Seattle City Finalizes Four Investment Consultants

By Muskan Arora

The $4 billion Seattle City Employees Retirement System has shortlisted NEPC, Verus, RVK and Meketa as the finalists for their investment consultant search. 

The system will make the final selection after the approval of the board at the May meeting.

“Jason [Malinowski] and Leola [Ross] will be doing site visits and operational due diligence of the shortlisted firms with the goal of coming back to the May meeting with two to three finalists for the board to approve,” said the investment committee at last week’s board meeting.

The new consultant will have a ninety-day trial period.

NEPC, the current investment consultant, completes their five-year contract on June 30.

The Request for Proposal, released on January 17, highlighted the minimum criteria, scope of work and licensing among other important requirements.


The document stated that the firm should be a registered investment advisor with the Securities and Exchange Commission, alongside being in the business for five years, and having at least three U.S public defined benefit pension plan clients.

The new consultant will be required to provide investment policy consultation, asset-liability modelling, and structuring, sourcing managers, formulating performance reports, education and training for the board, alongside investment operational consultation.

To stay on top of the ESG requirements, the CIO included a separate questionnaire for ESG which includes diversity and gender disclosures and an in-depth analysis of the ESG practices of the firm.

What now?

As SCRES has chosen four firms out of the seven who responded to the RFP, the investment board will now begin their due diligence process and may “contact one or more references” including those not named by the firm.

After another evaluation, the system will interview the finalists who are invited to bring the primary consultant or “may bring other key personnel named in the proposal”.

SCERS Portfolio

As of Dec 31, the system allocates 44.9% or $1.76 billion to the public equity sleeve against a target of 46% or $1.84 billion within the equity bucket.

Of that same bucket, the system allocates 13.3% or $532 million to the private equity sleeve against a target of 11% or $440 million.

In the fixed income sleeve, Seattle has 15.6% or $624 million allocated to the core fixed income sleeve against a target of 14% or $560 million.

Within the fixed income sleeve, 4.9% or $196 million is allocated to the long-term fixed income sleeve against a target of 5% or $200 million.

Credit fixed income has 6.7% or $268 million allocation against a target of 7% or $280 million.

Under the real assets bucket, the system allocates 11.3% or $452 million to the real estate sleeve against a target of 12% or $480 million.

The system allocates 2.7% or $108 million to their infrastructure sleeve, within the real estate bucket, against a target of 5% or $200 million.

The board will next meet on May 9.