Colorado PERA vet returns as new CIO

The hire follows Jennifer Paquette stepping down from her post as CIO after more than two decades at PERA.

The Colorado Public Employees’ Retirement Association has hired an old hand to be its new chief investment officer, the Denver-based pension fund said Monday.

Amy McGarrity rejoins PERA after a short stint at William Blair & Company, where she served as a global equities product specialist. Before starting that position, McGarrity served as the deputy CIO for the pension fund under Jennifer Paquette, who retired last year. According to local media, Paquette joined PERA in 1995 as part of the retirement benefits fund’s fixed-income division and assumed the CIO position in 2003.

McGarrity, who will report to executive director Gregory Smith, worked at PERA up until last year. Before her initial stint at PERA, she worked for the Denver Public Schools Retirement System until 2010, when PSRS merged with PERA.

Of the firm’s private investments, 8 percent are allocated to private equity, while 2.8 percent are dedicated to the opportunity funds, which includes tactical opportunities and credit opportunities.

Previous private debt investments include $40 million to Audax Group’s $1 billion Mezzanine Fund III, $50 million to Fortress Investment Group’s $4.3 billion Credit Opportunities Fund III and $50 million to Avenue Capital’s €3.12 billion Europe Special Situations Fund II. Those commitments came out of PERA’s private equity bucket.

In that category, as of 30 June, 77.7 percent is invested in corporate finance, 9.4 to venture capital and 12.8 percent to other investment vehicles, while 0.1 percent are invested in distribution funds. The vast majority, 79.4 percent, are in North America.

The Centennial State pension fund serves 568,000 current and former state troopers, teachers, corrections officers and other public employees, according to the statement.