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Wrong William Coaker?

Mr. William J. Coaker Jr.

Chief Investment Officer


HQ Phone: (415) 487-7500

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1145 Market Street 5Th Floor

San Francisco, California 94103

United States

Company Description

SFERS, CalPERS and certain other California public retirement systems provide "reciprocal" retirement benefits. Members can use service credit earned under each reciprocal retirement system to meet eligibility requirements in each plan (if qualified). Whe ... more

Find other employees at this company (46)

Background Information

Employment History

Senior Managing Director

University of California Office of the Chief Investment Officer


Chartered Financial Analyst


BS degree


Loyola Marymount University


Golden Gate University

Web References (65 Total References)

William J. Coaker Jr, CFA, ... [cached]

William J. Coaker Jr, CFA, MBA, Chief Investment Officer, San Francisco Employees' Retirement System, (SFERS)

Mr. Coaker has served as the Chief Investment Officer for the San Francisco Employees Retirement System, a $20 billion public pension plan, since February 2014. Prior to SFERS, Mr. Coaker served as the Senior Managing Director of Public Equity for the University of California for six years. Prior to U.C.. Mr. Coaker worked as the Senior Investment Officer for SFERS from 2005 to 2008 and as the Chief Investment Officer and Financial Controller for the Diocese of Monterey for 13 ½ years managing the organization's pension, endowment, and corporate investments.
Mr. Coaker earned a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Loyola Marymount University and a Master's in Business Administration with an emphasis in Finance from Golden Gate University. He is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) charter holder as well as a Certified Financial Planner (CFP®). He held the Certified Investment Management Analyst (CIMA) designation for over ten years before letting the designation expire. He also completed the Endowment Institute program on investing from the Commonfund and the Yale University School of Management.
Mr. Coaker has authored eight articles on investing that have been published in various investment journals. He supports numerous organizations around the country devoted to caring for homeless animals.

William J. Coaker Jr., CFA, ... [cached]

William J. Coaker Jr., CFA, MBA, Chief Investment Officer, San Francisco Employees' Retirement System, (SFERS)

9:15 AM
Will we have a Standardization of this Data?
Will it catch on? Has Performance Matched Hedge Funds? Is it Worth the Lower Fees?
Will we see a Surge in Open-Ended Funds in the Coming Years? Is the Rise in Public-Private Partnerships Inevitable due to Lack of Gov't Funding and High Debt? What Opportunities will this Create? Debt Heavy/Equity Shortage Deals - how and when will Pension Investors Overcome this Highly Leveraged Roadblock?
Will Co-Investments become more Common?

In January 2014, SFERS lured ... [cached]

In January 2014, SFERS lured Bill Coaker into returning to SFERS as its Chief Investment Officer. Prior to returning to SFERS, Coaker was the senior managing director of public equities in the University of California’s Office of the Chief Investment Officer for just over six years, earning $505,939 in 2013 helping manage the university’s $90 billion pension, endowment, and campus assets portfolio.

Many observers believe Coaker was lured back to SFERS in January 2014 for his so-called expertise with hedge funds and the “endowment model” of investing.
Bachler didn’t comment on the equities portfolio’s performance under Coaker.
Who Is Bill Coaker?
Coaker had formerly been a Senior Investment Officer at SFERS for just over two-and-a-half years between June 2005 and January 2008 managing SFERS’ “domestic and international emerging market” strategies before leaving for his six-year stint at the University of California. Prior to first joining SFERS in 2005, Coaker had been the Chief Investment Officer (CIO) at the Roman Catholic Diocese of Monterey for a stint of 13 years managing the Dioceses’ pension, endowment, and corporate assets programs.
Why Coaker left the University of California and the Monterey Diocese to take a significant pay cut to be in charge of managing SFERS’ much smaller pension portfolio isn’t known, leaving observers wondering about a downward spiral in his career.
Coaker also presented “Mix 6B” on October 8, 2014 as an example of investing up to 36% — $7.2 billion — in hedge funds using an “endowment model” used by various private universities, illustrating the lunacy and weakness of industry-standard “optimizer” software that does not take into account public pension plans vs. private endowments, or the true risk of hedge funds and their illiquidity.
On June 1, Coaker first recommended allocating 15% to hedge funds. His proposal also ran into stiff opposition and intense scrutiny by one SFERS Board member.
At the beginning of SFERS’ December 3, 2014 meeting, Commissioners were handed a third alternate proposal dated the same date of the meeting (December 3) that was reportedly developed by the trio of Makras, SFERS’ Executive Director Jay Huish, and Coaker to invest 5% in hedge funds.
On the very same day as the 5% proposal was introduced, Coaker and Huish went back on the 5% proposal developed with Board president Makras, showing their agenda for a much larger percentage!
By report, SFERS’ staff favored direct hedge funds where Coaker would make the decisions directly.
Apparently, Coaker skipped attending the class that taught that pension funds are not endowments, as he mistakenly brags on his Linked-In resume that he recommended implementing at SFERS.
He also claims that “absolute returns” — an interchangeable term for “hedge funds,” when hedge funds are getting bad media coverage — have a lower volatility, but most observers believe hedge funds are highly volatile, as many hedge funds have lost nearly 100% of their value.
Second, his Linked-In profile claims that his first gig as SFERS’ senior investment officer between June 2005 and January 2008, he had increased International and Emerging Markets Equity asset allocations in the first quarter of his employment, and over the two-and-a-half years of his first tenure between June 2005 and 2008, both international and emerging market stocks had outperformed the U.S. Equity market by 37% and 106% respectively.
But various data from SFERS paint a very different picture, and some observers disagree with Coaker whether international and emerging markets had outperformed domestic equity shortly after he had fiddled with asset allocations during his first stint at SFERS. First of all, it takes time to fund various investment managers and more time for investment results to materialize, so where Coaker obtained data that his recommendations had performed better by the end of 2008 is questionable, at best.
So during his first two-and-a-half-year job at SFERS, Coaker appears to have chosen to increase allocations to the poorest performing asset classes.
Coaker’s February 2014 “Letter of Introduction” starts off saying he is “humbled” to serve as SFERS’ Chief Investment Officer, and he hopes to serve with “class.” Do we need his hubris?
He goes on to state that SFERS incurred a “peak-to-trough” decline of a negative 32% during the FY 2008–2009 Great Recession. He bemoans the fact that SFERS’ portfolio has not generated “excess returns (meaning “ alpha”) over the past ten years, and SFERS’s total return has been completely dependent on the beta exposure of its asset allocations.” By chasing alpha, Coaker is again inviting hedge fund investment disaster.
How Coaker expects to eke out a 6.5% return is one 800-pound gorilla.
Despite the advice of two towering billionaire figures in the financial industry advising not to invest pension funds in hedge funds, rookie Chief Investment Officer Bill Coaker thinks he knows better than the two billionaires.
Apparently Coaker has the concurrence of rookie cop Brian Stansbury, rookie investor Joe Driscoll (who’s been woefully wrong before), and conflict-of-interest conflicted Wendy Paskin-Jordan, all SFERS Commissioners hoodwinked that they and Coaker know better than the two billionaire experts.
Or take Kevin Callanan, another Fire Department retiree, who noted on September 7 that Bill Coaker may have “smoke and mirrored the unassuming Diocese of Monterey, but rest assured retired employees of [the City] will not stand for another carpet bagger raiding our [pension system].”
Finally, take retired firefighter Ted Gold, who noted to Huish and Coaker on November 1 that SFERS Commissioner Brian Stansbury had forwarded Elmer Carr a link to an article by Richard Baker on the Institutional Investors Alpha web site that advocated for using pension funds to invest in hedge funds.
Since the conservative-leaning Chronicle is concerned about the risky “high-flying” idea and recommends against it, hopefully SFERS’ Board will play closer attention when it considers again on February 11 whether to adopt Coaker’s goofy “endowment model of investing” public retirees’ funds in hedge funds — against the beneficiary members’ substantial objections.
Halloran asserts that SFERS has before it “expert advice,” from experts — ostensibly including SFERS’ expert Chief Investment Officer, Bill Coaker — who believe that placing some assets in alternative investment mechanisms is the best way to achieve some sort of balance.
Apparently Halloran and Vallejo, along with Coaker, know more about “sophisticated” investing that do Soros and Buffett.
Given that Coaker’s first stint at SFERS between 2005 and 2008 involved just a two-and-a-half year tenure, and his tenure at UC Regents was just six years, it’s difficult to believe that Coaker will even be around 10 years hence to evaluate how his “endowment model” and hedge fund asset allocation recommendations will have played out. As far as that goes, few of SFERS’ current Board will be around 10 years from now either, to see how things work out should they approve to invest in hedge funds.
Coaker’s new proposal admits that illiquid investments will increase significantly to 35%, and noted illiquid investments from earlier asset allocation recommendations he made in December would have increased to 45%. As senior leaders in SEIU Local 1021 have noted, when you add in what SFERS is planning to invest in “alternative equities” (without calling alternative equities out as a separate asset allocation class), plus a hedge fund allocation at 15%, SFERS may be considering somewhere between 28% and 45% in risky and very illiquid investments.
Amazingly, Coaker’s February hookah proposal claims SFERS’ staff will “conduct onsite visits to CALSTRS (the California State Teacher’s Retirement System), one or two other pension plans, or endowments” to pick their brains on specified allocations to infrastructure. But he says not one word about reaching out to CalPERS to investigate why CalPERS had pulled out of hedge fund investments entirely. Why would Coker do due diligence reaching out to CALSTRS, but not with CalPERS?
Coaker’s February 11 proposal asserts that a 5% allocation to hedge funds would not reduce the volatility of returns, even though Angeles Investment Advisors asserts in the Bloomberg article that it would. Do we have disagreement here on “facts” between Coaker and SFERS’ general consultant, Angeles Investments Advisors?
Coaker’s February 11 proposal also claims on page 11 that returns from hedge fund investments are projected to be 8.0%. Wait! What?
Coaker’s February 11 recommendation claims that “fund-of-hedge-funds” — purportedly preferred by SFERS’ Board but opposed by SFERS’ staff — have fallen out of favor with “institutional investors” for s

SFGov [cached]

Bill Coaker, Senior Investment Officer, summarized the individual and group consensus-building process that Cortex utilized with the staff and recommended that the Board engage in a similar process.

SFERS : Staff [cached]

William J. Coaker, Jr., CFA Chief Investment Officer

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