HARTFORD, Conn. - Robert Evans is the new consulting chief investment officer of the $11.1 billion Connecticut Trust Funds.
Mr. Evans will receive $10,000 a month for 18 months in the post.
With the appointment - made by state Treasurer Christopher Burnham - Connecticut has snared a well-regarded pension fund manager. Mr. Evans' peers named him the "best and brightest" corporate pension executive in a 1987 poll taken by Pensions & Investments. At that time, he was in charge of pension management at Xerox Corp.
Mr. Evans is filling the vacancy created by Frank McDermott's retirement last year as CIO of the Connecticut fund.
Mr. Evans is the president of Evans Associates, a Ridgefield, Conn., investment consulting firm he founded in 1994. The firm assists institutional investors with their investment strategies. He headed Xerox's pension fund from 1977 to 1992, where assets grew to $5.5 billion from $390 million during his tenure. He then worked with Xerox's non-U.S. pension plans from late 1992 to March 1994, when he retired.
Before Xerox, Mr. Evans managed the pension assets for J.C. Penney Co. for eight years.
A consulting chief investment officer is a departure for the Connecticut Trust Funds and would be for most other pension funds. Mr. Evans signed a contract that will employ him as CIO for 18 months. There is a one-year renewal option.
Short of working for a fraction of what a corporation could pay, hiring Mr. Evans as a consultant was the only way Connecticut could attract him. The salary range of $75,000 to $95,000 didn't attract the caliber of pension manager the fund sought, officials said.
Candidate interviews yielded one or two possible CIOs, and they were not right for the job, said John Quirke, a member of the Investment Advisory Council and chairman of its search subcommittee.
The IAC advises the treasurer on the pension fund but has no decision-making authority. Mr. Burnham is the sole trustee of the fund.
"It's very hard to attract top people with the wages we can pay," said Mr. Quirke. "It's tough to get them at $300,000."
"The treasurer innovatively came up with a package to attract this guy," said Edward Lamont, outgoing chairman of the IAC. "This guy is far and away the most qualified guy I've seen."
According to Mr. Quirke, Mr. Evans' annualized salary actually works out to less than the total benefit package that would have been paid to a candidate hired at $95,000 a year. Mr. Evans will be responsible for his own benefits.
Mr. Burnham - who was unavailable for comment - has brought a corporate facade to the management of the pension fund since taking over in January. He has filled openings in the treasury department with people from insurance and banking; he refers to the pension fund as an investment bank and its beneficiaries as shareholders.
"Bob Evans has joined the growing ranks of top-notch talent who, out of a sense of civic duty, have committed themselves to helping Connecticut regain its economic clout," Mr. Burnham said in a statement.
Taking on the Connecticut Trust Funds as a client is consistent with the strategy of Mr. Evans' firm. According to Karen Jannetty, chief of staff at the treasurer's office, Mr. Evans' firm has only two other clients, and Connecticut now will be his main client. Mr. Evans last year said the firm would remain small with between two and six clients at any point in time (Pensions & Investments, June 27, 1994).
Some would consider the Connecticut assignment a coup because of the restructuring initiated by Mr. Burnham. The fund is in transition; Mr. Burnham has undertaken a liability study and plans to reduce the number of active equity and fixed-income managers and index more of the fund.