Texas Teachers Pension Hires Executive to Invest With Rising Asset Managers

(Bloomberg) -- The Teacher Retirement System of Texas, one of the largest U.S. public pensions, hired Kirk Sims to lead its program that invests with up-and-coming asset managers.

Sims joins from the Illinois teachers pension fund and will begin on March 1, the Texas Teachers board said Friday in a statement. He ran a similar program in Illinois.

The emerging managers program was launched in 2005 and has invested $5.7 billion since then. Last April, an additional $3 billion was committed for the next three to five years.

The program has invested with 162 managers in private equity, real estate, public markets and hedge funds, and 52 percent of the commitments were to minority and women-owned managers.

The pension, which oversees about $150 billion, selected Sims out of more than 130 applicants, said spokesman Rob Maxwell.

Sylvia Bell, the pension’s chief operating officer, filled the role in the interim after the program’s director departed in 2015, Maxwell said.

Texas Teachers has proposed adding 120 people over five years, enabling it to buy more assets directly, cut external fund managers and slice fees by at least $600 million. The plan would require approval from the state legislature.

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