Iowa Pension Appoints New CIO

Former chief risk officer Sriram Lakshminarayanan will replace Karl Koch as the investment chief for IPERS.

Iowa Capitol in Des Moines IA (Rachel Mummey/Bloomberg)

Iowa Capitol in Des Moines IA

(Rachel Mummey/Bloomberg)

The Public Employees’ Retirement System of Iowa has tapped Sriram Lakshminarayanan as its chief investment officer.

Effective January 7, Lakshminarayanan, who previously served as the chief risk officer of the $43 billion pension plan, will replace former CIO Karl Koch, who retired in December.

Lakshminarayanan is responsible for establishing a $500 million liquid hedge fund/CTA overlay program at IPERS and designing a $300 million “alternative risk premia program,” according to a Tuesday press release. As CRO, Lakshminarayanan managed risk and investments in public and private equities, fixed income credit, hedge funds, and real assets.

Starting in 2017, Lakshminarayanan spearheaded a sweep of the pension’s public markets portfolio, pitting existing managers against new applicants. The initiative was part of an effort to rid the portfolio of active managers who hugged passive benchmarks and increase the amount of active risk in the fund’s portfolio, Institutional Investor previously reported.

In 2018, Lakshminarayanan received recognition for the effort in II’s Allocators’ Choice Awards. ACA finalists are chosen based on nominations submitted by industry peers and vetted by II’s editorial team. Lakshminarayanan was nominated for “Technology User of the Year” for revamping IPERS’ manager selection process using advanced quantitative tools.

“During his seven years on IPERS’ investment team, Sriram has demonstrated an ability to think creatively and to develop and implement innovative programs, all while focusing on IPERS’ fiduciary responsibility to its members,” Greg Samorajski, IPERS’ chief executive officer, said in a statement.

Before joining IPERS in 2014, Lakshminarayanan worked as a director of portfolio management at MCUBE Investment Technologies in Princeton, New Jersey and Plano Texas.