Homer Alaska - Business

Story last updated at 1:32 PM on Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Alaska Permanent Fund gets new CIO



By Pat Forgey
Morris News Service - Alaska

JUNEAU — The Alaska Permanent Fund's new chief investment officer will be Jay Willoughby, a New Jersey investment manager.

The announcement was made last Thursday by Executive Director Mike Burns, who also has been acting as CIO of the $38 billion state savings account since previous CIO Jeffrey Scott left during the summer.

"Jay comes to us with experience managing funds of different sizes with different goals and risk parameters, as well as experience working directly with equities and real estate," Burns said.

"Like many of our peers around the world, he is interested in the risk-based asset allocation we have created and looks forward to having it as part of his tool kit for managing the Fund's investments."

Willoughby was among 53 applicants for the job, with the other top finalist being an in-house candidate, Maria Tsu, the fund's equities manager.

Willoughby has most recently worked for an equity hedge fund, Ironbound Capital Management, following nine years at Merrill Lynch Institutional Management, where he was head of equity research and managed a 160-person team, which managed assets of $40 billion for high net worth individuals.

Ironbound was founded by former Merrill managers, but is now in the process of closing down.

Willoughby was originally hired by Merrill to manage a real estate fund, following work with AEW Capital Management, a highly regarded real estate investment trust manager that has worked for the Alaska Permanent Fund.

Peter Naoroz, a former APFC real estate manager who worked with Willoughby in the mid-1990s, praised the decision.

"Jay's a good pick," said Naoroz, now president of Kootznoowoo Inc., the Juneau-based Angoon village corporation.

"He's got a history with the permanent fund, and helped us put together a REIT portfolio that has been a meaningful performance contributor to the permanent fund," he said.

Willoughby told the APFC Board of Trustees that he and his wife were looking forward to living in Juneau. Their children are away at college.

He's originally from Olympia, Wash., and has worked in the Pacific Northwest as well, at Crabbe Huson Co. and Black and Co. in Portland, Ore, doing fund management and stock research.

Scott also was from the Northwest, but never actually moved to Juneau, angering some legislators who wanted to see more of a commitment to the state.

Willoughby is a 1981 graduate of Pomona College in California, and has a Master of Business Administration degree with a finance concentration from Columbia Graduate School of Business in New York.

He will begin work on Nov. 1, and will be paid $325,000.

Pat Forgey is a reporter for the Juneau Empire.

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