UNITED STATES - California Public Employees Retirement System has hired Randall Mullan as its senior portfolio manager for infrastructure investments.

Mullan will report to Farouki Majeed, senior investment officer of CalPERS asset allocation and the inflation-linked asset class which includes infrastructure.

He will join CalPERS on 14 October 14 from the British Columbia Investment Management Corporation where he led development of the body's infrastructure programme through both direct and commingled fund investments.

Mullan has eight years worth of experience in private equity and infrastructure at British Colombia so will be tasked with reviewing the investment opportunities within the infrastructure arena for CalPERS.

It is thought the giant pension fund will seek investment mainly through the many commingled funds now available in the market as the $1bn infrastructure programme is not expected to carry direct investments at its initial launch.

This is very much standard practice for CalPERS as it would not usually choose to directly invest in assets when starting a new investment programme.

It is also unlikely to make any infrastructure investment selections until 2009.

That said, the pension fund intends to invest between 0.5% and 3% of its monies in the asset class so with total assets under management of $223bn (€152.4bn), the pension fund could be investing between $1bn and $6.7bn in infrastructure over the next few years.

CalPERS will begin by investing globally through commingled funds and then consider other investment structures down the road, but its aim is to place capital in public and private infrastructure such as transportation, ports, energy, water and communications.

The pension fund first placed $100m of assets into infrastructure over a year ago, most of which were transferred over from real estate.