Paul Doane: Asset Management + Public Service

The call of duty brought the former naval officer and Massachusetts state senator back into public plan sponsorship for an encore.


A former combat naval officer, Paul Doane had retired from a career that included serving as a state senator in Massachusetts and stints at Oppenheimer Capital and Massachusetts Pension Reserves Investment Management before answering calls to become CIO at Arkansas’s state retirement system and then at the St. Paul Teachers’ Retirement Fund. Doane, who retired once more at the end of June, believes in giving asset managers a lot of room to maneuver and in holding state legislatures to their pension-funding commitments.

At a roundtable discussion for the nine winners of the 2014 Institutional Investor U.S. Investment Management Awards, Doane shared some of his lessons learned:

On public pension investment targets

“We have an investment target of 8 percent set by the legislature that I’m sure is laughingly high for people in this room.”

On the industry view of financial risk

“They’re relaxing mortgage lending practices now. How quickly we forget.”

On the challenge of investing public pension assets

“We’re trying to develop greater nimbleness and reaction time, either through board governance or through managers being given less constrained mandates.”

Doane is Top Small Public Pension Investor of the year. For more of his thoughts, read the full roundtable discussion.