New York State wants to keep pension system momentum as CIO retires

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Vicki Fuller is retiring after six years as the fund’s chief investment officer.

Fuller will retire as CIO of the New York State Common Retirement Fund next week after helping the pension system achieve a more than $200 billion valuation at the close of the 2018 fiscal year that ended March 31. The state comptroller, Thomas DiNapoli, announced Thursday that the fund’s deputy CIO Anastasia Titarchuk will take over as interim CIO after Fuller departs.

“My thanks go to Vicki Fuller, during whose tenure the Fund has reached a record annual value and provided annualized investment returns that exceed our target rate,” said DiNapoli in a statement. “The Fund is fortunate to have Anastasia Titarchuk, who brings a wealth of experience to the position and has proven her skill and knowledge over her years as our deputy CIO.”

The valuation of the state’s retirement fund rose to $207.4 billion in 2018 from $192.4 billion at the end of 2017. The nation’s third largest public pension fund earned an estimated 11.35% return on investments compared to its 7% long-term expected rate of return. A Pew Charitable Trusts report released in April showed that New York had the fourth most-funded state pension system in the nation at 91%.

Prior to arriving in the comptroller’s office in 2012, Fuller spent 27 years as a managing director at AllianceBernstein. She earned a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Chicago and undergraduate degree at Roosevelt University.

“We have worked diligently to grow the Fund’s investments on behalf of New York’s dedicated public workforce,” Fuller said in a statement. “I will miss our inspiring and dedicated investment staff, but I am proud to leave the Fund in a strong position and secure in the knowledge that Anastasia is a talented and thoughtful leader.”

Titarchuk became the retirement fund’s deputy CIO in February 2015 after previously managing its hedge fund portfolio for four years. The Yale University alumna is a financial services veteran with previous stints at Bank of America, Barclays Capital and JPMorgan Chase.

“This is an exciting opportunity to advance the great work we have performed for the Fund in recent years,” Titarchuk said. “I look forward to continue working with Comptroller DiNapoli and our outstanding staff.”

A DiNapoli spokesperson said his office will consider the possibility of a national CIO search later this year. The Democrat, who has been the state's fiscal watchdog since early 2007, is up for reelection in November.

New York’s healthy pension liabilities level has contributed to the state receiving high investment grade credit ratings. The Empire State’s general obligation bonds are rated Aa1 by Moody's Investors Service, and AA-plus from S&P Global Ratings, Fitch Ratings and the Kroll Bond Rating Agency.

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