USS to replace chief investment officer

Peter Moon will retire next year from the UK’s University Superannuation Scheme, an influential limited partner in private equity, infrastructure and real estate funds.

Peter Moon is stepping down as chief investment officer of the UK’s second largest pension fund, the University Superannuation Scheme (USS), after 17 years with the pension.

His future departure will further a trend of senior management changes at large pensions: In February, the private equity chief for the California State Teachers' Retirement System, Réal Desrochers, retired, while in January, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System named Washington State Investment Board’s executive director, Joseph Dear, as chief investment officer, following the departure of Russell Read. Like CalPERS and CalSTRS, USS is an influential private equity, infrastructure and real estate investor.

“Moon will retire from his post as chief executive officer in early 2010. Succession planning is currently under way and USS is actively recruiting for a suitable replacement,” Tom Merchant, USS chief executive, said in a statement. The firm will announce Moon’s replacement once a decision has been made, he said.

Moon’s future professional plans were not disclosed. He started his career in 1972 with the Central Board of Finance of the Church of England. He has been chief investment officer at the USS since November 1992 and he was also a former member of the National Association of Pension Funds’ investment committee from 1990 to 1995. Moon was also been chairman of the NAPF Stock Exchange Sub-Committee from 1991 to 1995 and a director of MBNA Europe, an investment bank, from 2004 to 2007. He is an investment advisor to Middlesborough Council and the London Pension Funds Authority and he is a director of The Scottish American Investment Company.

USS was founded in 1911 and invests the savings of more than 200,000 UK academics and university staff. Last year USS’ asset value plummeted from £29 billion in early 2008 to just £22 billion by December, largely due to write-downs in its public equities portfolio. It has a 20 percent allocation to alternatives, of which 2.5 percent is s allocated to private equity. In recent years it has committed capital to private equity firms such as Advent International, Henderson Equity Partners, Pantheon Ventures and Warburg Pincus.