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Former Hermes strategy head new CIO at US University fund

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UK - Hermes' James Walsh has been nabbed by the $5bn (£2.35bn) Cornell University fund in the US as the endowment's new chief investment officer.

Walsh, who was previously head of strategy at Hermes Fund Management, the BT pension scheme owned activist UK fund manager, has succeeded Don Fehrs who left the American university in May to become director of research at Illinois-based hedge fund Evanston Capital Management.

Nigel Labram, former head of Hermes' commodities fund, replaces Walsh, who left the firm in September.

Furthermore it has appeared that Hermes, with around £65bn in assets under management, is recruiting for its buyout team and a newly established infrastructure investments group.

The move comes after the £34.9bn (€52bn) BT Pension Fund, advised by Hermes, announced it would allocate 1% of its assets to infrastructure funds and double its private equity portfolio to £700m.

Resulting from this, Hermes Private Equity is looking for a "substantial number of people", the firm told Financial News in an interview.

The company advertises for partners and investment staff to lead investments through funds and directly - recruitment firm Walker Hamill is leading the search, it was reported.

In September IPE reported that the fund already ditched about a third of its £9.7bn (€14.3bn) UK equity portfolio in favour of alternative investments.

Hermes decided to double its allocation to hedge funds and other alternative assets in order to protect the fund against long-term inflation, according to recently appointed Hermes chief executive Mark Anson.

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