Big Pension Plans Opening Wallets to Attract Talent


When it comes to recruiting investment professionals, public pension funds rarely have the resources to compete with the lucrative pay packages found on Wall Street.

But two of the country’s largest public funds decided recently to open their wallets in a bid to bring high-level investment talent to their side.

The New York City Retirement Systems and the Florida State Board of Administration decided this year to re-write their compensation plans to allow for higher salaries and more attractive incentives.

From Pensions & Investments:

[The two funds] devised the pay programs as a result of compensation studies showing that the plans’ fared poorly among similar-size public plans.

“While we can’t compete with Wall Street, we have to be in the ballpark when it comes to our public pension peers,” said Scott Evans, chief investment officer of the $163.4 billion New York City Retirement Systems. City pension officials have lamented for many years that investment staff salaries were too low.

Armed with those results, Comptroller Scott Stringer, the sole trustee of the pension system, and Mr. Evans, had to convince the trustees at each of the five pension funds within the city’s system to approve a new payment system. In a few months, Mr. Evans and some 40 other investment professionals in the comptroller’s office will get pay raises.


Public pension plan pay was enhanced in June when the Florida State Board of Administration, Tallahassee, adopted an incentive compensation plan for Ashbel C. Williams Jr., executive director and chief investment officer, and 61 other investment staff members. The board administers the $150.4 billion Florida Retirement System.

The plan, which took effect July 1, measures staffers’ performance against three levels of benchmarks. Incentive compensation is paid at different rates for different levels of investment responsibility.

Pension360 follows public pension staff compensation closely; check out our pension salary database here.


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