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Type of Role: Investments

Experience Level: Managing Director/CIO

Location: Tacoma, Washington

Salary: $173K - $244K

The City of Tacoma is looking for a highly qualified Chief Investment Officer (CIO) to provide investment leadership and guidance for the Tacoma Employees’ Retirement System’s (TERS) asset portfolio. The ideal candidate will be an exemplary collaborative partner with experience in financial sustainability.  The CIO must possess a strong understanding of asset allocation, risk management, and investment policy guidelines.

Retirement System Director: Leading Excellence in Pension Administration
Join our team as a Retirement System Director and play a pivotal role in further establishing our vision of a high-performing government. This executive-level position offers you the chance to spearhead the administration of the Tacoma Employees’ Retirement System (TERS) overseeing precise pension plan administration, member services, and regulatory compliance. Your strategic influence will extend to robust investment oversight, where you’ll collaborate with seasoned investment advisors, implementing judicious policies for our significant $2.1 billion portfolio. Your trusted leadership will guide financial management, ensuring the prosperity of our members’ financial futures.

About the Position
The Retirement Director is appointed with confirmation by the City Council and reports directly to the TERS Board. The Retirement Director is responsible for advising the TERS Board on matters related to policy; analyzing and reviewing the pros and cons of policy issues with the Board; developing, designing, formulating, and implementing departmental policies and procedures to streamline and enhance the operation of the Retirement System and implement those policies established by the Board. The Director has the authority to make decisions under the general direction of the Board to direct the planning, development, operation, and fiscal management of the Retirement System fund. The Retirement Director is also empowered to make decisions under the Board’s guidance to oversee the planning, development, operation, and fiscal management of the Retirement System fund, ensuring strict compliance with Common Law of Trusts, Federal Law, Internal Revenue Service Code, State Laws, and Tacoma Municipal Code.

In addition to management of TERS, the Retirement Director is also responsible for the management of the City’s post-retirement medical plans for its Law Enforcement Officers’ and Fire Fighters’ (LEOFF 1) retirees. This pay-go plan is funded entirely by current general fund revenues and is closed to new participants.

Key Responsibilities:

Retirement Department Management: Your organizational savvy will guide you as you devise and implement optimal processes, ensuring efficient service delivery. You will provide expert leadership to your team, selecting, training, and guiding staff in alignment with the department’s objectives. This role also allows you to design and implement streamlined departmental policies and procedures to enhance TERS operations.


Pension Plan Administration and Member Service: Execute accurate administration of TERS benefits, collaborating with relevant service providers to deliver pension payments to retirees, provide retirement estimates, and maintain compliance with federal, state, and local laws. Your leadership abilities will foster seamless interactions between department staff when engaging with active and retired members.


Investment Oversight: Collaborate with our Chief Investment Officer, Investment Advisory Committee, and external consultants to shape prudent investment policies for our substantial portfolio. Your astute oversight will assure compliance, monitor investment managers, and implement strategies to meet return targets.

Budget and Financial Management: Your role involves overseeing financial, budgetary, accounting, and actuarial functions within the TERS fund while adhering to established policies. You’ll manage the preparation of intricate financial statements, supervise written materials distribution, and negotiate contracts with external providers for professional services.

Board Collaboration, Reporting, and Policy Formulation: Collaborating with the Board, you will define strategic goals, prepare monthly agendas, and present reports on high level issues. You will also draft policies for Board approval, facilitate Board training, and contribute to annual objectives for the Retirement Director. Effective communication and the ability to manage complexity are paramount to ensuring alignment with the organization’s mission and the successful execution of its initiatives.

Role Distinction and Commitment: This crucial role is at the helm of the Tacoma Employees’ Retirement System (TERS) and the oversight of the LEOFF1 Police and Fire Pension system. The Retirement Director is the primary resource for the TERS Board of Administration.  This influential executive-level position showcases your leadership and ability to manage complexity, directing various functions and policy development that impact past and present employees as well as prioritizing needs on the department level. There is also a responsibility to maintain relationships across all member agencies including:

City of Tacoma Departments
Tacoma Pierce County Health Department
Other Legacy Employers

As a representative of our department to external agencies and governing boards, your accountability and authority will be paramount. Join us in fostering a transparent, innovative, and high-performing government that benefits both our team and our community.

Supporting Our Mission: The Retirement Department upholds the goals of the City of Tacoma by offering a premier retirement benefit system. Your leadership as the Retirement System Director will be instrumental in fulfilling these aspirations, administering retirement benefits and steering investments as directed by the Board. If you are a dedicated leader who values integrity, professionalism, compliance, and team commitment, we encourage you to apply.

The Retirement System Director role follows a structured salary system, starting at Step 1 with a salary of $173,264.00. Placement on the salary scale will be Step 1 unless the candidate demonstrates exceptional experience and qualifications relevant to the responsibilities of the position.



About the System

The Tacoma Employees’ Retirement System (‘TERS’) has been providing employees with retirement benefits since 1941. The System serves approximately 7,100 members – approximately 2,800 retired members and beneficiaries, 1,000 deferred and vested members, and 3,300 active employees. TERS covers non-commissioned employees of the City of Tacoma (including Tacoma Public Utilities), certain employees of the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department, Pierce Transit, South Sound 911, and the Tacoma Public Library. All City employees, with the exception of commissioned police and fire employees, and certain Tacoma Rail or federal grant personnel, become members of the system.

TERS is a defined benefit plan qualified under section 401(a) of the Internal Revenue Code. It is governed by a nine-member Board of Administration (‘Board’ or ‘TERS Board’) whose members include the Mayor, the Director of Finance, a designee of the City Manager, a designee of the Tacoma Public Utilities Director, three elected employee members, one elected retiree member, and one community member (not employed by the City) appointed by the eight other members.

The employer contribution is currently 11.34% with an additional employee contribution of 9.2% of gross pay. As of January 1, 2023, the TERS system had an Actuarial Value of Assets of approximately $2.150 billion versus an Actuarial Accrued Liability of $2.153 billion, or 99.9% funded using actuarial value of assets with a conservative 6.75% expected rate of return. TERS investments are governed by the prudent person rule. Accordingly, TERS maintains a well-diversified investment portfolio that primarily consists of global equities, various fixed income strategies, and private equity/infrastructure covering a wide range of investment strategies and objectives.

By statute, TERS maintains a four-member independent Investment Advisory Committee (‘IAC’) to provide additional expertise to TERS in the investment process. This Committee does not have fiduciary responsibility for investment decisions, which remains with the TERS Board. The Retirement Department (which includes both TERS and LEOFF 1) currently has a staff of nine and an annual operating budget of $131 million which includes benefit payments, management fees, and administrative expenses.

For more information about the Tacoma Employees’ Retirement System please visit the website at:



Minimum Education*
Bachelor’s degree in business administration, accounting, finance or directly related field

Minimum Experience*
12 years of public or private pension system management including prior supervisory and managerial experience.

*Equivalency: 1 year of experience = 1 year of education

Knowledge & Skills

Principles and practices of governmental accounting and budgeting
Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), practices, techniques and procedures
Government Accounting Standards Board (GASB) mandates and their requirements for financial reporting
Actuarial Standards of Practice (ASOP) and their requirements for financial reporting
Effective leadership principles and practices
Effective techniques of supervision and administration
Current issues impacting governmental finance, revenue, regulatory and budgeting
Effective planning, goal setting and strategic planning techniques
Oral and written communication skills
Investment vehicles and their proper deployment and control
Investment policies and procedures in public retirement systems
Principles, practices and techniques of contract negotiation
Actuarial methods and practices
Policy analysis, development and implementation
Effective use of technology in a retirement system
Records management and State archiving procedures

Effective administration of a public retirement system
Effectively overseeing the fund’s accounting and financial functions
Development of goals, plans and strategies
Implementation of policies, plans and directives
Design, formulation and implementation of departmental policies
Development, analysis, review and preparation of complex financial statements and reports
Effectively representing the Retirement System to the public and members
Effective communication orally and in writing
Analyzing situations and adoption or recommendation of appropriate courses of action
Establishing and maintaining cooperative and effective working relationships with Board members, retirees, active employees and professional associates
Ensuring processes are executed in an efficient, streamlined manner and in synchronization with the Department objectives
Effective selection, training, supervision and evaluation of personnel
Supervising others by assigning/directing work; conducting employee evaluations, staff training and development, taking appropriate disciplinary/corrective actions, and making hiring/termination recommendations
Legislation analysis and communications.
Assuring compliance with the laws, codes and regulations governing essential functions
Researching, analyzing and interpreting court decisions, financial data, economic information and legislative initiatives
Preparing and presenting information in written reports and presentations
Maintaining awareness of and communicate emerging issues affecting the pension fund
Maintaining effective working relationships with people at all levels in the organization

Selection Process & Supplemental Information

City of Tacoma Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion
Tacoma’s diversity is its greatest asset. Tacoma embraces its multi-cultural and multi-ethnic character. Communities of color and immigrant communities are fundamental to Tacoma’s entrepreneurial spirit, workforce, and long-term success. In Tacoma, equity and empowerment are top priorities, meaning that all Tacoma residents must have equitable opportunities to reach their full potential and share in the benefits of community progress.  One of our goals is for the City of Tacoma workforce to reflect the community it serves. We actively work to eliminate racial and other disparities and welcome candidates with diverse backgrounds and/or multicultural skill sets and experiences. Our goal is for Tacoma to be an inclusive and equitable place to live, work, and play.

The City of Tacoma is an Equal Opportunity Employer and values diversity in its workplace. Applicants are considered for positions without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, ancestry, age, marital or veteran status, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, or any other basis prohibited by federal, state, and local laws.

Retirement System Director description imageApply
Interested individuals should apply online. Please attach a detailed resume and cover letter that includes job experience, major responsibilities and accomplishments related to this position.

Applications will be reviewed as they are received for interview consideration.

Reference checks will be conducted on final candidates and appointment is subject to passing a background check.

Communication from the City of Tacoma:
We primarily communicate via email during the application process. Emails from and/or must be placed on your safe domain list to ensure that you receive notifications in a timely manner. As a precaution, you may also want to check your junk email folders.

For assistance with the NEOGOV application process, questions regarding this job announcement, or if you are experiencing complications while applying, please contact the Human Resources office at (253) 591.5400 by 4:00 pm of the closing date of the job announcement. This will allow us to assist you before the job announcement closes.