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When Monroe, Louisianabased telecommunications company CenturyLink bought Qwest Communications International in 2011, it got a bonus: Qwest Asset Management Co., a Denver-based in-house investment management operation with a long history and a well-known CIO, Kathleen Lutito. That year Lutito took over the management of the merged companys three separate pension plans, each with its own money managers, investment policy, strategy and custodian bank. After hiring one custodian bank for the trio of defined benefit plans, Lutito started implementing a single liability-driven strategy for them. Separately, she integrated six 401(k) plans that had a total of about $5 billion in assets.
Lutito had her hands full. Before the Qwest purchase CenturyLink had outsourced the management of its $4 billion in pension assets. Qwest brought an additional $8 billion in assets. Lutito asserts that her team of 15 in-house investment professionals, now operating as CenturyLink Investment Management Co., can bring significant cost savings and other advantages. Weve been successful for two reasons, says the 49-year-old, who earned an MA in finance from the University of Colorado Denver and has been in her current role since 2006. We have a dedicated and talented team with an average of 18 years of experience. We also have a good governance structure, with support from senior management of the company. Before joining Qwest in 1997, Lutito was a fixed-income portfolio manager at Denver Investment Advisors and, for six years, a trader and stock analyst in the investments department of the Colorado Public Employees Retirement Association. Julie Segal