Arizona pension fund names new CIO

The $32bn pension fund has tapped Karl Polen, until now head of private markets, to serve as its new investment chief following the departure of Gary Dokes.

The Arizona State Retirement System (ASRS) has named Karl Polen, who since 2010 was managing the pension fund’s private markets portfolio, as its new chief investment officer (CIO), effective March 1.

Polen is succeeding Gary Dokes, who left the organisation on Monday to take on a position as the first chief investment officer of the Arizona Community Foundation, a statewide charity, according to an ASRS statement.

“Karl has demonstrated extraordinary talent in all relevant areas of investment management, including real estate, private equity, private debt, asset allocation, research and leadership,” ASRS’ director Paul Matson said. “With this breadth of experience, I’m confident the ASRS will continue to be a top-tier investment performer.”

Before joining ASRS, Polen spent 30 years in the private financial sector. Previous roles included that of executive vice president at real estate investment firm Pivotal Group as well as senior vice president and chief financial officer at Robson Communities, a developer of luxury retirement gated communities.

Based in Phoenix, ASRS currently has about $32 billion in assets under management, which it invests in public equities, fixed income, real estate and commodities. Infrastructure falls under its private markets portfolio. Although the pension fund has a 0 percent allocation to the asset class, its infrastructure investments, which have been in global developed markets, represented 0.9 percent of ASRS' overall portfolio as of September 30, 2015, the fund's spokesperson David Cannella told Infrastructure Investor in an e-mailed response.