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Wellesley Endowment Nabs MassPRIM’s Deputy CIO

Sarah Samuels is leaving Massachusetts’ $67 billion public pension fund after a decorated six-year tenure.

  • Leanna Orr

Wellesley College has hired away the deputy chief investment officer from Massachusetts Pension Reserves Investment Management, which runs the state retirement system, MassPRIM confirmed late Monday.

Sarah Samuels is set join Wellesley’s investment office as a managing director in September, according to an internal MassPRIM memo obtained by II. A spokesperson for the college did not have comment by time of press; Samuels declined to remark on the move.

MassPRIM Chief Investment Officer Michael Trotsky named the fund’s COO and CFO David Gurtz as Samuel’s replacement. A MassPRIM veteran of nearly a decade, Gurtz was a leader in developing the public pension fund’s risk management program before taking over finance and operations in 2015. The organization will search for a permanent CFO/COO replacement, the memo stated, and Gurtz will continue to cover the roles in the interim.

[II Deep Dive: Sarah Samuels, 2017 Hedge Fund Rising Star]

Samuels rose rapidly through the ranks at MassPRIM, with three promotions over six years taking her from an investment officer to deputy CIO of the $67 billion portfolio. Trotsky described her contribution as “truly exceptional,” noting that her “hard work and talents were quickly recognized both internally and externally.”

With the move to Wellesley College, Samuels takes a senior position on a much smaller team and portfolio, while remaining in the Boston area. The private women’s school relied on its $1.8 billion endowment for roughly 40 percent of its operating revenue in the 2016 fiscal year (ending June 30), according to its annual report.

Former Wellesley managing director Kathleen Browne departed in June to become CIO of Denison University. Browne earned $852,301 in total compensation in her final year at the college, Wellesley’s financial filings show.

Trotsky restructured MassPRIM’s staff compensation in 2013 after a swath of departures from the investment team, and has secured further raises since then. US public pensions as a whole tend to pay far less than other institutions, including endowments, foundations, and Canadian public pension funds. Trotsky, for example, earned $539,625 in the 2015 fiscal year, according to the Boston Globe. He serves as both CIO and executive director.