2014 Top Large Corporate Pension Investor: Robin Diamonte

The CIO of United Technologies was appointed an adviser to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. this past December by President Obama.

Robin Diamonte
Robin Diamonte

Robin Diamonte

When Robin Diamonte was hired as director of pension investments at Hartford, Connecticut–based United Technologies Corp. at the end of 2004, she took on a $13 billion defined benefit fund that had just been converted to a cash balance plan. The 49-year-old Diamonte, now chief investment officer, who also oversees $21 billion in defined contribution and $7 billion in foreign pension assets, sums up her strategy: “Stay diversified, get above-quartile returns, don’t try to shoot the lights out, all with good risk controls.” The pension fund, which has since grown to $24 billion even though it was frozen to new employees in 2010, had at Diamonte’s arrival close to 75 percent of its assets in public equities. It also had a funded status of 83 percent of the assets needed to meet its future liabilities. With an office of five investment professionals, Diamonte, former head of global investments for Verizon Communications, put diversification and risk mitigation programs in place. These include liability-driven investing (which raised fixed income to 35 percent from 15 percent while dropping equities to 45 percent), a portable alpha portfolio and expanded private equity and real estate investments. By the end of 2013, Diamonte had improved the funded status of United Technologies’ pension plan to 98 percent. In December, President Obama appointed her an adviser to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp.