October 2, 2023

Florida's longtime pension fund manager to step down

Ash Williams, the longtime head of Florida’s pension fund, is retiring at the end of September, with Gov. Ron DeSantis and Cabinet members expected to name an interim replacement next week.

As executive director of the State Board of Administration and chief investment officer, Williams leads an agency that invests money in the Florida Retirement System, along with 25 other funds, and manages the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund.

The agency oversees $252.8 billion in assets, including $199.6 billion in the Florida Retirement System, which provides pensions to state and many local-government workers. Paid $575,000 a year by the state, Williams is required to step down based on his enrollment in the state’s deferred retirement program. His last day is Sept. 30.

The State Board of Administration, made up of DeSantis, Attorney General Ashley Moody and state Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, is scheduled to appoint an interim executive director during a Sept. 21 meeting.

Representatives of DeSantis and Patronis did not immediately respond to requests for comments Tuesday about the interim replacement. Williams ran the state agency from 1991 to 1996, when he left to become president of New York-based Schroders, a global investment firm.

Williams was brought back to the agency in 2008 after serving nine years as a managing director of the New York-based hedge fund Fir Tree Partners. His return came after the prior executive director left following a controversy about downgraded investments in a local-government investment pool.

Tags: News Service of Florida

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