First Round: Golden moments

Much rejoicing in the Golden State in December, after The California State Teachers’ Retirement System became the first pension plan to make Pensions & Investments list of the top 25 places to work in money management, which is based purely on feedback from employees.

Now anyone who’s ever visited CalSTRS’ Sacramento HQ will know that it’s not exactly the Googleplex. Yes, it’s certified LEED Platinum (*knowledgeable real estate face*), but First Round would argue that’s not necessarily going to get staff out of bed in the morning. What’s more, the giving and receiving of perks is a bit of a no-no in pension land, especially in California (ahem). So it’s particularly impressive that CalSTRS has made the list.

In the pension’s press release extolling its achievement, CIO Chris Ailman also highlighted the pension’s “first rate café, along with wellness programs and amenities for those who choose to bicycle into the office” (this apparently includes letting employees have bikes that they can ride along the nearby riverfront).  Have some of that, CalPERS.

Just to compound First Round’s delight, there were also three industry firms in the top 25: The Blackstone Group, Hamilton Lane and Abbot Capital Management. The former’s staff apparently praised the firm’s “real open door policy”, as part of which Steve Schwarzman will apparently return any call from anyone who works for him within 24 hours. All this, and there are basketball courts too. Slam dunk, as our American chums say.