Texas TRS interim CIO appointed permanently to post

The new CIO has been with the pension system for more than 20 years.

The Teacher Retirement System of Texas has promoted within its ranks to replace departed chief investment officer Britt Harris, the pension fund said on Thursday.

The Austin-based retirement plan, which had 12.3 percent of its $138 billion assets in private equity as of 31 March, said it has appointed interim CIO Jerry Albright to the position full-time.

He joined TRS in 1994 and most recently held the positions of TRS Investment Division's chief operating officer and director of investments. He has also served as chairman of the TRS Internal Investment Committee and as the director of TRICOT London, which is TRS's first overseas outpost.

“Jerry has gained an international reputation as someone who understands the quickly changing landscape of the investment industry and how to stay ahead of the curve,” TRS board member and investment committee chairman Joe Colonnetta said in the statement.

Harris stepped down in June after more than a decade at TRS to become chief executive officer and CIO at University of Texas/Texas A&M Investment Management Company, the endowment programme for the UT and UT A&M university systems. He will start his position 1 August.

The pension plan recently reduced its commitment plan to private equity for 2017 due to the high-valuation environment.

TRS expects to commit up to $4.2 billion in private equity in 2017, which includes buyout, growth and venture capital, credit and special situations and emerging managers, down from the $4.6 billion planned for the prior fiscal year, according to materials for TRS's board meeting on 1 June.

So far this year, TRS has committed to funds including Clayton, Dubilier & Rice Fund X, Great Hill Capital Partners VI and Silver Lake Partners V.

One of Albright's tasks will be to focus on TRS's plan to implement the standardised fee reporting template created by the Institutional Limited Partners Association and private audit fee audits to check accuracy of fees, compliance with contracts and support for investment valuations.