Minnesota State Board of Investment, St. Paul, on Thursday approved adding three investment positions, which would increase its investment staff to 15.
The added staff comes five years after a proposal to hire as many as seven new investment professionals was tabled because of the 2008-’09 financial crisis.
Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton, who chairs the state board of investment, asked if three new staff members was enough given the original proposal. “We will still be thinly staffed, but there’s a concern about how quickly we can assimilate new staff members,” said Laurie Hacking, executive director of the Minnesota Teachers Retirement Association, who presented the request for the three staff members on Thursday.
Mansco Perry III, the board’s executive director, agreed. “It’s much easier to integrate three into our office.”
Ms. Hacking said that if responsibility for investing the board’s $75 billion in assets is split evenly among its current 12-person staff, each staff member would average about $5.7 billion; similar-size public plans average $1.3 billion per investment staff member.
The appointments will be funded by the boards of the Minnesota Public Employees Retirement Association, Minnesota State Retirement System and MTRA, all of St. Paul. The state board of investment manages the assets of the three pension funds.
Separately, the board’s investment advisory committee discussed whether the board should focus more on staff recommendations when approving money managers. Jeff Bailey, who chairs the board’s investment advisory committee and is senior director, financial benefits and analysis, at Target Corp., Minneapolis, said the committee currently meets with all prospective managers responding to RFPs as well as existing managers that offer new strategies. “We looked at whether the board should focus more on staff analysis (of managers) rather than IAC reviews and recommendations.”
Mr. Perry said that the issue would be reviewed in the next two to three years as part of his overall work plan, leading up to the board’s next asset allocation study. “We’re going to take a good, hard look at this issue and at how we operate overall,” he said.