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2018

Top 30 Public Pension Chief Investment Officers

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Securing the financial future of public employees, in hopes of earning some incremental alpha, is the primary driver for pension investment leaders. And despite the persistent low-return environment, they continue to implement innovative strategies and position their portfolios to perform better than most. This list features 30 industry thought-leaders that oversee stellar investment teams, expertly navigate the markets and are instilled with the compassion to serve the beneficiaries of U.S. public pension systems. Presenting Trusted Insight’s 2018 Top 30 Public Pension Chief Investment Officers:

Christopher Ailman is chief investment officer of California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS), where he oversees an investment portfolio valued at $224.4 billion (as of February 28, 2018). He has more than 28 years of management experience in institutional investment amd currently leads an investment staff of 120 across eight teams. Prior to CalSTRS, he was the chief investment officer of Washington State Investment Board. Ailman holds a B.A. in business economics from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

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Jerry Albright is the chief investment officer at Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS), where he has oversight over one of the largest pools of capital in the world. Previously, he served as investment division’s deputy chief investment officer, chief operating officer, as well as the director of investment operations at TRS. The fund has also pioneered among U.S. funds by opening foreign office locations under Albright's directions. Albright holds a bachelor&'s degree in economics from Texas A&M University.

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Vicki Fuller is the chief investment officer at the New York State Common Retirement Fund, where she is responsible for the strategic investment of $197 billion in heavily-diversified assets. Previously, she served as chief investment officer of Pension Investment & Cash Management at State of New York. She also served as the senior vice president and director in the Institutional Marketing Public Funds Group at AllianceBernstein L.P. Fuller holds a master's degree in business administration from the University of Chicago and a bachelor's degree from Roosevelt University.

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Ash Williams

Executive DIrector & Chief Investment Officer

Florida State Board of Administration

Ashbel Williams is the executive director and chief investment officer at the Florida State Board of Administration. Previously, he was managing director at Fir Tree Partners, an opportunistic value-oriented hedge fund headquartered in New York. Prior to that, he was president at Schroder Capital Management, the U.S. asset management arm of Schroders. Williams holds an MBA and a B.S. from Florida State University.

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John Skjervem is the chief investment officer at the Oregon State Treasury, where he manages a financial and real asset portfolio valued at $95.5 billion (as of June 30, 2017). Previously, he held various leadership and portfolio manager roles at Northern Trust and was the director at the CFA Society of Chicago. Skjervem holds an MBA in finance and statistics from the University of Chicago, Booth School of Business and a bachelor's degree in economics from University of California, Santa Barbara. He also holds the Chartered Financial Analyst designation.

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Betty Tse is the chief investment officer at Alameda County Employees Retirement Association (ACERA), where she oversees the $7.2 billion investment portfolio. Previously, she served as an investment officer for three years before she was promoted to the ACERA's first CIO in 2002. Tse holds an MBA in finance from California State University, East Bay and a B.S. in accounting from Golden Gate University in San Francisco.

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Thomas Lee

Executive Director & Chief Investment Officer

New York State Teachers' Retirement System

Thomas Lee is the executive director and chief investment officer at the New York State Teachers' Retirement System (NYSTRS), one of the largest and public pension funds in the country. Prior to that, he was executive director at Maryland State Retirement and Pension System until 2006. Lee holds an MBA from George Washington University, a master’s degree in political science from Temple University and a bachelor's degree in political science and sociology from Dickinson College.

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Robert Maynard is the chief investment officer at the Public Employee Retirement System of Idaho (PERSI), a pension with $18 billion in assets under management. Prior to PERSI, Maynard served as deputy executive director of the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation and as assistant attorney general for the state of Alaska. Maynard received his J.D. from the University of California, Davis School of Law and graduated from Claremont McKenna College.

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Ronald Schmitz is the chief investment officer at Virginia Retirement System, where he oversees $78.3 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 also served as the director of investments for Blue Cross & Blue Shield Association. Schmitz holds an MBA from Northwestern University and a bachelor's degree in accounting from Western Illinois University.

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Gary Bruebaker is the chief investment officer of the Washington State Investment Board, where he manages over $128 billion, invested on six continents, within 76 different countries and 49 different currencies. Bruebaker is also the vice chairman of the Financial Accounting Foundation. Prior to the WSIB, he was the deputy state treasurer of the state of Oregon. Bruebaker holds an an MBA from the University of Oregon and a B.S. in business from Oregon State University. He is a Chartered Financial Analyst, a Certified Public Accountant and a Certified Cash Manager.

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Dhvani Shah is the chief investment officer at Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund, a pension fund with more than $41.3 billion of assets under management. Previously, she was the managing director of private equity of the New York State Teachers' Retirement System. Shah holds an MBA in finance, economics and organizational behavior from the University of Chicago, Booth School of Business and a BBA from Loyola University Chicago.

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Craig Husting is the chief investment officer for the Public School and Education Employee Retirement Systems of Missouri, where he directs the management of the Systems’ $42 billion investment portfolio. Specifically, he is responsible for strategically diversifying the asset allocation for the systems including the development of real estate, private equity and hedge fund portfolios. Prior to that, he was the director of investments and deposit programs for the Missouri State Treasurer’s Office, where he managed all aspects of the State’s $3.5 billion investment portfolio. Mr. Husting has also worked in county government as the Deputy Treasurer for the Johnson County, KS government. Husting earned an MBA from the University of Notre Dame and a B.A. degree from Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas. He also holds the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation.

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Philip Griffith is the chief investment officer at the Teachers' Retirement System of Louisiana (TRSL), Louisiana's largest state sponsored public pension fund with assets under management in excess of $17 billion. Previously, he was CIO at LSU Foundation, the primary private endowment which supports Louisiana State University academics. Griffith holds an MBA in finance from the University of New Orleans and a B.A. in economics from Tulane University. He also received his Chartered Financial Analyst and Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst designations.

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Richard Shafer is the chief investment officer of Ohio Public Employees' Retirement System, a pension with $97.71 billion in assets under management. Previously, Shafer served as deputy director in the company's investment division since 2009. Shafer studied at Stanford University and obtained a B.A. degree from Dartmouth College.

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Bruce Cundick is the chief investment officer at the Utah Retirement Systems, where he manages all aspects of investment functions of the $33.93 billion state pension fund. Previously, he was the chief financial officer and CIO at Beneficial Life Insurance Company, where he directed $2 billion portfolio of fixed income, mortgage-backed and equity securities. He has also taught at the University of Utah for over 30 years. He was an adjunct professor and has taught part-time as an associate instructor of business finance and investments in the University’s Masters of Science and Technology program. Cundick holds an MBA and a B.A. in accounting from the University of Utah. He holds Chartered Financial Analyst and Certified Public Accountant designations.

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Tom Tull is the chief investment officer at Employees Retirement System of Texas, a $28 billion defined benefit pension fund. Previously, he was a founding partner at Gulfstream Global Investments, an international equity investment advisor, as well as various positions managing pensionfund assets. Tull holds an MBA from Xavier University and a B.S. in finance from Ohio State University. He also holds a Chartered Financial Analyst designation.

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Andrew Palmer is the chief investment officer of the Maryland State Retirement & Pension System, where he oversees $50.8 billion of assets under management. Previously, he served as the deputy chief investment officer of the Tennessee Office of the Treasurer. His career in the private sector started in 1985 at ASB Capital Management, where he progressed from credit analyst to director of fixed income. Palmer holds a M.A. and B.A. in economics from the University of Maryland College Park.

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Karl Polen is the chief investment officer at the Arizona State Retirement System, where he is responsible for the management of $38.8 billion in assets under management. He has more than 30 years of investment management experience and has served as executive vice president of Pivotal Group Inc., and senior vice president and chief financial officer for Robson Communities Inc. Polen holds an MBA degree from Vanderbilt University and a bachelor's degree from the University of Illinois.

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Donald Pierce is chief investment officer at the San Bernardino County Employees' Retirement Association (SBCERA), after having joined in 2001. During his tenure with SBCERA, Pierce introduced international private equity, emerging market debt and option strategies into the plan’s mix. Pierce holds a B.S. in statistics from San Diego State University. He also holds a Chartered Financial Analyst designation.

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Liza Goerner Crisafi is the chief investment officer at San Diego City Employees' Retirement System, where she oversees over $6 billion in assets. Previously, she was the president and CEO of Crisafi Investment Management and vice president at Wheeler Frost Associates. Crisafi holds an MBA from Lake Forest Graduate School of Management and a B.A. in art history from the University of Notre Dame.

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Tom Lopez is the chief investment officer at Los Angeles Fire and Police Pension System, which operates a defined benefit pension plan of $18 billion covering all firefighters and police officers of the City of Los Angeles. He has been with the pension for more than 29 years, including 16 years as the chief investment officer. Previously he worked for three general managers at the pension fund and dozens of commissioners. He is currently the longest serving employee in the investment department.

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Kirk Stebbins is the chief investment officer of Oklahoma Teachers' Retirement System, a pension with $16.9 billion in assets under management (as of June, 2017). Previously, Stebbins served as CIO at the City of Austin Employees' Retirement System (COAERS). He has over 25 years of experience working with institutional investments in various capacities. Stebbins holds a M.S. in finance from Texas A&M University and a B.S. from Lousiana Tech University. He also holds a Chartered Financial Analyst designation.

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Karl Koch is the chief investment officer at Iowa Public Employees' Retirement System. Koch oversees IPERS investment portfolio since 2006. He was previously in charge of IPERS’ billion private equity program. Prior to joining the pension fund in 1998, Koch served as the Iowa treasurer’s chief finance officer.

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Rodney June is the chief investment officer of Los Angeles City Employees' Retirement System, a pension with $17.4 billion in assets under management. Previously, June was the Chief Investment Officer of the State of Hawaii Employees’ Retirement System, where he managed an $11 billion portfolio. He holds an MBA in Business Administration from Auburn University.

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Robert Beale is the chief investment officer of the Louisiana State Employees' Retirement System (LASERS), where he oversees approximately $12 billion in investments that cover a wide variety of asset classes, both traditional and alternative investments. He joined them in 1997, and has more than 27 years of investment experience in pensions and investment management. Beale holds a B.S. in business administration with a major in finance from the University of Louisiana, Lafayette and a master's degree in finance from Louisiana State University. Beale also holds the Chartered Financial Analyst designation and the Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst designation.

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Sheila Morgan-Johnson

Executive Director & Chief Investment Officer

District of Columbia Retirement Board

Sheila Morgan-Johnson is the executive director and chief investment officer at the District of Columbia Retirement Board (DCRB). Her career includes managerial responsibilities in several other organizations, including the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. She formerly served as trustee and member of the Investment and Finance committees of the Lab School of Washington and Baltimore, and as a trustee of My Sister’s Place. Morgan-Johnson holds a master's and bachelor's degree in business administration from Howard University.

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Brian Collett is chief investment officer of Missouri Local Government Employees Retirement System (LAGERS), a $7.5 billion system. Under his leadership the LAGERS investment portfolio has performed among the top in the public fund universe, returning 9.45 percent annualized net of fees for the last five years ending December 31, 2017. Prior to his CIO position, Brian held various positions across the investment industry including a senior research manager for the South Carolina Retirement Systems and a senior technology analyst for the Russell Investment Group. Collett holds a B.S. in mathematics from Marian University and an MBA from Butler University. He also earned the Chartered Financial Analyst and Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst designations.

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Elizabeth Miller is the chief investment officer at Kansas Public Employees Retirement System, where she is responsible for all aspects of investment management for the $18.84 billion multi-employer defined benefit public pension plan. Previously, she was director of investments at the Pooled Money Investment Board, State of Kansas. She holds a PhD in American Studies and an MBA in finance from the University of Kansas.

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Gregory Brunt has been the chief investment officer at Houston Municipal Employees Pension System (HMEPS) since 1998. Brunt holds an MBA in finance from Vanderbilt University-Owen Graduate School of Management and a B.S. in economics from Texas A&M University.

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Craig Slaughter

Executive Director & Chief Executive Officer

West Virginia Investment Management Board

Craig Slaughter is the chief investment officer of the West Virginia Investment Management Board, the entity responsible for investing the state's defined benefit plans and Workers' Compensation Funds. Slaughter has been responsible for the State's investment portfolio since leaving the practice of law in 1989. He has a J.D. from West Virginia University and a B.A. in history from Cornell University. Slaughter is a member of the National Association of Public Pension Attorneys and the West Virginia State Bar. He also serves on the board of the West Virginia Land Trust, the West Virginia Cycling Foundation, the Kanawha Valley Community and Technical College Foundation.

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