NYCRS Names New Chief Investment Officer

By David G. Barry

The former interim chief investment officer for the State of Connecticut has been chosen as the new CIO for New York City Retirement Systems (NYCRS).

Steven Meier, who most recently served as an independent board trustee at Six Circles Funds/JPM Access Multi-Strategy Funds, was named to the post by New York City Comptroller Brad Lander.

Meier fills a role that has been vacant since Alex Doñé stepped down late last year after three years in the position. Doñé earlier this year joined Platinum Equity as a managing director.

In his role as CIO and deputy controller for asset management, Meier will be responsible for overseeing the Comptroller’s Bureau of Asset Management, which manages New York City’s $250 billion pension portfolio. He will lead a team of more than 100 investment and operations professionals.

Meier has more than 30 years of experience in both the public and private sector. For nine months in 2021, he served as assistant treasurer and interim CIO for the Connecticut Office of the State Treasurer Shawn T. Wooden, overseeing the investments of Connecticut’s $40 billion public pension system. Previously, he spent more than a decade at State Street Global Advisors, rising to executive vice president and CIO for global fixed income, currency, and cash management. In that role, he oversaw more than $900 billion in assets.

Meier’s background also includes stints with Credit Suisse, Oppenheimer Capital, Merrill Lynch Capital Markets and Irving Trust Co.

In a prepared statement, Lander described Meier as a CIO “with a strong track record of success, deep experience in asset allocation and investment manager selection, and a sincere commitment to working collaboratively with our trustees and staff to ensure risk-adjusted market rate returns and strong, responsible, long-term performance for our funds.”  

Deputy CIO Michael Haddad has served as Interim CIO since Doñé’s departure. In a prepared statement, Haddad said he was proud of BAM’s “steadfast efforts of maximizing risk-adjusted returns” and that he looks “forward to pursuing the next chapter in my career.” A spokesperson for the comptroller said Haddad has not decided whether he will remain with BAM. 

NYCRS is comprised of five funds, New York City Employees Retirement System (NYCERS), Teachers Retirement System of the City of New York (TRS), NYC Police Pension Fund, the NYC Fire Pension Fund, and the NYC Board of Education Retirement System (BERS). Collectively, the NYCRS funds serve 750,000 members, retirees, and beneficiaries

The search for a new CIO was led by executive search firm Korn Ferry and featured  an advisory committee that included Charmel Maynard, CIO for the University of Miami; Josh Steiner, chairman of Castleton Commodities International LLC; Roy Swan, director of mission investing at the Ford Foundation; and Monte Tarbox, executive director of investments for the National Electrical Benefit Fund.

Candidates for the position were also interviewed by NYCRS system trustees, the first time a broad set of NYCRS trustees have formally participated in the CIO selection process.