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Mass. state pension board taps Eric Nierenberg to be senior investment officer

The Massachusetts state pension board announced that it has hired that Eric R. Nierenberg as senior investment officer, overseeing hedge fund strategies, filling one of several vacant posts.

Nierenberg holds a Ph.D. in business economics from Harvard University and is a former portfolio co-manager at Lee Munder Capital Group. He currently teaches two graduate finance courses at Brandeis University.

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Michael Trotsky, executive director of the $50 billion pension fund for state and municipal workers, called Nierenberg “uniquely qualified” to oversee the fund’s hedge fund assets, with expertise in quantitative management. He is expected to start the job in December.

Trotsky has been struggling to fill a number of empty slots at the Pension Reserves Investment Management Board and recently took on a dual role himself – that of investment chief. It’s unusual for one person to hold both the top jobs at the pension board. Trotsky, a former hedge fund manager, has said he believe hiring would become easier once the investment chief’s job was filled and the uncertainty around leadership at PRIM eased.

Hedge funds make up about 10 percent of the portfolio, or nearly $5 billion. The state needs more direct oversight of the sector because it’s moving away from the fund-of-funds model – where a middleman charges a fee to invest across a number of funds – and instead hiring hedge funds directly, with the help of a consultant.

Beth Healy can be reached at bhealy@globe.com.
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