Chief Investment Officer
SURS is the administrator of a cost-sharing, multiple employer, public employee retirement system that provides retirement, survivor, disability, and death benefits to employees of Illinois state universities, community colleges, and certain other affiliated organizations and agencies. SURS is responsible for investing assets of approximately $22.6 billion in a diversified portfolio across several functional asset classes, as of June 30, 2022. SURS also administers a defined contribution plan, the Retirement Savings Plan, which currently has assets of approximately $3.5 billion (including forfeiture and disability reserve assets), as of June 30, 2022. In addition, SURS offers the Deferred Compensation Plan (DCP), a supplemental defined contribution 457(b) type plan.
Purpose of the Position
The Chief Investment Officer is an executive leadership position that reports directly to the Executive Director with a dotted line report to the SURS Board of Trustees. As the System’s strategic investment leader, the CIO is responsible for directing the management of SURS’ investment portfolio within the goals established by the Board and will have the board organizational responsibilities that generally accompany the position of the senior investment leader. The CIO should be a strong leader that exhibits the values of SURS such as being honest, ethical, trustworthy, collaborative, inclusive and professional. The position serves on the Executive Leadership Team and also supervises the Deputy Chief Investment Officer. The CIO oversees a team of 11 professionals.
Responsibilities of the role.
- Direct the planning, design, and management of SURS Investment Program, in compliance with guidelines, policies, and statutes.
- Provide oversight and direction of the day-to-day activities of the Investment Program.
- Participate and maintain relationships with other institutional investors, investment managers, and advisors to stay abreast of best practices affecting the public pension fund sector
- Review the current organizational model and, if necessary, recommend and implement changes to ensure the appropriate structure, skills and resources exist to manage the complex investment responsibilities of the Investment Division.
- Evaluate the current risk management program and, if necessary, recommend and implement changes to ensure a robust and dynamic capability is in place to ensure risk is controlled across the portfolio.
- Evaluate the current external managers and, if necessary, recommend and implement changes to re-balance assets, and terminate and hire managers to ensure managers and investment mandates align with the investment policy.
- Prepare and present understandable written and oral reports to the SURS Board of Trustees and other stakeholder groups as required.
- Oversee the activities of investment managers, custodial bank and investment consultants.
- Partner with the Board and Executive Director by providing recommendations and education regarding Investment activities and investment related policies.
- Direct and enhance the diversity initiatives of the SURS Investment Program
Experience, Knowledge, and Professional Qualifications
Experience and professional qualifications required for the role.
- Ten plus years’ investment experience with seven of those years in a leadership role leading a complex investment organization and positive track record of performance as compared to appropriate benchmarks.
- Proven experience in developing and implementing the overall investment strategy and vision.
- Board/Investment Committee experience. Must have extensive experience in working with a Board and/or Investment Committee. Must have led discussions on investment topics, strategies, and investment managers. Must have provided relevant investment education to Board members when needed.
- A BA or BS degree in Accounting, Business, Finance, Economics or other relevant field.
- A CFA or other relevant certification is strongly preferred; and/or an MBA from a top institution.
- Public pension fund experience is strongly preferred, however applicants with relevant investment experience leading complex investment organizations will be considered.
- Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). Must have extensive DEI experience to lead efforts both internally and externally.