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NMSIC head of real returns to depart for new role – exclusive

After two years at the sovereign wealth fund, Geraldine Barlow is thought to be moving to another institutional investor.

The head of real return assets and real estate at the New Mexico State Investment Council (NMSIC) is leaving her post this month, according to sources with knowledge of the matter.

Geraldine Barlow is thought to be taking a new role as head of investments with another institutional investor.

During her two years at NMSIC, Barlow has been responsible for the real return and real estate segments of the $20 billion NMSIC investment portfolio.

Together, they represent 22 percent of the asset allocation of the US’ largest sovereign wealth fund.

Barlow began her career as an investment analyst at real estate investment management firm LaSalle, after which she went on to become fund manager at JF Infrastructure and director of Hastings Funds Management USA, among other roles. The Australian has 19 years of industry experience in both the US and Australia, according to LinkedIn.

The real return portfolio, which was launched almost in tandem with Barlow’s appointment to NMSCI two years ago, makes up 12 percent of the 22 percent allocation, with real estate making up the remaining 10 percent. The real return portfolio includes asset classes such as energy, timberland, agriculture and infrastructure.

Barlow’s profile on LinkedIn states that her strengths are in “growing and developing investment management businesses with complex challenges”.

The real return portfolio was created to spread risk through asset class diversification, portfolio volatility reduction and capital preservation, and to reduce the fund’s overall reliance on capital gains, according to NMSIC documentation.

In February, NMSIC voted to commit up to $125 million to a new fund being raised by US timberland investment management organisation Resource Management Services.

In February last year, the council recommended that $200 million be committed to TIAA-CREF Agriculture Fund II out of the $5.54 billion allocated to real return commitments. The real return portfolio targets 10 to 12 percent returns, and long term returns of 3 percent above the rate of inflation.