David Okamoto Leaves Hawaii’s Retirement System for a CIO Post

The Hawaii Employer-Union Health Benefits Trust Fund has hired Okamoto to serve as its next investment chief.


Courtesy Photo

The Hawaii Employer-Union Health Benefits Trust Fund has hired a new chief investment officer, poaching David Okamoto from just a few doors down the hall at its Honolulu headquarters.

Okamoto is joining EUTF from the Hawaii Employees’ Retirement System, where he had been serving as an investment officer covering credit markets.

HiERS and EUTF share the same office building, so Okamoto’s move won’t be far.

“He has really proven that he’s a very well-rounded investor,” said Elizabeth Burton, former HiERS CIO, who hired Okamoto for his role at HiERS. “He’s just wonderful. I can’t say enough great things about David,” added Burton, who left last year to join Goldman Sachs Asset Management as a managing director.

At EUTF, Okamoto will oversee $6.5 billion in assets. Kuan Yuan previously held the CIO post for two and a half years.

Okamoto has long ties to Hawaii — he attended high school in Honolulu before studying business at Boston University, his LinkedIn profile shows. He returned to the big island in 2009, interning for the Office of the Governor before joining the Office of Hawaiian Affairs as a senior investment analyst.

He spent five years at OHA, where he was promoted to investment manager and acting chief investment officer. He oversaw the OHA investment transactions program and the Native Hawaiian Public Land Trust Fund.

He left in 2015 to join the Bank of Hawaii, serving as a vice president and senior portfolio manager. He was hired by Burton to work at HiERS in 2019. At HiERS, Okamoto worked to bring niche investment opportunities to leadership, including litigation finance and other private equity strategies, according to meeting documents.

“He is a very thoughtful investor,” Burton, said. “He looks in unique corners for unique opportunities.”

Okamoto serves as the secretary for the CFA Society of Hawaii.