Connecticut CIO leaves for Commonfund

Deborah Spalding, who was at the Connecticut system of pension funds since 2013, vacated her post last week.

The chief investment officer for Connecticut’s state pension funds has taken on a new role as a managing director at investment manager Commonfund, according to an announcement on Wednesday.

Deborah Spalding was the Connecticut Retirement Plans and Trust Funds’ deputy chief investment officer from November 2013 to June 2015, according to her LinkedIn profile. She moved up to CIO in July 2015 when then-CIO Lee Ann Palladino resigned after a decade in the role, according to an announcement at the time.

The Hartford, Connecticut-based pension system managed $2.2 billion in real estate out of a total $29.3 billion across Teachers’ Retirement Fund, State Employees’ Retirement Fund, and Municipal Employees Retirement Fund as of June 30, according to its most recent investment report.

Spalding left her CIO role on February 2 and will join Commonfund on February 21, according to the firm. Laurie Martin, who joined CRPTF in October as deputy CIO, was named the interim CIO during the forthcoming executive search.

“We are sorry to see her go, but understand the compelling opportunity presented by the Commonfund,” Denise Nappier, the state treasurer, said in Wednesday’s statement. “As a relative newcomer to the Treasury, Laurie has already demonstrated her capability to pick up the gauntlet and move forward.”

At Commonfund, Spalding’s responsibilities will include providing asset allocation recommendations, overseeing portfolio analysis and managing client portfolio rebalancing, according to the firm. The firm managed $24.3 billion in investments for endowments, foundations and public pension funds as of December 31.

“We are thrilled to welcome Deborah, and her more than two decades of institutional investment management experience, to Commonfund,” Mark Anson, Commonfund’s CIO, said in a statement. “She brings with her tremendous insight into the unique needs of our clients and we look forward to her contributions to the long-term interests of their portfolios and their missions.”

Prior to Spalding’s work at CRPTF, she co-founded Working Lands Investment Partners, a New York-based firm that invests in land. She was also the head of international investments in London for Schroder Investment Management for four years and led institutional investments at Scudder Kemper Investment in New York for four years.

CRPTF’s overall real estate holdings generated a gross return of 11.8 percent in its fiscal year 2016, which ended June 30.