New Jersey Investment Director Walsh Jumps to Gaw Capital

Timothy Walsh, director of New Jersey’s investment division for the past three years, is resigning to oversee North American operations for Hong Kong-based real estate investor Gaw Capital Partners.

Walsh, 50, said he’ll be the Chicago-based president and chief operating officer of Gaw Capital North America. He’ll focus on increasing the firm’s investments in U.S. real estate and on raising money from institutional investors. Walsh said Gaw Capital plans to amass a property fund of about $500 million.

“Their goal is to really develop their U.S. operations,” with a focus on hotels and office buildings, Walsh said by telephone. “They’re known more for their operations in China but they also have a very extensive U.S. track record for family assets and some select investors.”

Walsh said he plans to start the job immediately after leaving his New Jersey post on Aug. 30. He said he expects to spend considerable time in California, where a Gaw Capital affiliate, Downtown Properties, is based in Los Angeles. Walsh’s hiring was reported earlier today by Pensions & Investments.

The resignation was announced today by New Jersey Treasurer Andrew Sidamon-Eristoff. State Investment Council Chairman Robert Grady is leading a search committee to select a replacement, according to the treasurer’s office.

Interim Replacement

Chris McDonough, a Walsh deputy and former chief investment officer for the Philadelphia pensions and retirement board, will take the job on an interim basis. A permanent replacement is expected at the start of next year, Sidamon-Eristoff said.

The investment division oversees $74 billion for retirees and $12 billion in a cash-management fund used for state and municipal short-term financings. New Jersey’s seven public-employee pension funds cover more than 780,000 working and retired teachers, police officers and government workers.

New Jersey hasn’t invested with Gaw Capital, Walsh said.

For the three years ended June 30, 2012, the pension fund’s total return was 11 percent per year, according to Eristoff’s statement. The fiscal 2011 gain of 18 percent was the fund’s best in 13 years.

Grady said Walsh helped to negotiate lower fees with advisers and increased the funds’ diversity. In a statement, Walsh said his colleagues in the Garden State “made the last three years a very rewarding time in my life.”

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