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Asset Owners

American Red Cross eliminates CIO position in switch to outsourced CIO

Gregory T. Williamson, chief investment officer of American Red Cross, Washington, will leave at the end of the month following the organization's decision to search for firms to provide outsourced chief investment officer services, the organization said in a statement emailed by a spokesman.

In its statement, the non-profit said that because of the purchase of a group annuity contract to transfer some pension liabilities of participants with low monthly amounts to an insurance company and the improvement of the plan's funding ratio, "we will need to transition the assets in the pension plan from a growth strategy to an approach that simply seeks to match the returns with the pension payment requirements" in its decision to outsource the services provided by Mr. Williamson since his arrival at the American Red Cross in May 2015 to oversee the investment management of a total of more than $6 billion in defined benefit plan assets, endowment funds and other assets.

Mr. Williamson's position is being eliminated and the American Red Cross said "at this point in the process, the only position impacted by the decision is the CIO." Before joining the American Red Cross, Mr. Williamson had been CIO of BP America Inc., Chicago, and director-trust investments, the Americas, BP PLC, since 2008.

"To meet these new and different objectives, we have decided to change the investment strategies of the pension and the endowment funds, and we will no longer have the scale to require the expense of funding an in-house investment management team," the statement said. "Therefore, we have decided to outsource our investment management activities and will be issuing separate RFPs for the management of pension and endowment assets."

The American Red Cross spokesman would not provide further information; Mr. Williamson referred questions to American Red Cross' communications team.