US - Neil Toth, chief investment officer at the US$64.5bn Ohio Public Employees Retirement System (OPERS), has died at age 43.
In a statement OPERS said Toth, who served a seven-year tenure as CIO, died on Tuesday after a long battle with cancer.
In February, the fund announced Toth’s departure due to medical issues. Jennifer Hom, assistant investment officer for global bonds, was appointed acting CIO and will continue in the capacity until a permanent replacement is found.
Toth joined OPERS in 1990 as an equity analyst and later served as equity sector portfolio manager and assistant investment officer for global bonds, before becoming director of investments in 1999.
OPERS said Toth’s commitment to a long-term investment strategy laid the foundation for the fund’s 12.4% return last year and cumulative return of 41% over the last two years, enhancing the fund by more than US$17bn.
Laurie Fiori Hacking, OPERS executive director, said: “Through his vision, hard work, intelligence and perseverance, Neil shepherded the investment division through tremendous change and growth and, in the process, transformed our investment programme into a top-tier operation. He led his staff to great achievements and excellent performance results.”
During his time at OPERS, Toth altered the fund’s asset mix to include long-term allocations to US and international stocks and private market investments. In 2002, the system expanded its private equity programme and now has more than US$1bn in commitments to US and international private equity partnerships.
Toth also led the fund to establish an opportunistic fund to invest in non-traditional investment vehicles, and guided OPERS to strengthen its internal asset management capabilities.
Toth is survived by his wife Suzanne; sons Colin and Mitchell; his mother, father, brothers and sisters.
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