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Now is the time to play it safe in the market given all the uncertainty in the economy, according to the chief investment officer of the California Public Employees Retirement System.

Factors such as high unemployment, the depressed housing market, the financial turmoil in Greece, and even the uncertainty in the CDS derivative market, are all cause for playing defense, Joe Dear, the CIO of Calpers, said in an interview on CNBC Thursday.

Dear said Calpers, the largest public-pension fund in the U.S, is also taking on a bigger role in managing its own investments.