John Casey, who pioneered the pension consulting industry with the founding of RogersCasey in 1976, died Saturday of a heart attack. He was 77.
Casey had retired in 2015 from Casey Quirk, the asset management strategy consultant he co-founded in 2002 at the age of 59. Casey, a beloved titan in asset management, was one of the key figures credited with modernizing the investment strategies of institutions and restructuring global capital markets in the process.
People who worked with Casey for four decades describe him as the original influencer. He left his mark on seminal deals that changed the face of the asset management industry, including BlackRock’s 2009 acquisition of Barclays Global Investors and its iShares exchange-traded funds family.
The former college football player and native of Milwaukee lived in Bonita Bay, near Naples, Florida, with his wife Bridget, who survives him.
[II Deep Dive: John Casey, the Billionaires’ Consigliere]
Casey’s links to asset management CEOs and allocators started in 1973 when he worked for Steve Rogers. Casey and Rogers would go on to become partners.
Casey and his wife Bridget both graduated from Wisconsin’s Milton College in 1967. After graduation, they moved to New York where John Casey spent four months in a stockbroker training program. In a 2018 interview with Institutional Investor, Casey said that period was when he got interested in retirement funds. With defined benefit plans at their apex, Casey observed that if a pension fund’s investments did well, the burden on companies and governments to pay their workers in retirement would be lightened. Bridget Casey said at the time, “I’d come home, and he’d have these legal pads spread out in front of him, telling me he was doing a study and had a great idea.”
Casey wasn’t afraid of change. When asked if Casey Quirk could maintain its personality under Deloitte — which acquired the consulting firm in 2016 — Casey said, “That unfortunately is life. People have to learn — and this is what we’ve taught our clients — you have to adapt to change. A bond has a duration, so does a human, and your firm has a duration. If you want to keep extending it, you behave a certain way, and if you want to shorten it, you behave another.”