Pen­sion fund trustees fire in­vest­ment chief

Honolulu Star-Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE - By Kevin Day­ton kday­ton@starad­ver­

The trustees of the $16.9 bil­lion pub­lic work­ers pen­sion fund have fired their chief in­vest­ment of­fi­cer, in­struct­ing him on Mon­day to leave the of­fices of the Em­ploy­ees’ Re­tire­ment Sys­tem and not re­turn, ac­cord­ing to sources fa­mil­iar with the ac­tion.

Vi­joy “Paul” Chat­tergy joined the ERS as an in­vest­ment spe­cial­ist in 2011, and be­came its fourth chief in­vest­ment of­fi­cer late the fol­low­ing year. His salary was $240,000 an­nu­ally.

Of­fi­cials fa­mil­iar with the sit­u­a­tion said some of the eight ERS trustees cited prob­lems with Chat­tergy’s “man­age­ment style” as the grounds for his ter­mi­na­tion.

Chat­tergy did not re­spond to re­quests for com­ment Wed­nes­day, and ERS Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor

Thomas Wil­liams re­fused to dis­cuss the mat­ter.

“I’m not at lib­erty to dis­cuss con­fi­den­tial per­son­nel mat­ters,” Wil­liams said. He added that “things are go­ing ex­ceed­ingly well here at the ERS.”

The pub­lic pen­sion fund pro­vides re­tire­ment, dis­abil­ity and sur­vivor ben­e­fits to more than 122,079 ac­tive and re­tired state and county em­ploy­ees.

The ERS had an un­funded li­a­bil­ity of more than $12.9 bil­lion as of

June 30, 2017, but the state has taken steps to ac­cel­er­ate its con­tri­bu­tions into the sys­tem. The fund’s in­vest­ments posted a

16.1 per­cent gain in cal­en­dar year 2017, and its per­for­mance in the first half of the 2018 fis­cal year has been run­ning ahead of its tar­geted rate of re­turn of 7 per­cent, ac­cord­ing to ERS of­fi­cials.

Chat­tergy is a grad­u­ate of Pu­na­hou School, and has a mas­ter’s de­gree from the Lon­don School of Eco­nomics as well as an MBA from Cor­nell Univer­sity.

Chat­tergy was one of five em­ploy­ees at the ERS who are ex­empt from or­di­nary civil ser­vice pro­tec­tions, and serve at the plea­sure of the board of trustees. The per­for­mance of those em­ploy­ees is reg­u­larly re­viewed by the trustees’ com­pen­sa­tion com­mit­tee, which makes rec­om­men­da­tions to the full board.

His ter­mi­na­tion came as a sur­prise to sev­eral peo­ple fa­mil­iar with the ERS, but those ob­servers did not

want to be iden­ti­fied.

“There’s things you hear about, but I never re­ally talked to any­body about it, and never re­ally thought that it would come down to what you’re telling me,” one per­son said. “I was kind of sur­prised, any­way.”

Chat­tergy has been hon­ored with a num­ber of awards, and was the re­cip­i­ent of a 2017 In­dus­try In­no­va­tion Award from Chief In­vest­ment Of­fi­cer, an or­ga­ni­za­tion de­signed to con­nect and in­form as­set own­ers and ad­vis­ers. His per­sonal pro­file pub­lished at the time of the award cred­ited him with over­haul­ing the pen­sion fund’s in­vest­ment port­fo­lio.

Chat­tergy told Chief In­vest­ment Of­fi­cer that he has friends and fam­ily mem­bers who are both re­tired and work­ing em­ploy­ees within the sys­tem.

“Even if I’m not sit­ting here in this seat, I know that for decades to come, my fam­ily will ben­e­fit from this pen­sion plan,” Chat­tergy told the pub­li­ca­tion. “It re­ally is a unique job for me be­cause the align­ment is so strong with two gen­er­a­tions of my fam­ily devot­ing nearly 100 years of ser­vice to the state of Hawaii.”


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