Fresno City pension funds cast net for GTAA, absolute-return fixed income

Fresno (Calif.) City Retirement Systems is conducting shortlist searches for global tactical asset allocation and absolute return fixed-income managers, confirmed Stanley McDivitt, retirement administrator.

The two searches are the start of an extensive new asset allocation plan proposed by investment consultant NEPC. The retirement systems' two pension funds — the Employees Retirement System and the Fire and Police Retirement System — have a combined $2.2 billion in assets.

Mr. McDivitt said no official changes have been made to the asset allocation, but it will be amended when the board decides to hire new managers. The board may vote to approve a new asset allocation next month.

In NEPC's proposal, the pension plans would add allocations of 7% to GTAA and 4% to absolute-return fixed income. Interested managers can contact NEPC, Mr. McDivitt said.

NEPC's asset allocation proposal has global equity decreasing to 50% from 60%; global fixed income decreasing to 28% from 30%; and alternatives increasing to 22% from 10%.

In equity, domestic and international allocations each decreases to 25% from 30%. Within international, emerging markets equity would remain at 4% while developed markets would decrease to 21%. In fixed income, U.S. core bonds would decrease to 10% from 20%; high yield would decrease to 6% from 10% and three new areas would be added – 5% opportunistic credit, 4% absolute return and 3% emerging markets debt. Alternatives consist of the 7% GTAA target, a new 5% allocation to real assets and real estate, which remains at 10%.

The consultant recommended a whole suite of searches to implement the proposed asset allocation. In addition to GTAA and absolute-return searches, NEPC recommends the pension funds search for value-added real estate, opportunistic credit, emerging markets debt and equity, and real return managers.

Mr. McDivitt anticipated it will take two years to complete all the searches; none will be started until the GTAA and absolute-return fixed income hires are completed. He said the real estate search likely will be conducted later this year. There will be no RFPs; NEPC will conduct shortlist searches.

Separately at the June 25 meeting, the board rehired Northern Trust as global custodian. BNY Mellon was also a finalist.