Idaho Public Employee Retirement System Goes In-House for New CIO

By David G. Barry

After six months of searching, the Idaho Public Employee Retirement System board has found its next chief investment officer in the building.

Richelle Sugiyama, a PERSI investment officer, was tapped to replace the retiring Bob Maynard, who has led the $21 billion plan since 1992. Korn Ferry oversaw the search.

In a statement, board Chairman Jeff Cilek said that the PERSI board is “excited” that Sugiyama has accepted the role, especially given that she’s been “heavily involved with our investment portfolio for many years.”

Cilek added that Maynard “leaves behind a stellar track record as well as very big shoes to fill, and we are confident Ms. Sugiyama will help keep PERSI on the right track."

Sugiyama previously served as the interim manager of investments for the State of Idaho Endowment Fund Investment Board (EFIB), senior associate at Dorn, Helliesen & Cottle, Inc. and portfolio manager and operations manager at D.B. Fitzpatrick & Co., Inc.

For the fiscal year ended June 30, PERSI reported a negative 9.5%, beating its benchmark of negative 13.1%. It was the fourth-worst return in the pension fund’s history, besting only 1970, when it had a loss of 15.4%, and 1974 and 2009, when the system was down 16%. In contrast, for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2021, PERSI had a 27.6% return.

PERSI joins the growing list of state public pension plans that have named new CIOs in 2022. The list includes the New Hampshire Retirement System (NHRS), Minnesota State Board of Investment (SBI), Kentucky Public Pensions Authority (KPPA), the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS), the Washington State Investment Board (WSIB), the New Jersey Division of Investment, the State of Rhode Island, the Virginia Retirement System (VRS), the Public Employees Retirement Association of New Mexico (PERA), and the Mississippi Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS).

PERSI joins KPPA, WSIB, New Jersey Division of Investment and PERS in opting for a CIO already on staff.
The appointment means the list of state public pension funds actively seeking a new CIO drops to four: the Pennsylvania Public School Employees’ Retirement System, the Employees’ Retirement System of the State of Hawaii, the North Dakota State Department of Trust Lands, and the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System.