Wanted: chief investment officer for a $3.3 billion pension fund. Challenges: fantastic. Responsibilities: immense. Public exposure: huge risk. Pay: in the $70,000 range.
San Diego County Employees' Retirement Association faces a major problem in trying to find a new chief investment officer. The new CIO will replace Richard N. Rose, who resigned suddenly following shocking shoplifting charges.
Its trustees, with Mr. Rose's keen investment leadership, served to make the fund one of the most innovative investors of any public or corporate fund.
In any situation, the trustees likely would have a tough time finding a suitable candidate to oversee the fund's sophisticated and complex array of investments. It will be harder unless the salary is made more competitive with the institutional investment industry. Mr. Rose's annual salary was $75,005; there was no bonus.
In any successful institution, the organization structure is key, providing controlling checks and division of authority. Nevertheless, a chief investment officer is important to manage the staff, provide leadership and ideas for new directions and serve as a focus of accountability. The San Diego trustees, which are studying how to conduct the search process for a new CIO, should consider what changes they need to make in the position, the management structure and salary before inviting candidates to apply.