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Texas Teachers starts strategic allocation review, hires leader for emerging managers program

Texas Teacher Retirement System, Austin, embarked on the first stage of its regularly scheduled strategic asset allocation review during a meeting Friday.

Staff and the board of directors review the strategic allocation of the $153 billion every five years, said Jase Auby, deputy chief investment officer, in a webcast of the fund's investment committee meeting.

Mr. Auby and other investment staff as well as external experts including Keith C. Brown, a consultant to the fund and a University of Texas professor, provided information to trustees on the fund's current and potential allocations.

TRS staff will present their recommendation for asset allocation at the board's July 18-19 meeting. Trustees are slated to approve the final lineup during their Sept. 19-20 meeting.

In other news from Friday's investment committee meeting, Kirk Sims was named emerging manager program director. Mr. Sims will join the fund on March 1, replacing Sylvia Bell, who will concentrate on her "other full-time job" as chief operating officer, said Jerry Albright, chief investment officer.

Mr. Sims will oversee Texas Teachers' existing $5.7 billion emerging managers' program as well as the rollout this year of a new program, Emerging Manager 3.0, which aims to invest up to $3 billion with investment management firms earlier in their lifecycle through seeding investments, joint ventures and anchor investing.

Mr. Sims will report to Mr. Auby, who noted in a news release that Mr. Sims is "an experienced investor with a demonstrated ability to select for manager success across many different asset classes."

Mr. Sims currently serves as senior investment officer-emerging managers for the $51.4 billion Illinois Teachers' Retirement System, Springfield. The program currently has $510 million invested. Mr. Sims also has oversight of fund's $10.3 billion women- and minority-owned manager program, said spokesman David Urbanek in an email.

"Staffing issues following Kirk's departure are under discussion internally," Mr. Urbanek said.

TRS also announced the appointment of Andrew Roth, who will join the fund in April as chief operations and administration officer. He replaces Kenneth Welch, who retired in 2018 as deputy director.

TRS spokesman Robert Maxwell said in an email that the deputy director's position was renamed and stressed that "it's the same position, a new name for the same function." Like Mr. Welch, Mr. Roth will serve as "the right hand" of Brian Guthrie, TRS executive director.

Mr. Roth now is the benefits and services executive officer for the $223.8 billion California State Teachers' Retirement System, West Sacramento. Spokesman Michael Sicilia said the fund will search for a replacement.