The New Jersey State Investment Council's meetings are becoming a guest-speaker forum of big names in big finance.
At its March meeting, the council heard from Leon Cooperman, chairman and CEO of Omega Advisors, a New York-based hedge fund, on stock market prospects. Also at the March meeting, Peter Fisher, who recently stepped down as senior managing director and head of fixed income at BlackRock Inc., New York, discussed interest rates and the Federal Reserve. Mr. Fisher is now senior director of the BlackRock Investment Institute.
The idea for bringing speakers to council meetings belongs to Timothy Walsh, director of New Jersey's Division of Investment and chief investment officer of the $72.5 billion New Jersey Pension Fund, Trenton.
“He did this in Indiana,” explained William Quinn, a Treasury Department spokesman, referring to Mr. Walsh's tenure as CIO of the Indiana State Teachers' Retirement Fund, Indianapolis. Mr. Walsh has been the New Jersey Pension Fund's CIO since August 2010.
For New Jersey, “he wanted to take advantage of our proximity to Wall Street,” Mr. Quinn said. ”Everybody on the council will benefit from hearing different points of view.”
Mr. Quinn said Mr. Walsh tries to invite a speaker to at least every other council meeting — there are usually six during the year. Other recent speakers included Stephen Schwarzman, founder, chairman and CEO of Blackstone Group LP, and David R. Kotok, co-founder and CIO of Cumberland Advisors.