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N.J. Names McDonough as Director of Pension Investments

New Jersey named Christopher McDonough director of investments, overseeing the 12th-largest public pension in the U.S.

McDonough had been acting director of the state Treasury’s Investment Division since September, after Timothy Walsh resigned in August to run North American operations for Hong Hong-based real-estate investor Gaw Capital Partners. McDonough had been deputy director since 2010, helping manage about $20 billion of alternative investments and more than $15 billion of international equity.

“He is both a good investor and good manager of people and he will be a great leader of the division,” Bob Grady, chairman of the State Investment Council and of the search committee, said in a statement from the Treasury Department today.

New Jersey’s pension fund was valued at $76.8 billion as of Dec. 31. Governor Chris Christie said last month that the system was underfunded by $52 billion after a decade of expanded benefits and missed payments. His $34.4 billion budget for fiscal 2015 includes a record $2.25 billion pension payment. The Republican governor, who forced public employees to pay more for benefits during his first term, is seeking additional changes to help shore up the fund, benefiting 800,000 current and retired employees.

The bonds of New Jersey and municipal issuers in the state, which have ratings that reflect the health of pensions, have returned 3.3 percent this year, compared with 3.08 percent for the overall market, according to S&P Dow Jones Indices.

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