Illinois State Board names CIO

The pension system also picked two real estate partners for its core and non-core holdings.

The Illinois State Board of Investment has promoted its deputy executive director to chief investment officer, according to a statement last week.

Johara Farhadieh has worked at the pension system since September 2007, when she joined as a portfolio officer, according to her LinkedIn profile. Most recently, she served as deputy executive director starting in March 2016. Prior to her time at ISBI, Farhadieh was a valuation analyst at Hilco Appraisal Services in Northbrook, Illinois.

At its meeting last week, ISBI also named two firms as strategic partners for its real estate program. Both firms replace ISBI’s former real estate consultant, Courtland Partners, which resigned from its account at the end of last month after advising the pension plan for nine years.

The pension system allocated its core assets and 50 percent of its non-core assets to Rock Creek Group, the Washington, DC-based investment and advisory firm that is majority-owned by Wells Fargo Asset Management. ISBI has worked with Rock Creek since April 2015, when the pension system gave the advisor a $100 million mandate to invest in emerging managers, according to ISBI’s website.

ISBI brought in Hamilton Lane Advisors as its other strategic partner, allocating half of its non-core assets to the Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania-based alternative investment management firm. The pension system gave the firm a $750,000 annual contract for private equity consulting last August, according to ISBI’s website.

“Our goal is to maximize the full potential of each of our strategic partnerships to better serve our beneficiaries and plan participants,” Farhadieh said in a statement. “Through these discretionary relationships, we will further enhance returns, eliminate inefficiencies and better delegate responsibilities among ISBI board and staff members.”

The pension system had $1.2 billion invested in real estate as of June 30, 2016, with 65 percent of the portfolio in core real estate, according to its most recent investment report. Real estate returned 12 percent in the year ended June 30, beating its 10.8 percent benchmark.

ISBI’s overall $15.6 billion portfolio returned -0.8 percent in the 2016 fiscal year, below its 0.7 percent benchmark.