OPERS Names Shafer Interim CIO

The Ohio Public Employees Retirement System has appointed Richard Shafer as its interim chief investment officer. Shafer had been serving since May as the pension fund’s deputy director of investments.

The former CIO, Jennifer Hom, resigned on June 4 for personal reasons. Hom joined the pension fund in 2002 as the system’s fixed income portfolio manager. She was promoted to senior investment officer of global bonds in 2003 and then named CIO in 2005.

Shafer will work closely with the pension fund’s CEO Chris DeRose and the investment division’s senior leaders to execute the limited partner’s investment plan. He joined the pension fund in late May of this year as deputy director of investments, with primary responsibility for the development and execution of the investment strategies for private equity and real estate. Previously, Shafer was the director of investments for the New Hampshire Retirement System and the CIO of Alaska Permanent Fund Corp.

With assets of $60.5 billion, OPERS is the largest public pension fund in Ohio and the 12th largest U.S. public pension fund. As of March 31, 2009, it had an actual private equity allocation of 5.34 percent; the target for the asset class is 4.7 percent. Almost 80 percent of the private equity portfolio is committed to buyout funds, with the rest earmarked for venture capital and special situations. Last year, the LP added a new 5 percent private equity target allocation to a $9.2 billion health care fund also under its management.