When Adam Tosh, the former CIO for the Kentucky Retirement Systems (KRS), left the Blue Grass State on a Friday for his new executive role at Darien, Conn.-based Rogerscasey, the approximately 800-mile drive did little to sway him from getting right to work that Monday.
“Rogerscasey has been very accommodative, they have allowed me to hit the ground running and start working,” Tosh said in an interview last week.
Back in June, Tosh announced that he would resign from his lead investment post at the nearly $17 billion retirement plan, a position he has held over the past three years, to join Rogercasey as its new managing director of investment solutions.
At the time of the appointment, Tim Barron, the firm’s president and CEO, explained that Tosh’s “track record as a successful investor across all asset classes” made him a vital addition as the financial services firm continues to build out its business to the plan sponsor community.
This new initiative, according to Tosh, in laymen’s terms translates into a new program for endowments, foundations, plan sponsors and public plans that will allow such organizations to implement a contracted lead investment officer. He simply calls it an “outsourced CIO function.”
“The primary push is to go in and to help or try to help grow that business, and help them evolve into that space,” Tosh said. “[It’s purpose is so that] somebody can come in and handle the day to day aspects that may be some of these organizations haven’t had in the past-or they are looking to make some kind of change because of attrition in staff-or level of sophistication….or that they frankly want to enhance.”
While this new function is set to further expand the firm’s capabilities, Tosh said he was more so pleased with the way he left things back in Frankfort.
“We were able to give the retirement system enough lead time and take steps so that it could get an interim CIO in place, Brent Alridge, so that it wasn’t sort of this quick drop everything and go type of [situation],” Tosh said.
He explained that when he departed; the retirement scheme was left in tiptop shape with an exceptional investment plan and future commitment policy for added alpha.
“We went in and got a lot of loose ends tied up that have been sort of nagging the system for awhile…which were along those lines of rebalancing, and liquidity, so that the system had the dry powder and wiggle room it needed," Tosh said while noting that " any of the contracts and or mandates that were almost put in place were...put in place.”
One recent loose end to bear its ugly head has been an internal audit of placement agent activity with the pension fund and its investments since 2004. While the system maintains that no wrongdoing occurred, it revealed that one perceived impropriety would be Tosh’s relationship with independent middleman Glen Sergeon. According to the report, Tosh had worked with Sergeon during his time at the Pennsylvania State Employees’ Retirement System (SERS).
In a four-year span, Sergeon was able to secure nearly six new investments worth roughly $426 million for “investment managers/general partners (GPs)” vying for business with the plan. He earned nearly $6 million in fees for his services, the audit stated.
Tosh said that Sergeon’s business with the fund was professional. He explained to IMW that the fund used his placement agent services to secure investments with the plan, but this wasn’t always the case. Tosh noted that the plan “turned him down a heck of a lot more than [it] said yes to him.”
Additionally, Mike Burnside, the system’s executive director, reiterated to IMW last week that Tosh’s relationship with Sergeon and the other placement agents used during the period to secure investments all followed the plan’s code of ethics for the middlemen business.
“No campaign contributions have flowed back to local politicians or any of our members, and trustees” that would indicate bad behavior, Burnside told IMW.
Because of this daily dose of the intricacies of the public space, the former fixed-income strategist at MDL Capital Management said this investment acumen helped to land him at Rogerscasey.
“I guess what I’m bringing to this process it to kind of build upon what’s already in place," Tosh said. "And ultimately because…I’ve been CIO for $17 billion public pension plan…It gives me some perspective on managing a portfolio and being an outsourced CIO for an organization.”
While the expected launch of Rogercasey’s new initiative is still unclear, Tosh explained that the firm is “in the thick of it now.” He said it is looking to find its niche in the business and put out a better product than the select competitive field it might face in the long term.
“I know they are out there but I’m not focusing on them just yet,” he said. “I’m really working on trying to make sure that we’re moving our ball as far down the field as possible before I [start to] look over my shoulder.”