The California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) has appointed Geraldine Jimenez as Director of Investment Strategy and Risk, confirmed Scott Chan, CalSTRS’ deputy chief investment officer. The new unit was established in May and is responsible for implementing and monitoring CalSTRS’ overall investment portfolio strategy and risk profile.
The new unit’s primary goal is to improve the risk-adjusted returns of CalSTRS’ portfolio through a total fund research and decision-making structure, according to CalSTRS, which has an investment portfolio valued at approximately $233.9 billion and is the largest educator-only pension fund in the world.
According to a CalSTRS spokesman, who responded to questions from IA by email the fund created the new unit because “the evolution of the portfolio into greater complexity saw the emergence of a group to oversee the larger strategic growth of our investments operations.” He added that the first two initiatives for the unit are to oversee the Asset Allocation process currently being carried out and to oversee the implementation of CalSTRS’ Collaborative Model.
Jimenez, who will report to Chan, was previously the portfolio manager leading CalSTRS’ Investment Engagement Unit. In that capacity, she responded to stakeholder priorities and worked with CalSTRS’ Board of Trustees, senior investment team and executive staff to research investment information on external issues such as legislation or environmental, social and governance issues.
“Geraldine has all the right skills and experience to lead this unit. As we bring more intelligence gathering and data analysis function in-house, her understanding of CalSTRS investment needs and priorities means the unit’s work has a substantial head start,” Chan stated in a release. “As we continue to implement the Collaborative Model, this unit will leverage it for the total portfolio.” CalSTRS’ collaborative Model is an internally led approach to engaging in more partnerships, collaboration with world-class investment institutions and direct investing, basically to achieve the benefits of internally managed assets.
The Investment Strategy and Risk unit comprises three components: Total Fund Portfolio Management, Risk Management and Innovative Strategies. Though Risk Management and Innovative strategies are not new to the CalSTRS Investment Portfolio, their combination with Total Fund Portfolio Management allows for a single dedicated team to look at overall risks, opportunities and collaborative partnerships.
“I’m excited to be appointed to a new position that takes advantage of my more than 29 years of pension and portfolio management experience,” Jimenez said in the release. “I’m working with a team that can hit the ground running to build out the overlay and smart rebalancing strategies—in other words developing models that are flexible enough to react to varying market conditions to optimize portfolio risk and return.”
Before joining CalSTRS in 2015, Jimenez spent over 25 years at the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) with substantial time working in the global equity markets and managing the affiliate funds. She is actively involved with the CFA Institute as a chartered financial analyst, as a member of the Standards of Practice Council, and as the past president of CFA Society Sacramento.