Sharmila Chatterjee Kassam, CPA, Esq.
Advisor at Funston Advisory Services; Institutional Investor
Sharmila (Shar) Chatterjee Kassam is a proven business professional and institutional investor who most recently co-managed the $30 billion Employees Retirement System of Texas.
During her tenure at ERS, she accomplished with her team:
- Evolution of the trust portfolio from a 60/40 model to an endowment model
- Aligned the investment program’s team of 77 staff so its culture and practices were closer to that of a professional global asset manager
- Four compensation studies and the redesign of the incentive compensation plan
- Initiated multiple governance best practices with the highlight being an overhaul of the investment policy emphasizing the critical relationship between Board and staff and clearly defining the established governance structure
- Led the most recent asset allocation study targeting a portfolio of the highest possible risk-adjusted returns net of fees and also designed to leverage the talent of the investment staff for execution
- Advised the $2.9 billion Texa$aver 401(k) / 457 Program, a defined contribution plan, focused on the necessary evolution of investment products offered
- Transformed the $1 billion emerging manager program to be a model of how these portfolios can be accretive to trust returns and can be at the forefront of innovation by establishing profitable seeding platforms
Shar has spent over a decade studying asset allocation processes, global retirement programs and risk management. She has spent time promoting best practices in the industry through Institutional Limited Partners Association (ILPA), Alignment of Interest (AOI) and the CFA Institute. Before joining ERS, she spent 15 years in the venture and technology industry working in financial, legal, operational and management roles.
Shar holds a bachelor’s degree in Accounting (with honors) and a J.D. degree, both from The University of Texas. She is a licensed Certified Public Accountant in Texas and also licensed to practice law in California and Texas. She was the 2018 Institutional Investor NextGen CIO Finalist. She is a nationally recognized leader in the pension industry and sought out globally as a speaker.