Former Police Officer's Pension Board Trustee Answers Your Questions

Editor's note: Before Steve Toyota, a Vice President on the Business Development team at fund management and investment advisory firm Capital Dynamics, he spent 28 years with the Miramar Police Department. He retired from the police department in February of 2021. He had served as a trustee on the Miramar Police Officers' Retirement Plan Board since 1998 and was chairman of the Board from 2005 to 2019. During his 20-plus years as a trustee on this retirement plan's Board, he worked with investment managers of nearly every asset class, helping grow the plan from $20 million to $260 million. At Capital Dynamics, as a global private asset manager, he focuses on private equity, private credit, and clean energy infrastructure and has gained extensive knowledge and experience developing solutions tailored to meet the needs of a diverse and global client base of institutional investors, including public pension systems. In this blog post, he explains why it is important for trustees to get involved in their retirement plan's decisions, why he moved from policing to investment management and offers advice to trustees.

Q. Why is it important for Trustees to be involved in their Retirement Plan decisions?

A. Over twenty years ago, I became a member of my Retirement Plan Board as I wanted a better understanding of my pension benefit and a say in the decision-making process that goes with it.  Oftentimes, I think many First Responders lose sight of the fact that a pension benefit is for life (that’s the idea!) and there needs to be a level of oversight and accountability to ensure it does what it is actually in place to do for First Responders in this country.  The selection and oversight of investment managers and strategies by Boards have repercussions, both good and bad, that impact the long-term financial security of its beneficiaries.  This is why it is so important for First Responders to be involved and aware of what is going on in the investment portfolio of their pensions.

Q. After spending 28 years in the Miramar Police Department, why have you chosen your most recent line of work?

A. After sitting on one side of the table for most of my career, I understand the needs of First Responder retirement plans and the Boards that manage them.  By sharing my experiences and viewpoints with investment managers on this side if the table, I hope to help them better serve these retirement plans, and ultimately, the entire First Responder community.

Q. What advice would you give to other Trustees in a similar position to you?

A. I would advise them to get more involved in the process of picking investment managers and work closely with their consultants to understand how the process works (in order for them to have more ownership).  The financial world is complex, and it is common for Trustees to underestimate their ability to evaluate the many different investment strategies available to them, especially when it comes to alternative investments.  Due to this, some will let the advice and direction of others have a significant impact on how they run their retirement fund.  In my 20 plus year tenure as a Trustee, I have worked with many great investment managers, but I have also seen those that are looking out for their best interest (versus the beneficiaries of the pension plan) so it is important to be your own advocate and work in tandem with any consultant your plan may have to reach your plans’, and ultimately pensioners, financial goals.

Q. As a Trustee, what should one look for in an investment manager?

A. While performance is incredibly important, trust is often the differentiating factor when choosing between investment managers.  Having spent nearly thirty years in law enforcement, so much of my day-to-day job was interacting with the public and understanding people, which I’m sure many of my peers can relate to.  When speaking with other Trustees, we always say it is paramount to us that we identify and work with Managers that not only provide superior investment results, but also those that we can trust and that truly put the time into building a long-lasting partnership with us.  As a Trustee, you should trust your instincts and choose to work with investment managers who put the time in to get to know you, your needs, and your values. Those types of managers are the ones you will end up building long-lasting, successful partnerships with.

The statements made in this presentation are for informational and educational purposes only. Any opinions expressed are as of the date of publication, are subject to change and should not be considered as investment advice or as a recommendation of any particular security, strategy, or investment product.
Capital Dynamics is an Associate member of TEXPERSThe views and opinions contained herein are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of TEXPERS. These views are subject to change. 
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Comments on "Former Police Officer's Pension Board Trustee Answers Your Questions"

Comments 0-2 of 2

Scott Olguin - Monday, March 14, 2022

Nice job, Steve.

Scott Olguin - Monday, March 14, 2022

Nice job, Steve.

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