Korn Ferry Leading Chief Investment Officer Search for South Carolina Retirement System Commission

August 9, 2016 – Executive search and leadership solutions provider Korn Ferry has been retained by the South Carolina Retirement System Investment Commission to lead its search for a chief investment officer. Hershel Harper Jr. resigned as CIO last September. Geoffrey Berg, an internal managing director and head of public markets, has been serving as acting CIO. A decision on a permanent CIO is expected as early as next month.

The Commission’s CIO reports directly to the CEO with respect to all major developments in the fund’s  investment portfolio and activities relating to the investment office. The position also researches and develops recommendations for the organization’s board regarding long-term investment policies and guidelines governing the investments of the fund through RSIC’s annual five-year investment plan. Through this plan, the CIO makes recommendations to the RSIC with respect to the Fund’s overall investment policy guidelines, asset allocation and cash management practices.

The CIO also manages day-to-day investment activity and multiple outside investment managers, consultants and advisors, formulating long-term investment policies and strategies, making recommendations to the board and implementing approved policies and strategies.

Professional Experience / Qualifications

  • Minimum 10 years of relevant investment experience with a pension plan, foundation / endowment, trust organization, investment banking firm, asset management firm or financial consulting firm, with responsibility for the formulation and / or implementation of investment policy for substantial portfolios utilizing all major asset classes (e.g., stocks, bonds, real estate, private equity, etc.);
  • Strong investment track record. Strong performance must be measured against appropriate benchmarks;
  • Superior intellectual capacity, a natural leader, and able to enhance the current investment management organization. The incumbent will also have to be a visionary and a strategic thinker. The ideal candidate will have a passion for excellence and the desire to have a significant impact on the organization.

The South Carolina Retirement System Investment Commission (RSIC) is responsible for investing and managing all assets of the South Carolina Retirement Systems. RSIC is a seven-member commission, including the state treasurer, the director of the Public Employee Benefit Authority (PEBA), and a retired member of the systems.

According to recruiters specializing in the function, demand for executive level, “high impact” investing talent has been on the rise; that demand is expected to soar in coming years. But recruiters say these roles can be generally difficult to develop and ultimately fill for clients, given their multi-disciplinary and evolving nature. In fact, impact investing roles are new to many organizations, they report.


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Korn Ferry’s structured global impact investing team draws upon its expertise in a number of areas, including non-profit, social enterprise, philanthropy, financial services, energy, education, healthcare, real estate, technology, public-private partnerships, CEO, boards, leadership development, and succession planning. The firm recently recruited Bryan Lewis as chief investment officer of the Pennsylvania State Employees’ Retirement System (SERS) as well as Scott Davis as CIO of The Indiana Public Retirement System.

“It is no secret that demand for high quality CIO’s across the asset allocator spectrum, including endowments and foundations‎, corporate, public and state plans, has increased significantly over the last five years as expectations regarding performance has ratcheted up post financial crisis,” said David Barrett, managing partner of David Barrett Partnersa boutique specialist search firm which recruits senior and C-level professionals for the investment and wealth management sector.

Mr. Barrett’s firm recently recruited Jack Mahler as the first CIO of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. The Bethesda, MD-based foundation has more than $3.65 billion in investment assets, according to financial statements.

“Demand for CIOs in alternatives, especially real assets, is on the rise as firms take the lead from investors increasingly seeking assets with lower correlation to the stock and bond markets and higher returns,” said Maria de Rossi, a partner at Odgers Berndtson, who specializes in financial services with a focus on alternative asset management, investment banking and private equity.

Contributed by Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor, Hunt Scanlon Media

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