Top 30 Public Pension Chief Investment Officers
The strong U.S. equity market in 2016 rewarded many public pension funds with an uptick in annual returns compared with previous years. However, achieving long-term return goals remains a major challenge for pension investors. This list highlights 30 pension chief investment officers whose portfolios outperformed peers in 2016. They are also front-runners in the public pension world by three-year and five-year measures. Read on to learn about their industry-leading investment strategies and career stories.
Mansco Perry, III is the chief investment officer of the Minnesota State Board of Investment. He is also a member on the board of directors of WCRA of Minnesota. Previously, Perry was the chief investment officer of Macalester College from 2010 to 2013 and Maryland State Retirement Agency from 2008 to 2010. He has sat on the investment boards/committees of various institutions. Perry holds a J.D. from Mitchell Hamline School of Law, an MBA from the University of Chicago and a bachelor's in history from Carleton College.
David Villa is the chief investment officer of the State of Wisconsin Investment Board since 2006. He oversees the state pension's $102 billion assets. Prior to this, he was the chief investment officer for the Florida State Board of Administration and worked for UBS Global Asset Management/Brinson Partners as an executive director and client relationship manager. Villa has a B.A. in economics from Princeton University, an M.A. in Latin American Studies from Stanford University and an MBA from Northwestern University. He is a chartered financial analyst.
Chief Investment Officer
Lorrie Tingle is the chief investment officer at the Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS) of Mississippi. She has been in this role since 1996, planning and directing the activities for the PERS' $27.5 billion investment pool to ensure the prudent management of the investment assets. Tingle holds an MBA from Mississippi College and a bachelor's degree in geology from the University of Alabama.
Christopher Ailman is the chief investment officer of California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS), where he oversees an investment portfolio valued at $193.2 billion as of September 30, 2016. Ailman joined CalSTRS in 2000 with more than 27 years of management experience in institutional investment. He leads a team of 117 investment staff members across asset classes. Prior to CalSTRS, he was the chief investment officer of Washington State Investment Board. Ailman has a B.A. in business economics from the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Ashbel Williams is the executive director and chief investment officer of Florida State Board of Administration. Prior to this, Williams was a managing director at Fir Tree Partners, an opportunistic value-oriented hedge fund headquartered in New York, and a president at Schroders. He has a B.S. and an MBA both from Florida State University.
Robert Beale is the chief investment officer of the Louisiana State Employees' Retirement System. He joined LASERS in 1997 and has 12 years of investment experience in pensions and investment management. Beale received his BBA in finance from the University of Louisiana, Lafayette, and his master's degree in finance from Louisiana State University.
Dhvani Shah is the chief investment officer of Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund, a pension fund with $34.9 billion assets under management. Previously, Shah was the managing director of private equity of the $89.9 billion New York State Teachers' Retirement System. Shah has a BBA from Loyola University and an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
Marc Green is the chief investment officer of the Retirement Systems of Alabama. Prior to being named CIO in October 2004, Green was director of equities at the RSA for six years. Green earned a B.S. from Tulane University and an MBA from Auburn University at Montgomery.
Chief Investment Officer
Donald Pierce serves as the chief investment officer for the San Bernardino County Employees' Retirement Association (SBCERA), where he has been part of the investment team since 2001. He works directly with the Board on developing policy and investment goals, implementing investment objectives and the selection of investment managers, and is responsible for the day-to-day operation of the investment division. During his tenure with SBCERA, Pierce introduced international private equity, emerging market debt, and option strategies into the plan’s mix. Additionally, he developed a UAAL forecasting model and he has spearheaded a new rebalancing methodology for the fund. Pierce earned a Bachelors of Science in Statistics from San Diego State and is a CFA charter holder. He is a member of the CFA Institute and has shared his professional expertise with various professional organizations.
Chief Investment Officer
Since 1999, Craig Husting has served as the chief investment officer at Public School Retirement System of Missouri. Previously, he was director of investments and deposit programs at the Missouri State Treasurer's Office. Husting holds an MBA from the University of Notre Dame, a B.A. from Benedictine College and a CFA designation.
Michael Trotsky is the executive director and chief investment officer of the Massachusetts Pension Reserves Investment Management (PRIM) Board, a pension fund with $62 billion assets under management. Trotsky's work at PRIM was preceded by a 25-year career in the private sector, most recently as senior vice president and portfolio manager at PAR Capital Management. Trotsky received a B.S. in electrical engineering from the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from the University of Pennsylvania, The Wharton School.
David Hunter has served as executive director and chief investment officer for the North Dakota Retirement and Investment Office since 2014. Previously, he was vice president of pension investments and director of asset securitization at HSBC North America Holdings. Hunter holds a B.S. from Northern Illinois University, an MBA from University of Chicago and a CPA designation.
Ronald Schmitz is the chief investment officer at Virginia Retirement System since 2011, where he oversees $51 billion of assets under management. Prior to this, he served as the chief investment officer at Oregon State Treasury for eight years. Schmitz began his career with Kraft Foods Inc., before gaining pension management experience at Sears, Roebuck & Co. He has also served as the director of investments for Blue Cross & Blue Shield Association. Schmitz has a bachelor's degree in accounting from Western Illinois University and an MBA from Northwestern University.
Betty Tse, CPA, CGMA, MBA manages and oversees ACERA’s $7.6 billion (as of June 30, 2017) investment portfolio and acts as a primary resource for the CEO and as the liaison to ACERA’s Investment Committee. Tse served as ACERA’s Investment Officer for three years beginning in 1999 when she was promoted from Investment Analyst. In 2002, she became ACERA’s first Chief Investment Officer; prior to this the Investment Department was managed by the Chief Executive Officer. In 2016, Tse was named to the Trusted Insight list of Top 30 Women CIO’s—her interview with Trusted Insight was published in the April 2016 edition. Tse is an advocate of youth financial education and was honored in 2014 as an Investor in Education by the Neighborhood Youth Association in Los Angeles, CA, and as well in 2008 for having served for five years as a commissioner for the Pleasanton, CA Youth Commission. Tse hails from the Hong Koong. She graduated cum laude with a B.S. in accounting from Golden Gate University in San Francisco and earned a MBA with a concentration in finance from California State University, East Bay.
Since January 2008, Jon Braeutigam has served as deputy treasurer and chief investment officer at the Michigan Department of Treasury. He holds a bachelor's and an M.S. in finance from Michigan State University.
Steve Edmundson is the investment officer at the Public Employees' Retirement System of Nevada (NVPERS) since December 2012. He oversees all aspects of the system’s $38.5 billion (as of 2017) investment program, including investment operations, compliance, research, manager oversight, and implementation of investment strategy. He received a B.A. from Montana State University, Bozeman and a master's degree in public administration from the University of Nevada, Reno.
Tom Tull has served as chief investment officer at Employees Retirement System of Texas, a $28 billion defined benefit pension fund, since September 2013. Previously, Tull was founding partner at Gulfstream Global Investments, an international equity investment advisor, as well as various positions managing pensionfund assets. He holds a B.S. in finance from Ohio State University, an MBA from Xavier University and a CFA designation.
Michael Walden-Newman has served as state investment officer for the Nebraska Investment Council since December 2014. The Council oversees $25 billion in assets across 33 investment programs. Previously, he was chief investment officer of the Wyoming State Loan and Investment Board's $18 billion portfolio. Walden-Newman has a B.A. from the University of Oregon and an MPA from Louisiana State University, from which he received the 2004 Distinguished MPA Alumnus of the Year.
John Skjervem leads an investment team at the Oregon State Treasury that manages a financial and real asset portfolio valued at $95.5 billion as of June 30, 2017. Prior to this position, he held various leadership and portfolio management roles at Northern Trust and was director of the CFA Society of Chicago. Skjervem has a bachelor's degree in economics from University of California, Santa Barbara, and an MBA with concentrations in finance and statistics from University of Chicago, Booth School of Business. He also holds the chartered financial analyst designation.
Brad Tillberg was named chief investment officer of the Oklahoma Public Employees Retirement System in November 2009. Previously, he was associate portfolio manager for global equities at Russell Investments. Tillberg holds a CFA designation.
Ryan Parham is the chief investment officer for the $9.3 billion Public Safety Personnel Retirement System in Phoenix, AZ. Hired in 2004, Parham transformed the state’s risk-laden pension for first responders into a highly diversified portfolio that could now withstand the Dot Com crash with less than 5 percent losses. PSPRS seeks consistent returns through responsible investments in emerging technologies, consumer goods, real estate holdings, energy markets and even agriculture. Parham holds a JD and MBA from Brigham Young University, as well as bachelor's degree in English and mathematics from the University of Utah.
Matt Clark is the state investment officer at the South Dakota Investment Council (SDIC), where he manages the investments for the South Dakota Retirement System and state strust funds. Previously, he was deputy investment offficer at SDIC making it a 33-year tenure (since May 1984) at the investment office. Clark holds a B.S. in accounting from the University of South Dakota. He also holds a Chartered Financial Analyst designation.
Gary Bruebaker is the chief investment officer at Washington State Investment Board, where he oversees the management of $100 billion of pension and other public fund assets. Prior to this, Bruebaker was the deputy state treasurer for the Oregon State Treasury and a member on the Oregon Short-Term Fund Board, the Oregon Municipal Debt Advisory Commission and the Private Activity Bond Committee. Bruebaker has an MBA from the University of Oregon and a B.S. in business from Oregon State University. He is a chartered financial analyst.
Karl Koch is chief investment officer at Iowa Public Employee's Retirement System (IPERS), where he oversees the investment portfolio at the firm since 2006. Previously, he was head of IPERS' private equity program. He also served as the Iowa treasurer's chief financial officer.
Andrew Sawyer is chief investment officer at Maine Public Employees Retirement System (MainePERS). Previously, he was portfolio manager at TD Bank. Sawyer holds an MBA in finance from Pace University and a B.A. in business adminiistration and finance from the University of Maine. He also holds a Chartered Financial Analyst and a Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst designation.
Larry Johansen is director of investments at the New Hampshire Retirement System. Previously, he was managing director of external asset management at the New York State Teachers' Retirement System. Johansen holds a B.S. in mathematics and economics from the University of Buffalo.
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