Ex-OCERS Director of Investments Lands Investment Management Gig

Manhattan West has hired Reginald Tucker as a managing director.

 Reginald D. Tucker (LinkedIn photo)

Reginald D. Tucker

(LinkedIn photo)

Reginald Tucker, the former director of investments for the Orange County Employees Retirement System, has swapped his public pension role for one in investment management.

Tucker, who had been at OCERS for just over two years, has been hired as a managing director at Manhattan West, an investment management firm for family offices and high-net-worth individuals, where he’ll be tasked with building out the organization’s new growth opportunities fund.

“What we’ve seen develop as the venture space has matured is that newer, bigger entrants are really changing the entire landscape of the ecosystem’s later stage,” Tucker said by phone. “At the same time, we’re also seeing a lot of smaller, less well-established funds — many with specific niche-y knowledge of their spaces — that may be too small or too new for many institutional investors and just off the radar for the clients that we serve.” His hope, he said, is that his fund can tap into this underserved segment of the market.

Tucker’s new employer, Manhattan West, was formed in 2016 by ex-JPMorgan executive director Lorenzo Esparza. Esparza was soon joined by two fellow JPMorgan alums, Manhattan West’s managing director Angie Spielman and chief administrative officer Kate Kurz.

“What Lorenzo has been able to accomplish here in a short period has been nothing short of phenomenal,” Tucker said.

Tucker spent the early part of his career on the trading desk, where he was “basically trading every security known to man.” After stints at Smith Barney and Citigroup, Tucker got his MBA in finance from the University of Pennsylvania.

After graduation, he began to raise his own fund, which is how he discovered the world of public pension plans. He eventually decided to get into the public pension world himself and landed a job at Connecticut Retirement Plans and Trust Funds, where he spent three years working as a private equity, hedge fund, and real estate investment officer.

He then joined the New York State Common Retirement Fund, where he served for five and a half years as a senior investment officer for the fund’s absolute return and opportunistic portfolios. This set the stage for his move to OCERS. “It was really there that I was able to start re-engaging with the space and working with the Los Angeles venture capital ecosystem,” Tucker said.

For its part, OCERS is still searching for Tucker’s replacement. “We’re sad to see him go,” said OCERS chief investment officer Molly Murphy via e-mail. “He’s a thoughtful investor and a great person, and he helped shape OCERS’ culture with his breadth of experience.”

Despite Tucker’s move, this may not be the last time that he and Murphy work together.

“While he won’t be with OCERS, he is staying local, so we hope to collaborate as investor peers going forward,” Murphy said.

Tucker was previously recognized by Institutional Investor as a Hedge Fund Rising Star.

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