New York State Insurance Fund Seeks Leader for New Alts Group

By David G. Barry

The New York State Insurance Fund (NYSIF) is poised to dip its toes into alternative assets.

According to a job posting on Trusted Insight, the fund is seeking “a seasoned investment professional to spearhead its initial foray into alternative assets.”

NYSIF, which has $20 billion of assets under management, said it expects the focus to include private equity, real estate and private credit. NYSIF listed the opening for a private markets portfolio manager on July 20 and said it is accepting applications through August 20. The salary is listed at between $250,000 and $300,000.

In its ad, the NYSIF said the portfolio manager will assist with the design and implementation of a strategy for private-market assets, real assets, and other alternative asset classes for the fund. The person selected will also identify and analyze investment opportunities, actively monitor all alternative asset holdings, and assist with asset allocation, especially as it relates to sub-asset classes.

Perhaps gearing up for this move, the NYSIF earlier this year sent a letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission supporting the SEC’s proposal to strengthen private funds regulation – a proposal which would provide investors greater transparency into fees, expenses and fund performance.

A spokesperson for NYSIF did not immediately return an inquiry on how much the fund is seeking to invest in alternatives. NYSIF consists of two separate funds: the Workers’ Compensation Fund and the Disability Benefits Fund. The Workers Compensation Fund insures employers against occupational injury and disease suffered by employees, while the Disability Benefits Fund insures against disabling off-the-job sickness or injury sustained by employees.

Gregory Francis has been chief investment officer of the fund since 2015. A bio on the NYSIF site said Francis has “spearheaded the development and execution of a multi-asset class program consisting of internally and externally managed assets.”   

NYSIF was created in 1914 to guarantee the availability of workers’ compensation and disability insurance with the lowest possible cost to New York employers while maintaining a solvent fund. NYSIF competes with other carriers and serves as a guaranteed source of coverage for employers who cannot secure coverage elsewhere.