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Kentucky Retirement Systems plan nationwide search for chief investment officer

Will manage the KRS’ investment portfolios

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Kentucky Retirement Systems (KRS) plan to launch a nationwide search for a new executive director and deputy executive director of its Investments Office.

Rich Robben, executive director, Office of Investments, will leave KRS effective Sept. 30, along with Deputy Executive Director Andy Kiehl.

Robben was named executive director in April 2019. Since 2017 he had served as interim executive director. His responsibilities included overseeing the fixed income, equity and alternative asset divisions, and serving as the primary advisor to the KRS Investment Committee. Those duties will be taken over by staff in the Office of Investments while KRS conducts a search for a new executive director.

Robben joined KRS in January 2015 from Stock Yards Bank & Trust in Louisville, where he was an investment officer. Prior to that he worked as a fixed income portfolio manager at Deutsche Bank. He began his career with Invesco Ltd. as director of information technology.

Similarly, existing staff will take on Kiehl’s duties heading up the real estate and real return asset classes. Kiehl also will leave KRS effective Sept. 30. Kiehl joined KRS in 2015 after working at Deutsche Asset Management as a director – global fixed income. Prior to that he worked at Invesco US and National City Investments.

“Fortunately, the KRS Investment Committee and staff recently implemented a new investment structure that best meets our plans’ liquidity and risk protection needs, all while focusing on producing excellent risk-adjusted returns,” said David L. Harris, chairman of the KRS Board of Trustees. “With that project behind us, I can assure all of our constituents that our funds will continue to have experienced staff and Investment Committee leadership actively overseeing them while we begin a search for Mr. Robben’s and Mr. Kiehl’s replacements.”

The KRS Office of Investments team includes Joe Gilbert, who oversees and evaluates all domestic and international equity investments; Anthony Chiu, who manages private equity and alternative investments; and Steve Willer, who manages fixed income investments.

The KRS board and investment committee also include a number of members with investment and pension management experience, including Harris, CEO of investment management firm MCF Advisors and C. Prewitt Lane, who chairs the Investment Committee and also is a self-employed financial consultant with prior experience as a managing director at Morgan Keegan and its successor, Raymond James Financial.

Other trustees with investment experience include John Cheshire III, John E. Chilton, Kelly Downard and Matthew Montiero.

As of July 31, 2020, KRS managed $18.7 billion in pension and insurance trust funds for hazardous and non-hazardous state and local employees, and the Kentucky State Police.