New Mexico PERA Names New CIO

By David G. Barry

The Public Employees Retirement Association of New Mexico (PERA) has a new chief investment officer, filling a position that has been vacant for more than a year.

The $17 billion system has chosen Michael Shackelford, who is the director of investments for the North Dakota State Department of Trust Lands.

Shackelford has managed the state’s $7 billion sovereign wealth fund since 2019 and has nearly 30 years of investment management experience. Previously, he served as managing director of Questus Trading LLC and managing partner and CIO of IKM Capital Management LLC. His background also includes stints with Credit Suisse, Invesco and Aegon.

In a statement, Greg Trujillo, PERA’s executive director, called Shackelford “a perfect fit for PERA” and said his “extensive investment background and portfolio management skills will help PERA strengthen its trust fund, develop strategic alliances and expand our portfolio risk management skills.”

PERA has been without a permanent CIO since June 2021 when Dominic Garcia stepped down to become chief pension investment strategist for CBRE Global Investors. Kristin Varela, PERA’s deputy CIO, served as acting CIO over the past year. She will continue as deputy CIO, Trujillo told Markets Group.

Trujillo said EFL & Associates was brought aboard in February to assist with the search. He said a total of 47 candidates applied for the position.

PERA is responsible for a retirement fund for about 92,000 New Mexico state workers and retirees. For the fiscal year 2021-22, it had a return of 4.7% through March. For the fiscal year ended June 30, 2021, it posted a net return of 24.02%.

Its strategic asset allocation includes 35.5% to global equity, 19.5% to risk reduction and mitigation; 15% to credit-oriented fixed income; 20% to real assets, and 10% to multi-risk allocation.