State of Wisconsin Investment Board Seeks to Fill Key Role

By David G. Barry

The State of Wisconsin Investment Board is seeking to fill the position that Edwin Denson held prior to becoming SWIB’s executive director and chief investment officer in April 2021.

SWIB has retained Boston-based Broad Street Consulting Group to oversee the search for a head of asset and risk allocation. The position has been vacant since Denson’s promotion. The executive director and CIO role became open following the passing of David Villa, who had held the role for some 15 years.

Vicki Hearing, a SWIB communications manager, tells Markets Group that the “hiring process will continue until we find the right candidate.” She did not say how long the search has been ongoing.
The selected person would report to Denson.

It is worth noting that the person who held the job prior to Denson, Scott Anderson, also has gone to be a CIO. Anderson was in the role for five years before becoming managing director of corporate development at American Family Insurance in October 2018. He became CIO of North Dakota Retirement and Investment Office in January.

According to the job posting, the Asset & Risk Allocation (ARA) division is responsible for the overall investment structure of the two funds that SWIB manages: the Core Retirement Trust and the Variable Retirement Trust. SWIB ended 2021 with $147 billion in assets, with $136 billion in the Core fund – one of the few fully funded public pension funds. SWIB invests on behalf of 652,000 individuals and 1,500 Wisconsin employers.

ARA, according to the posting, recommends and implements the asset allocation for the policy portfolio and the active risk budget. ARA also drives and supports the exposure management process for making investments at the “top of the house,” including macro-driven asset class, market, and currency positioning and the up-scaling of select bottom-up investment opportunities. The division is currently composed of 19 individuals with an average of 15 years of relevant experience.

The head of ARA’s essential activities include developing, recommending and implementing asset allocation policy; monitoring capital market conditions, and maintaining valuation models used to support the exposure management process for tilting and managing the active risk of the plan; portfolio implementation; financing and collateral management; oversight for all investment funds managed by SWIB outside of the pension and cash fund assets; and team leadership and communication.

SWIB is seeking someone with 15 or more years of experience with an investment manager, such as an asset management firm, hedge fund or pension, and 10 years leading high-functioning teams. They also should have an advanced degree, a CFA and/or FRM and possess a “deep understanding” of quantitative analysis and computational techniques.

The posting is here: