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MassPRIM backs giving executive director Trotsky CIO role as well

Michael Trotsky
Michael Trotsky

Massachusetts Pension Reserves Investment Management Board's investment committee on Tuesday recommended that Michael Trotsky, PRIM's executive director, also receive the title of chief investment officer at the $50 billion pension fund.

Mr. Trotsky has been interim CIO since Stan Mavromates left the Boston-based board in June to join Mercer. The full board will vote on the recommendation from the investment committee on Oct. 2.

The board's chairman, Massachusetts state Treasurer Steve Grossman, had originally recommended that Mr. Trotsky take on the CIO title. In a telephone interview, Mr. Grossman said the move would help “bring immediate stability” to an organization decimated by high-level investment staff departures over the past year.

The appointment would facilitate PRIM's efforts to quickly fill key posts that remain open, including senior investment officers for private equity and hedge funds, that candidates might otherwise hesitate to consider not knowing to whom they'd be reporting, Mr. Grossman noted.

The addition over the past year or two of key positions, including a general counsel and a chief compliance officer, have left PRIM with a much deeper administrative bench, make it possible for Mr. Trotsky to focus primarily on investments, Mr. Grossman said.

Having one executive assuming both roles might not be the answer at all times, but “at this particular time, in this particular situation” it makes sense for PRIM as well as for taxpayers, Mr. Grossman said.

Under the proposal, Mr. Trotsky's $245,000 salary as executive director would rise to $295,000 if he adds the CIO title, yielding some “meaningful savings” for taxpayers even if some of the more than $200,000 salary previously slated for the CIO post were “repurposed” to help fill other key investment posts, Mr. Grossman said.

Mr. Trotsky in a separate interview said he would welcome the opportunity to take on PRIM's CIO role, noting the investment side of the job is what he finds most challenging. Taking on that role would also free up resources that could “give me a little more latitude” in attracting talented investment professionals to fill open posts or compensating existing employees, he said.

The investment committee voted 8-0 to approve Mr. Grossman's recommendation, with one abstention.