Last December, the approximately $36 billion Texas Municipal Retirement System (TMRS) selected David Hunter as its CIO to fill a role vacated by T.J. Carlson last September to join the Missouri State pension fund as CIO.
Hunter most recently administered more than $20 billion as the executive director and CIO of the North Dakota Retirement & Investment Office. With a mere two months on the job, Alternatives Watch asked Hunter to share a few first impressions.
AW: What has been the biggest change or difference to which you’ve had to adjust so far in your role as CIO at TMRS versus your previous role?
Hunter: TMRS has an incredible team of dedicated, driven and highly skilled investment professionals, which is similar to North Dakota. I have also been impressed with the level of board engagement and investment education topics under review by the TMRS Board.
AW: Currently, what do you consider your number one objective for 2022 as TMRS CIO?
Hunter: Our number one objective is to continue to generate risk adjusted returns, net of fees, which exceed our agreed upon performance benchmarks and in accordance with our Board approved investment policy.
AW: How would you describe your investment outlook/philosophy concerning alternative assets?
Hunter: My investment outlook and philosophy for alternative assets is positive given that TMRS has been successful in identifying compelling investment strategies in growing alternative asset sectors.
AW: TMRS committed billions of dollars to alternative investment funds in 2021. What level of commitments to the class do you envision for 2021? Any specific asset types to be favored?
Hunter: Our alternative investment commitments exceeded $4 billion in 2021 as reported on our website. We will discuss alternative investment commitments in 2022 at our next Board meeting on March 24.
AW: What new alternative assets do you think may have attractive prospects, i.e., Cryptocurrencies, infrastructure, or alternative energy perhaps?
Hunter: Personally, I favor established, institutional grade investments in alternative assets, including those in private real estate and private infrastructure, in addition to private market investments in energy related assets and digital infrastructure.
AW: What was the last book that you read?
Hunter: “The Man Who Solved the Market: How Jim Simons Launched the Quant Evolution” by Gregory Zuckerman.