Kentucky Public Pensions Gets New CIO a Year After Its Former Leader Steven Herbert Joined

Steve Willer will be the fund’s third CIO since 2020.

Illustration by II

Illustration by II

The Kentucky Public Pensions Authority has named a chief investment officer and deputy CIO just a year and a half after hiring Steven Herbert.

Steve Willer, who was KPPA’s interim CIO, has been permanently named to the position, succeeding Herbert. Meanwhile, Anthony Chiu, who was director of private equity and alternative investments, has been named deputy CIO.

“KPPA is fortunate to have two such highly qualified investors on staff that can step into these extremely important positions,” said David Eager, KPPA Executive Director, in a statement.

The $22 billion pension fund hired Steven Herbert to lead the fund in January 2021, Institutional Investor previously reported. Herbert left the fund on May 31, according to a spokesperson. He did not immediately respond to a LinkedIn message seeking further information.

Herbert’s appointment came after Kentucky Retirement System’s director and deputy director of investments left for an investment consulting firm, called AndCo, in 2020.

Before they left the organization, Kentucky’s legislative body voted to split its County Employees Retirement System (CERS) from KRS, effectively creating KPPA. Today, KPPA oversees assets for the Kentucky Employees Retirement System (KERS) and the State Police Retirement System (SPRS), while CERS is overseen by a separate board.

Willer joined KPPA in April 2020 as its fixed income division director. Since then, he has worked as deputy and interim CIO, according to the announcement. He previously served as senior portfolio manager and strategist at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. Other employers include Deutsche Investment Management and Invesco Worldwide Fixed Income.

“I am excited to take on this challenging role and continue to build on the team’s success in delivering strong risk-adjusted investment returns for the plans and participants,” Willer said in a statement.

Chiu joined KPPA in August 2016. Previously, he was a v.p. at Presidio Group and an analyst and debt underwriter at GE Capital.

Both Willer and Chiu are CFA charterholders. The two will lead other investment staffers Joe Gilbert, a portfolio manager for the division of public equity, and Jared Crawford, a research analyst.