After posting one of the Virginia Retirement System’s “strongest return years in recent memory,” chief investment officer Ronald Schmitz has announced his plans to retire.
On Wednesday, Schmitz told the retirement system’s administration and personnel committee that he plans to step down at the end of 2022, which coincides with the end of his employment contract.
The decision comes after Schmitz and his team posted a 27.5 percent return, net of fees, for fiscal year 2021. The strong performance helped VRS exceed $100 billion in assets for the first time in its history.
“During Ron’s tenure, the VRS Trust Fund has almost doubled in size, moving from $51 billion in 2011 to $101.8 billion, as of June 30, 2021,” board chairman O’Kelly E. McWilliams III said in a statement. “We appreciate his enduring dedication to the fund and commend Ron’s ability to leverage his experience and leadership skills to develop strategies that have enabled the growth of the fund and the maximizing of investment returns while minimizing risk.”
Schmitz joined VRS as CIO in October 2011. Prior to starting his role at VRS, Schmitz worked as CIO for the Oregon Public Employees Retirement System. He also previously served as CIO at the Illinois State Board of Investment and as director of investments for the BlueCross and BlueShield Association, among other roles.
“I am honored to have served as CIO and appreciate the confidence and support the board has provided me over the years, especially during some difficult market conditions,” Schmitz said in a statement. “I would be remiss if I did not also acknowledge the outstanding investment team that has worked diligently for the members and retirees of the system during my tenure. While I am reluctant to leave this outstanding organization, I look forward to the next chapter of life and enjoyment of retirement.”
The fund has hired Korn Ferry to conduct its search, which will begin in early 2022. Once VRS names a new CIO, they will serve alongside Schmitz to “ensure a smooth transition.”