InstitutionalTalks is an interview series where industry thinkers share their thoughts and perspectives on a variety of market trends and themes impacting indexing.
Jeb Burns is the Chief Investment Officer of MERS of Michigan, where he directs the USD 15 billion investment program.
Julian Ramirez, CFA, is an Investment Officer and Portfolio Manager at MERS.
S&P DJI: Tell us a bit about your roles at MERS and the individuals you serve.
Jeb: The Municipal Employees’ Retirement System (MERS) of Michigan is an independent, professional retirement services company created to administer the retirement plans for Michigan’s local units of government on a not-for-profit basis. We manage various investment programs for over 900 municipalities throughout the state. We serve more than 100,000 participants, including local firefighters, nurses, and the men and women who plow our roads and keep our communities safe. Total assets for MERS as of June 30, 2021, were valued at USD 15.19 billion, with the defined benefit (DB) portfolio being the largest program, at USD 11.89 billion.
In my role as CIO, I am responsible for the investment management of the plan’s assets. This includes maintaining a successful investment team and culture, recommending and implementing the asset allocation for our investment programs, and regularly reporting to the board and investment committee on investment matters.