Oct 17, 2017

North Carolina still hasn't posted job for pension CIO

SZfarmer/Wikicommons

It has been three months since Kevin SigRist stepped down as chief investment officer for the $94 billion North Carolina Retirement Systems, but the NC Treasurer's Office has yet to formally post a listing for his full-time successor. In fact, only one investment job is currently listed for NCRS, even though around a quarter of the staffers present for a March 2017 investment committee meeting have since left.

Bottom line: The NCRS investment staff has been in turmoil since Treasurer Dale Folwell took office in January, promising to reduce fees paid to Wall Street firms but not much of anything else.

Activity: Folwell has pulled NCRS out of some hedge funds for the sake of fee-savings, but plugged that money into cash and bonds instead of into public equity vehicles like passive indexes. He also has not approved any new investments since taking office — including re-ups with existing managers — even though various asset class exposures are currently below approved allocations.

Per Folwell spokesman Frank Lester: "Currently, Christopher Morris and Jeff Smith are serving in the capacity of Interim Chief Investment Officer (CIO). The previous CIO, Kevin SigRist, resigned less than three months ago. In 2009-2010, the Investment Management Division had an Interim CIO for more than 9 month. In 2012-2013, IMD had an Interim CIO for more than 10 months. We are always looking for qualified individuals to assume leadership roles with IMD and the Department of State Treasurer.... We are very pleased with Mr. Morris and Mr. Smith's performance and have not felt the need to post as of yet."

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