Durham money management firm Piedmont Investment Advisors has been tapped to manage $3 billion in investments for the state pension fund and provide training that will beef up the in-house investing capabilities of the state Treasurer’s office.
The $3 billion allocated to Piedmont, which was announced Tuesday, will be invested in equity index funds. Such funds are designed to match the performance of an index of stocks.
As part of the deal, which the Treasurer’s office labeled a strategic partnership, Piedmont will provide training on managing equity index funds.
“Two members of the (Treasurer’s) investment team will be at, and work with, Piedmont for this training period,” said Schorr Johnson, a spokesman for the Treasurer’s office. Operations and accounting staff also will receive training.
The Treasurer’s office manages investments for the $90 billion state pension fund.
The plan is that, over the next several years, the training received by state employees will enable the Treasurer’s office to bring in-house all of the investment funds allocated to Piedmont.
Piedmont will be compensated for both the training it provides and its investment activities, but details weren’t immediately available.
Piedmont declined to comment on the deal, referring all questions to the state Treasurer’s office.
Piedmont’s total assets under management have more than doubled, to more than $5 billion, with the allocation from the state Treasurer’s office.
Founded in 2000, Piedmont has been ranked as the nation’s 12th-largest minority-owned investment management firm. The firm’s 21-person staff includes 11 partners.
“This partnership with Piedmont gives us a chance to work with local professionals with a good track record as we move to manage more of the pension internally,” Treasurer Janet Cowell said in a statement. “It’s a plus that they’re a diverse, minority-owned firm.”
Data filed with the state Board of Elections shows that six Piedmont employees contributed a total of $4,000 to Cowell’s 2008 and 2012 election campaigns, led by founder and CEO Isaac Green, who donated a total of $1,350 to the two campaigns.
Piedmont was chosen based upon the firm’s “performance record and ability to benefit the state pension fund,” Johnson wrote in an e-mail message. “I cannot comment on campaign contributions as they have nothing to do with the department’s work.”