CalPERS Officially Launches CIO Search

August 11, 2008 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - The nation's largest public pension system has officially begun its search for a new Chief Investment Officer (CIO).

The California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) says they are looking for someone to oversee the fund’s $230 billion investment portfolio, direct a staff of more than 200 professional managers, and work with the CalPERS Board to maximize returns for its members and employers.

“This is a high-profile position that requires vast financial knowledge, experience and vision,” said Rob Feckner, CalPERS Board President, in announcing the official start of the search. “It also requires skill to manage several asset classes and collaborate with other professionals and our Board, and to craft, articulate and implement a dynamic investment strategy.”

In the announcement , CalPERS noted that Ridgeway Partners, a global executive search firm, will assist the fund in filling the top investment post, which has been held by Interim CIO Anne Stausboll since former CIO Russell Read stepped down last spring (see CalPERS CIO Announces Resignation ).

Key Qualifications

Key candidate qualifications for the CIO position, developed by the CalPERS Board in late July, include:

  • At least seven years’ successful, relevant professional experience in the private or public sectors, or a combination of the two (15 years is desired);
  • Academic degrees that include at least an MBA and perhaps a PhD, and professional certifications such as the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA);
  • Experience as a respected institutional investment professional with a strong knowledge of fundamental and alternative asset classes (CalPERS has global equity, private equity, real estate, and inflation-linked asset classes – including commodities and infrastructure; and hedge and activist corporate governance funds); and
  • A strong grasp of asset allocation as a diversification tool and earnings generator above benchmarks across multiple asset classes – within the context of strong risk management.

Moreover, CalPERS said that the CIO must have a strategic, visionary approach to create and implement a dynamic investment strategy; experience in managing internal investment strategies and external managers; experience in prudent risk management; management skills to foster the collaborative working environment needed for successful joint-group ventures; experience in developing, motivating and progressively training staff; a proven leadership record through integrity and accountability; and experience and skill dealing with governing Boards and a history of building relationships of trust, confidence and respect with Board members.

The CalPERS CIO duties include:

  • working with the Board's Investment Committee to continuously review and evaluate investment policies and objectives;
  • advising the Committee on investment theories, styles, quantitative strategies and conditions of global markets;
  • making strategic and tactical investment recommendations to the Committee;
  • reviewing, monitoring asset allocation strategy and recommending changes, as necessary;
  • overseeing CalPERS internally managed assets;
  • ensuring solid performance, cost effectiveness, and strategic fit within the overall portfolio; and
  • proposing expanding internal management capabilities, as appropriate.

The CIO also reviews and monitors performance of outside investment managers and makes recommendations to the Committee; negotiates fees with investment managers and the custodian and monitors agreed-upon payments; sets the strategic direction of more than 200 investment professionals; reviews monitoring processes and procedures; oversees staff development and succession planning; upholds and maintains CalPERS shareowner activism and corporate governance initiatives; represents the pension funds in the investment marketplace with the media and government policymakers and regulators; works with staff actuaries to foster a cooperative understanding of the interrelationship between assets and liabilities; contributes an innovative perspective on public and private management issues; and ensures compliance with all investment policies.

"We're looking for a team player who can direct and nurture investment officers, and work hand-in-hand with our Board," said Feckner. "The candidate should also be an effective advocate for CalPERS and other institutional investors in corporate governance, the finance industry, and before regulatory and federal bodies."

Compensation will consist of a base salary, a cash incentive bonus based on measurable performance goals, leadership, management and relational skills, and a comprehensive benefits package.

For more information about the CIO position and how to apply, you can go to http://www.calpers.ca.gov/index.jsp?bc=/about/career/home.xml

«