Continuity is the watchword for Jase Auby, who on Jan. 1 will become the chief investment officer of the sixth-largest U.S. pension fund, the Teacher Retirement System of Texas.
Mr. Auby said that his priorities as the next CIO of the $157.6 billion Austin-based fund will not deviate far from those of his predecessor, Jerry Albright, senior managing director, who will remain at the fund for up to a year as senior managing director and head of global investment initiatives, to oversee large strategic projects.
"We've spent the past two years laying the groundwork for this transition and change is not part of the immediate future. The informal succession (training) started in 2016 when the board approved a succession plan," Mr. Auby said in his first interview since the fund's trustees approved his promotion from deputy CIO at a Dec. 13 board meeting.
Mr. Auby said his priorities for the investment division are:
- An ambitious recruitment drive that will increase the division's headcount to 275 from 150 over a five-year period to strengthen the system's culture and investment capabilities. Over the first year, 27 new employees were hired as part of the system's Building the Fleet initiative and five open positions currently are in the process of being filled.
- Significantly increasing the number of direct investments in private market deals and raising the amount managed internally in public market securities globally. A concentrated focus on technology and operations development will assist staff in this endeavor.
- Pursuing investment innovations such as expanding internally managed risk-parity strategies, engaging more closely with money managers to generate more direct investments and further restructuring of the system's global equity portfolio.
- Adhering to the system's cultural values, known internally as The Texas Way, will continue, including focus on making wise decisions, candor, communication, accountability, transparency and alignment with beneficiaries of the defined benefit plan.
Mr. Auby told trustees after they approved his appointment that "this is truly the opportunity of a lifetime and I am absolutely prepared for it," a webcast showed.