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PA PSERS CIO Wins International Public Pension Management Award

For Immediate Release  

December 13, 2019

For More Information Contact:
Steve Esack
Press Secretary
Public School Employees’ Retirement System
Phone: 717-720-4770


International Public Pension Management Award

HARRISBURG, PA – Jim Grossman, Chief Investment Officer of the Pennsylvania Public School Employees Retirement System, won an international award for innovation and leadership in public pension management at a ceremony Thursday night in New York City.

The 2019 Industry Innovation Awards – referred to as the “Oscars of asset management” -- recognize chief investment officers, managers and firms for their financial stewardship of institutional funds. The awards, now in their tenth year, are sponsored by Chief Investment Officer (CIO) Magazine, a trade publication covering public and corporate pension plans, endowments, foundations, healthcare capital pools, and sovereign wealth funds.

Grossman, 53, a central Pennsylvania native and Elizabethtown College graduate, accepted the  CIO Innovation Award in the category of “Public Defined Benefit Between $20 billion-$100 Billion” on behalf of PSERS.

“I’d like to congratulate Mr. Grossman and the entire PSERS team for this tremendous award,” said Melva S. Vogler, chair of the PSERS Board of Trustees. “It is a testament to their fiduciary commitment and PSERS efforts to recruit and retain a team of highly credentialed and experienced investment professionals who work hard to achieve investment returns with a keen eye to market volatility and risk.”

In selecting PSERS over four other funds, CIO Magazine touted Grossman’s leadership roles in helping the Harrisburg-based fund “battle back from a funding crisis,” which was caused by the Great Recession’s investment losses, unfunded enhanced benefits and 15 years of underfunding. CIO touted Grossman’s resolve to build PSERS internal investment team to manage more assets inhouse, which saves money on outside management fees.

CIO also called Grossman a  “thought leader among allocators” for PSERS’ early embrace of risk parity concepts across the entire $59.1 billion fund. It is an investment  management concept that reduces stock market volatility hazards by moving away from an equity-centric portfolio in favor of a more diversified portfolio of different asset classes. Diversification helps protect retirement benefits from market whims while still meeting or exceeding the System’s 7.25% earnings assumption over the long term.

“This award is really a team effort that shows the commitment and dedication of all the professionals in the Investment Office and I’m just the guy who got to accept it on behalf of everyone at PSERS,” said Grossman, CIO since 2014. “Still, the honor would not be possible without the support of our Board of Trustees and Executive Director Glen Grell.”
Added Grell: “Jim’s just being modest. This award demonstrates how the public pension investment profession -- like teaching – remains a human endeavor that requires thought, care and intellect to ensure the benefits of our hardworking school employees.”

For FY 2018-19, PSERS’ investments added $3.6 billion in net investment income to the Fund.  The funded ratio increased by nearly 3.00% from 56.5% to 58.1% during FY 2018-19.  PSERS’s net-of-fee returns for the reporting periods ending Sept. 30, 2019 were: 8.10% over 3 years; 6.42% over 5-year; 8.32% over 10-years; 8.04% over 25 years; and 8.17% over 30-years.

About Jim Grossman:
Age: 53
Reared: New Cumberland, Cumberland County
Current Residence: Silver Spring Township, Cumberland County
Personal: Married, two children.
Education: Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting from Elizabethtown College, 1989; Certified Public Accountant, 1991; Chartered Financial Analyst, 2005.
Career: KPMG, 1989-1997; PSERS, 1997-Present.

About the Pennsylvania Public School Employees’ Retirement System

PSERS, founded in 1917, began operations in 1919 to oversee a statewide defined benefit pension plan for public school employees. PSERS’ role expanded upon the passage of Act 5 of 2017 to include oversight of two new hybrid options consisting of defined benefit and defined contribution (DC) components and a stand-alone DC plan. PSERS membership covers about 256,000 active and 237,000 retired school employees.