September 26, 2023
Public Safety Personnel Retirement System
State of Arizona
Contact: Christian Palmer
PSPRS CIO Mark Steed named Innovator of the Year
Chief investment officer’s portfolio risk research results in honor from financial media outlet
ARIZONA – Mark Steed, chief investment officer of the Public Safety Personnel Retirement System, was named Innovator of the Year at the 2023 Allocator’s Choice Awards event hosted by the media outlet Institutional Investor.
Steed was among six nominees eligible to receive the award that recognizes creativity, problem solving or unique approaches to portfolio management. His comparison research into portfolio investment performance and resulting contribution rate volatility that led PSPRS to adopt a more opportunistic investment strategy was cited as reason for the honor.
“Mark’s vision and actuarial cash flow projections modeling prompted changes to the investment portfolio that will benefit our retirement plans for years to come,” said PSPRS Administrator Mike Townsend. “He’s dedicated to our mission and it’s great to see him receive this recognition on a national stage.”
Steed started with PSPRS in 2007 as an investment intern and served an instrumental role in transforming the pension’s once traditional stock-heavy portfolio into a modern, highly-diversified portfolio built to withstand market volatility and crashes while delivering returns across long time horizons.
Named among U.S. public pensions’ “Rising Stars” by Money Market Intelligence in 2013, Steed successfully managed all PSPRS portfolio asset classes prior to being named chief investment officer after a nationwide search in 2018.
Trustee Harry Papp, who serves as chair of the PSPRS Investment Committee and manages a private investment firm, congratulated Steed on receiving the Innovator’s Award from Institutional Investor.
“Mark transformed the PSPRS investment portfolio when stock markets were soaring and a lot of people didn’t understand why a pension needs to diversify to protect its members and employers,” said Papp. “This well-deserved award honors his insight and the extent of his ongoing efforts to lead his team to protect the future of this trust for plan members and retirees.”
Under Steed’s leadership of the investment team, the PSPRS trust has grown to more than $20 billion from less than $10 billion. Investment income and additional employer contributions helped plan assets grow at a faster rate than any large U.S. pension in 2022 and 2021, according to Pensions & Investments magazine.
The PSPRS trust combined with the Corrections Officers Retirement Plan (CORP) and the Elected Officials Retirement Plan (EORP) provides retirement, disability and survivor benefits to about 60,000 retired and active members.
PSPRS is governed by a nine-member board consisting of four members of PSPRS-managed retirement plans and five civilians who meet stringent requirements for financial, investment and business expertise.