Ohio SERS Lures New Investment Chief From CalPERS

Pension: Ohio School Employees Retirement System

Assets Managed: $10.2 Billion (Jan. 31, 2012)

Private Equity Assets: $869 Million (Jan. 31, 2012)

Private Equity Allocation: 8.5% (Jan. 31, 2012)

Private Equity Target Allocation: 10%

(Announced) Director of Investments: Farouki Majeed

In a move that demonstrates that not every public pension investment manager decamps for the lucre of the private sector, the $10.2 billion Ohio School Employees’ Retirement System said it had lured Farouki Majeed to be its new director of investments from the $235 billion California Public Employees’ Retirement System, the nation’s largest.

The move still leaves several chief investment officer roles vacant among the nation’s largest pension systems, including the $140 billion New York State Common Retirement Fund, the $73 billion Oregon Investment Council, the $72 billion North Carolina Retirement Systems, the $25 billion South Carolina Retirement System and the $11 billion Los Angeles City Employees’ Retirement System.

Despite its modest size, Ohio SERS still has a sizable private equity program, having $869 million, or 8.5 percent of assets, in invested private equity capital. The pension has a target of 10 percent.

At CalPERS, Majeed was a senior investment officer in charge of asset allocation and risk management. Majeed’s new responsibility of guiding Ohio SERS’s overall investment strategy is equivalent to the more commonly titled role of chief investment officer.

Majeed is to replace Robert Cowman, who announced last year that he would step down, which he plans to do on April 30.  Majeed plans to start on July 2.

“Farouki’s educational and professional background will be extremely beneficial as we continue the work of reducing risk in the portfolio and enhancing returns,” said Lisa Morris, Ohio PERS’s executive director in a statement.

Prior to CalPERS, Majeed was the chief investment officer for the Abu Dhabi Retirement Pensions and Benefits Fund. He has also worked at the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System, the Orange County Employees Retirement System, and the Minneapolis Employees Retirement Fund.

Ohio SERS manages pension benefits for nearly 200,000 state school employees and retirees.