Hawaii Employees' Retirement System's CIO 'Sad' To Depart

By David G. Barry

Add the Hawaii Employees’ Retirement System (ERS) to the list of state public pension funds seeking a chief investment officer.
That’s because Elizabeth Burton has decided to leave the $22.5 billion system after nearly four years. During her tenure, she increased the fund about 30% from $15.8 billion. The Allocator, a newsletter, reported that she does not have another job.

Executive Director Thomas "Thom" Williams told Markets Group told Markets Group that Burton submitted her resignation about a week ago, "citing largely personal and family-related reasons for necessary departure." Williams called Burton a "highly valued leader" who has "contributed significantly to our investment program and broader management team.
"We  understand and support her decision. There is no question that she will be greatly missed. That said, we all expect to stay in touch as Elizabeth serves as more than a mere colleague for many she has become a dear friend."

Burton told Markets Group, "I am sad to leave my team. I love them so much. I will miss them like I still miss Maryland." 

Burton joined ERS at 34 years old, after serving as managing director of the Quantitative Strategies Group at the Maryland State Retirement Agency. In that role, she was responsible for its $4.5 billion Absolute Return Portfolio and for risk management oversight of the then $55 billion plan. Her background also includes owning a strategic advisory practice, serving as a senior economist with Criterion Economics, being a consultant at First Annapolis and holding roles with a fund of hedge funds, a risk management firm and a quant-focused fund of hedge funds.

Williams said the pension will "consider all options" in terms of replacing Burton. 
"I am gratified by the recognition that we have a strong and cohesive team of investment professionals here to sustain our progress," he added. 

Burton’s departure comes as another public pension fund, the New Jersey Department of Investment, filled its open CIO position by promoting acting CIO Shoaib Khan.

Other state public pension funds that are still looking to bring aboard new CIOs include the Idaho Public Employee Retirement System, the Minnesota State Board of Investment, the New Hampshire Retirement System, the Public Employees’ Retirement System of New Mexico and the Virginia Retirement System.