New Hampshire Seeks Investment Director

The New Hampshire Retirement System recently launched a nationwide search to find a new director of investments to replace Rick Shafer, who left in May to join the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System as deputy chief investment officer.

The role represents the senior investment position at the pension fund. EFL Associates, an executive search firm, has been hired to conduct the search.

Reporting to the executive director, the director of investments provides investment advice to the board and investment committee, serving as the primary staff liaison on investment matters and directing all aspects of the investment program. These responsibilities involve developing and implementing the pension fund’s overall investment planning and strategy; risk management; overseeing external managers; maintaining relations with investment consultants and service providers; and recommending asset allocations.

Dick Ingram, executive director of the pension fund, said in April the staff is working with New England Pension Consultants to rebalance the portfolio. “It is worth noting that while we have always had prudent levels of alternative investments in our portfolio, we do not have the serious overhang of non-marketable assets waiting for a markdown that many other public pension funds do,” said Ingram at the time.

As of April 30, 2009, the state had a total portfolio of $4.3 billion. The alternative investments target allocation is 10 percent, including 4 percent each to private equity and absolute return strategies and 2 percent to opportunistic strategies; as of March the actual alternative investment allocation stood at 3 percent.

The limited partner will likely commit $60 million this year to the asset class, including $30 million to secondaries, $20 million to mezzanine and $10 million to distressed investments. The $60 million annual commitment pace is likely to continue through 2011, but different underlying strategies may be used, including venture, growth equity and energy investments.