Kumabe HR Finds Investment Officer for Hawaii Employees’ Retirement System

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November 7, 2018 – Following an extensive national search, executive search firm Kumabe HR has placed Elizabeth Burton as chief investment officer of the $16.3 billion Hawaii Employees’ Retirement System, Honolulu. Vijoy Chattergy, who served in the role since 2012, recently left the organization.

“Ms. Burton is dynamic and highly regarded by her peers in the investment community,” said Catherine Chan, chair of the system’s board of trustees’ CIO search committee. “We are confident that she will serve our state and county members, retirees and beneficiaries well.”

Ms. Burton most recently served as managing director of the quantitative strategies group at the Maryland State Retirement and Pension System. Before that, she owned William Street Advisory, a strategic advisory practice she founded in 2013. Prior to that role, she was a senior economist with Criterion Economics and a consultant at First Annapolis, where she worked on mergers and acquisitions transactions as well as consulting. Ms. Burton’s previous positions also include co-portfolio manager and quantitative risk analyst with a South Africa-based fund of hedge funds, a trader of fixed income securities for a risk management firm, and a portfolio management associate with a quant-focused fund of hedge funds.

New Role

As chief investment officer, Ms. Burton will manage the investment activities of the Hawaii Employees’ Retirement System, provide guidance to the board of trustees and serve as a member of the executive/administrative team. She will also be expected to help advance the organization’s investment program by providing vision, leadership and strategic planning necessary for the system to thrive and achieve its goal of sustainability for its stakeholders and beneficiaries.


David Barrett Partners Places CIO at Emory University
David Barrett Partners placed Srinivas Pulavarti as chief investment officer for Emory University in Atlanta. Firm founder David Barrett led the search. Since 2012, Mr. Pulavarti has been president and CIO of UCLA Investment Company in Los Angeles, managing approximately $2.3 billion for UCLA Foundation and its affiliate organizations.


The Employees’ Retirement System was established in 1926 to provide retirement allowances and other benefits to state and county government employees. It provides retirement, disability, survivor and other benefits to more than 135,000 members. The organization’s membership is comprised of retirees, beneficiaries, inactive vested members and active public employees working for the state and counties of Hawaii.

Founded in 2009, Kumabe HR was developed as a response to a tremendous need for executive-level recruitment and human resource expertise in Hawaii organizations spanning the government, non-profit and private sectors. Principal and owner Marie Kumabe oversees the executive recruitment and human resource consulting division. She has 25 years of experience in business, with 15 years specifically dedicated to executive search, human resource consulting and staffing.

Investment Officers

As globalization, change and disruption create opportunities and risks in the investment management sector, the call for seasoned financial talent is growing. Demand for executive-level, “high impact” investing talent has been on the rise, and in the years ahead it is expected to soar. Recruiters say the need for chief investment officers across the asset allocator spectrum, including endowments and foundations‎, and corporate, public and state plans, have significantly increased in number over the last five years as expectations of performance has ratcheted up since the financial crisis.


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“It is no secret that demand for high-quality CIOs across the asset allocator spectrum, including endowments and foundations‎, corporate, public and state plans, has increased significantly over the last five years as expectations regarding performance has ratcheted up post financial crisis,” said David Barrett, managing partner of David Barrett Partnersa boutique specialist search firm which recruits senior and C-level professionals for the investment and wealth management sector.

“Demand for CIOs in alternatives, especially real assets, is on the rise as firms take the lead from investors increasingly seeking assets with lower correlation to the stock and bond markets and higher returns,” said Maria de Rossi, a partner at Odgers Berndtson, who specializes in financial services with a focus on alternative asset management, investment banking and private equity.

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Andrew W. Mitchell, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media



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