Coaker Named CIO of San Francisco Employees’ Retirement System

William Coaker was recently named chief investment officer of the US$ 18 billion San Francisco Employees’ Retirement System (SFERS). He is leaving his role as senior managing director in public equities at the University of California’s Office of the Chief Investment Officer.

The executive search lasted just over two years, and he will be replacing Bob Shaw on January 30, who was SFERS’ interim CIO. Mr. Shaw will be returning to his post as managing director for public markets. Mr. Coaker is returning to SFERS, he was a senior investment officer there from 2005 to 2008.

“I am very honored and humbled to return to SFERS as their Chief Investment Officer,” said Mr. Coaker in a statement. “I look forward to working with the Board and staff to further build an outstanding investment division and to best serve the employees, retirees, and beneficiaries who are relying on the investment decisions we make.”

He declined to comment further via email.

Mr. Coaker joins the SFERS at a time when absolute returns may play a secondary role to environmental impact for some groups.

In the SFERS Board October minutes, Commissioner Meiberger mentioned, “He stated that there is no dispute on the reality of global warming, but engagement and alternative energy technology are part of any long-term solution. Energy stocks provide inflation protection to the portfolio, which needs to be addressed as part of any divestment analysis before he could support divestment. He also inquired regarding staff capacity and the budget for outside consultants if required.”

350.org, a self-proclaimed grassroots movement set to end climate change, and some SFERS retirees prompted the board in October to consider divesting from fossil fuel investments. Fossil fuel companies represent 3.1% of the total plan assets as of August 30, 2013.



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