Executive Director & Chief Investment Officer
ACERS, located in Arlington County, VA is searching for an experienced and accomplished investment executive to lead this highly regarded and respected public retirement system.
ACERS was established by the Arlington County Board in 1953 as a defined benefit plan for its employees. Retirement and survivor benefits as well as disability benefits are provided to over 8,300 Arlington County Uniformed and General employees and certain School Board employees. The System is governed by the Retirement Board (Board) consisting of seven voting trustees comprising employees, retirees and appointees by the County Manager and the County Board. There are also three substitute trustees.
The Board and the Executive Director’s primary responsibility is the investment of ACERS’ assets. ACERS essentially operates as an investment committee and the System has no role in determining the size, type, and administration of retirement benefits. Arlington County’s Human Resources Department is responsible for benefits administration. More information on ACERS can be found at
The System’s net position at June 30, 2020 totaled $2.527 billion, an increase of $114 million from June 30, 2019. The System is financially and actuarially sound with a funded ratio of 101.2% as of June 30, 2020. For the past 20 years, the funded ratio has ranged between 90% and 136%; 14 of these years, the System was over 100% funded.
An actuarial valuation of the System is performed annually to determine funding requirements. Current employer contributions are substantial and consistent with the funding guidelines provided for in the Arlington County Code. For the year ended June 30, 2020, the active member contribution rate was 4% of pay for general employees and 7.5% of pay for uniformed employees. The County’s blended contribution rate was 20.9% of annual covered payroll.
The System’s budget is approved by the Board each year. Administrative and Consulting Expenses for year ended June 30, 2020 totaled $2.0 million and Investment Manager and Custodian fees totaled $6.6 million.
The primary objective of the investment of public funds is the adequate funding of retirement benefits at a reasonable and affordable cost. The System’s investment policy seeks to control downside risk exposure while maximizing the potential long-term asset value appreciation.
Under the investment policy, the Board allocates the System’s assets and hires/fires all investment managers. Windmark Investment Partners, the general investment consultant, and Franklin Park, the private equity consultant, work for the Board and with the Executive Director and staff. Both consultants have served the System for many years –
Windmark for over 20 years and Franklin Park for the past seven years.
For fiscal year ended June 30, 2020, ACERS earned a net return of 6.6% compared to the Total Fund benchmark of 5.5%. Fiscal year 2020 performance is above the 3.2% median return of the TUCS Public Plan Universe, placing ACERS in the 9th percentile of public plans for the year. On a 3, 5 and 10-year basis, the System’s performance exceeds or equals the benchmark net of fees and ranks in the top quartile of the TUCS Public Plan Universe.
The System’s investment portfolio is well diversified and strives to balance capital preservation in down markets with generating an adequate risk adjusted return over the long term. The System does not utilize a target allocation approach; the following table shows the current allocation.
Asset Allocation (as of 6/30/2020)
Executive Director & Chief Investment Officer
||Arlington County Employees' Retirement System
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The Executive Director, reporting to the Board and to the Board Chair, administratively, is the central point of responsibility and accountability for the System. The Executive Director’s primary responsibility is the management and investment of ACERS’ assets leading a team of three – Assistant Director, Analyst, and Accountant (part-time position).
The key responsibilities and duties include:
- Ensure operation of the System in accordance with its mission, vision and core values, and state and federal law.
- Advise and confer with the Board on financial, economic, and political trends and developments affecting the System.
- Formulate and make recommendations to the Board, in conjunction with outside advisors, on all aspects of fund management including:
- Investment policy
- Portfolio asset allocation
- Asset rebalancing
- Expected risk and return parameters
- Investment manager selection and termination
- Actuarial assumptions
- Monitor and evaluate investment managers and service providers to ensure compliance with performance expectations, guidelines, and contracts, and resolve issues, as necessary.
- Ensure that proper controls are in place to safeguard assets.
- Negotiate and execute contracts with general partners, investment managers and service providers and coordinate legal review with counsel.
- Develop materials and coordinate trustee education sessions and conferences to support ongoing trustee professional development.
- Establish and maintain relationships with current and potential investment managers, private equity general partners, service providers, and peers.
- Manage the annual reporting cycle, including the preparation of the actuarial valuation analysis and the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report.
- Administer the disability appeals process (~5 cases the past 10 years).
- Attend ACREA (Arlington County Retired Employees Association) meetings (twice per year) to provide a System update and answer member questions.
- Represent ACERS as a subject matter expert and interact with members, elected officials, and other stakeholders, as necessary.
A significant portion of the Executive Director’s responsibilities are internal and investment related. The Board has identified the following Key Objectives to measure, in part, the Executive Director’s performance.
- Manage the assets in a manner and with results that contribute to the System’s continued financial stability.
- Provide the Board recommendations, information, analysis, and alternatives necessary for execution of its fiduciary responsibilities.
- Manage relationships with consultants, investment managers, banks, Arlington County, members, and others in a manner that reflects well on the Board and the Retirement Office.
- Monitor and evaluate service providers to ensure compliance with performance expectations, relevant guidelines, and contracts.
- Work with the Board’s Governance Committee to update the governance policies to a best practices model to strengthen plan governance and administration.
Qualifications & Experience
- Direct the Retirement Office in an effective, efficient, and ethical manner.
- Strengthen the relationship with the County Human Resources Department to ensure ACERS members continue to receive the expected service.
The Board is searching for a strategic investment leader with broad asset class knowledge or experience. A leader with an in-depth understanding of global economics and capital markets, investment strategies and vehicles, the principles and practices of public fund investing, institutional investment operations, and investment policy development is desired.
- Bachelor’s degree in finance, economics, or other related area.
- Minimum five years of institutional investment experience.
- Positive track record of investment returns in excess of appropriate benchmarks.
- Advocate of defined benefit plans.
- Experience managing a diverse workforce, and effectively coaching/mentoring employees.
This is a highly visible position and the Executive Director must understand and respect the requirements of operating in a public environment.
- Advanced degree.
- Public plan sponsor investment experience.
- Experience with a variety of private investment partnership structures.
- Working knowledge of federal and state pension laws.
- Experience interacting with public, corporate, or private boards.
Leadership Competencies & Charaacteristics
The Executive Director must be a confident leader who leads with a participative and collaborative style. As the System’s chief executive, the ideal candidate will embrace public service, have the highest integrity and ethics, and value strong governance.
The Executive Director must be strategic and tactical (willing to do the work). In addition to being intellectually sharp and curious, some other important skills and attributes include:
For additional information or to apply, please contact Hudepohl & Associates, firstname.lastname@example.org or (614) 854-7300.
- Excellent business judgment and strong analytical and problem-solving skills to identify issues and present creative, practical solutions.
- Confidence and courage to put forward ideas and recommendations while being open to adjusting them based on input from others.
- Social and interpersonal skills to build consensus and negotiate compromise effectively.
- Interpersonal skills to engage and build positive relationships with trustees, outside advisors, investment managers, and others.
- Ability to conceptualize and articulate complex financial and investment information in a manner that is tailored to and understood by various groups.
- Poise and presence to expertly represent ACERS.
||This listing expires on: 1/23/2021