San Bernardino hires CEO from Santa Barbara

Gary Amelio will join the $7.6bn retirement system in early May.

The San Bernardino County Employees’ Retirement Association has hired Gary Amelio, chief executive officer of the Santa Barbara County Employees’ Retirement System, as its new CEO, according to a statement.

Amelio will assume his new position at SBCERA in early May. SBCERA’s investments are managed by chief investment officer Donald Pierce, who has been a part of the investment team since 2001.

Prior to leading Santa Barbara’s retirement system, Amelio was the executive director at the San Francisco Employees’ Retirement System and the executive director at the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board, which administers the Thrift Savings Plan for the US government. He has also held executive positions in the banking and insurance industry and has worked as an attorney.

SBCERA and other California pensions including the Orange County Employees Retirement System will commit to a private equity fund of funds platform managed by Pantheon Ventures, Private Equity International reported last month.

The platform will offer flexible private equity portfolio structure for smaller pensions and newer investors to the asset class and a more customized portfolio for larger pensions. Under Pantheon’s management, the platform will reduce fund of funds investment management fees by roughly 50 percent, though the total level of savings will depend on how much the pensions commit each year, according to a statement from OCERS’ March board meeting.

The platform was discussed among a number of CIOs and the outcome was “much better than what the original CIO working group envisioned”, SBCERA’s Pierce said in the statement.

In 2013, SBCERA committed to funds including a mezzanine and debt-focused separate account managed by Ares Management and a distressed fund managed by Santa Monica-based Tennenbaum Capital Partners, according to PEI’s Research and Analytics division.

SBCERA has a 16 percent target allocation to private equity and a 15.5 percent actual allocation as of 31 December 2013. The system has $7.6 billion of assets under management as of 31 December, according to its website.