San Diego County fund continues negotiations with Salient

San Diego County Employees Retirement Association on Dec. 20 is expected to decide whether to rehire portfolio strategist Salient Partners, said Dan Flores, pension fund spokesman, in an e-mail.

The board on Thursday voted in closed session to continue contract negotiations with Salient and take action on a final contract at the Dec. 20 board meeting, he said.

SDCERA outsourced its chief investment officer duties in October 2009 to the fund's portfolio strategist, Integrity Capital Services, founded by Lee Partridge. Salient Partners bought Integrity Capital in November 2010, and Salient took over as San Diego County's portfolio strategist and consultant, with Mr. Partridge still at the helm.

The board on Nov. 1 decided to rehire Salient Partners and begin contract negotiations. The other candidate was Meketa Investment Group, a larger firm, consultant.

“Staff was directed to begin negotiations with Salient Partners because of their alignment and understanding of SDCERA's investment strategy; their experience in reducing investment risk; and track record of strong investment returns,” Mr. Flores wrote.

In a memo to the board, Brian White, SDCERA CEO, wrote that staff and counsel have had “productive discussions” concerning the terms of the contract including fees.