CalSTRS Looking to Add Sustainable Portfolio Manager

By Chris Glynn

CalSTRS is searching for a raft of investment personnel, including a portfolio manager for its sustainable investment and stewardship program, two direct private equity investment personnel, a private equity investment officer as well as a risk mitigation investment officer and real estate investment officer, according to the West Coast plan sponsor. 

CalSTRS, short for the California State Teachers' Retirement System, is a $318 billion public pension based in Greater Sacramento metropolitan region, not to mention the largest teacher retirement provider in the U.S.  

The portfolio manager for sustainable investing will report to Kirsty Jenkinson, the investment manager for the sustainable investment and stewardship program. Jenkinson is a Wall Street professional who began her sustainable investment career with Goldman Sachs & Company in 1995.  

She joined CalSTRS in 2019 and is responsible for leading its $6 billion environmental, social and governance (ESG). Christopher Ailman, chief investment officer of CalSTRS credited her with moving the defined benefit system from a focus on “corporate governance to full ESG integration.”  

Becoming a sustainable operation while transitioning to net zero portfolio is an organizational pillar for CalSTRS, according to its March trustee report.  

A month earlier, CalSTRS released its eighth annual sustainable report assessing its internal greenhouse gas emissions in line with its portfolio commitment—including business travel, work-from-home program and onsite energy usage. 

Finding investment talent 

A web page for the defined benefit system listed a plan to add 24 people, listing five investment personnel.  

After adding a sustainable investing program and stewardship program portfolio manager, CalSTRS is hoping to land an associate portfolio manager for direct investing—as well as an investment officer for direct investing—both for its private equity portfolio.  

In addition to adding direct investing, CalSTRS is searching for a private equity portfolio investment officer. Each private equity position would work under Margot Wirth. Wirth joined CalSTRS in 2010 and is director of private equity.  

CalSTRS is also planning to hire an investment officer for its risk mitigation, as well as an investment officer for its real estate, the pension plan said.  

Geraldine Jimenez, the director of investment risk, would supervise the investment officer for risk mitigation. The real estate investment officer would report to Mike DiRe, head of real estate for CalSTRS.