said in the announcement. “Because U.S. and non-U.S. equities are so nearly indistinguishable, it makes more sense to put them into the same large bucket. Now we have greater flexibility to move between the two as we see opportunities.”

Taniguchi and Blacet will lead and manage 10 staff members as well as oversee internally managed strategies and the activities of 51 external managers.