Thursday, June 20, 2019

Investments Team

 

 Jeb Burns
Chief Investment Officer (CIO)
MERS of Michigan

As CIO, Jeb Burns directs the $11 billion investment program at MERS, leading a 10-member team of investment professionals, setting investment strategy and implementing all investment programs.

A member of the senior management team, Jeb provides strategic leadership and guidance on business strategy, public policy, organizational development, and new business initiatives. He serves as a member of the Investment Committee, chairs the Risk and Compliance Committee, and represents the fund's global interests by serving on advisory committees for its numerous holdings.

Prior to joining MERS in 2002, Jeb held positions in public policy, communications, budget, and legislative affairs at the State of Michigan. He served as a financial advisor with Prudential Securities before entering public service.

Education

  • MPA, Public Policy – Wayne State University  
  • BA, History –  Western Michigan University
  • Leadership Development Certificate – University of Michigan Ross School of Business
  • Advanced Professional Director Certification – American College of Corporate Directors

Affiliations

  • Western Michigan University Foundation – Investment Committee 
  • Mackinac Associates Board of Trustees
  • Pacific Pension & Investment Institute – Board of Directors, Chair

 

 Michael Charette, CFA
Managing Director of Investments

Mike Charette is an integral member of the investment team and is responsible for the fund's global equity and fixed income investments. Mike directs the execution of MERS' internally managed strategies, which account for 25% of total portfolio assets. In addition to managing an on-site team of four investment professionals, Mike supervises MERS' relationship with external investment managers, conducting ongoing reviews of existing relationships and evaluating new opportunities. Mike is also responsible for MERS' participant directed account investment menus and plays an integral role in determining the number and types of investment options offered, along with the ongoing due diligence, monitoring and selection.

Prior to joining MERS in 2002, Mike worked as an analyst with Kennedy Capital Advisors, an institutional investment consulting firm in Atlanta, GA.

Education

  • MBA – University of Michigan, Ross School of Business  
  • BS, Accounting and Finance – Georgia Tech

Professional Designation

  • Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Charterholder

 

 Edward J. Mikolay
Director of Private Markets

As Director of Private Markets, Ed Mikolay is responsible for asset management and new investment origination of the private investment portfolio, including for private equity, real estate, real assets and diversifying strategies. Ed is also a voting member of the Portfolio Review Committee, which is responsible for all portfolio management decisions of the pension fund, including implementation of the asset allocation and external manager selection and monitoring.

Ed has been active in the investment industry for more than 20 years. Prior to joining MERS in 2013, Ed was an Assistant Administrator at the State of Michigan Retirement Systems (SMRS) in its Real Estate and Infrastructure Division. At SMRS, Ed was involved in a variety of portfolio management roles, including sourcing and underwriting new investments, overseeing dispositions and representing SMRS in strategic partnerships. He has also held investment roles at CB Richard Ellis, Heitman LLC and Equity Residential Properties Trust (NYSE: EQR).

Education

  • MBA, Finance/Entrepreneurship/Real Estate – Northwestern University, Kellogg Graduate School of Management
  • BA, Mathematical Economics – Brown University

Affiliations

  • Grand Rapids Community Foundation - Investment Review Committee
  • Institutional Limited Partners Association (ILPA)
  • Pension Real Estate Association (PREA)
  • Institutional Investor Global Real Assets Forum – Advisory Board
  • Global AgInvesting
  • Fiduciary Investors' Symposium
  • The Fiduciary Infrastructure Initiative
  • Saint Thomas the Apostle Catholic School Board – past president

 

 Michael Schrauben, CFA
Director of Asset Allocation

Michael Schrauben is the Director of Asset Allocation for MERS. He brings valuable global macroeconomic insight to the group, which facilitates strategic decision making and portfolio asset allocation. Michael co-manages the Fund's internal equity program and also oversees the Fund's Diversifying Strategies portfolio, which targets uncorrelated alternative investment strategies to reduce portfolio beta and drawdown. He manages the Asset Allocation Team, which monitors the Fund's asset allocation and risk and provides allocation recommendations to the Portfolio Review Committee. He is a voting member on the Portfolio Review Committee, which is responsible for all portfolio management decisions including external asset manager selection and monitoring. Michael joined MERS in 2008.

Education

  • BA with High Honors, Finance – Michigan State University, Eli Broad College of Business
  • Michigan State University Financial Markets Institute
  • Michigan State University Honors College

Professional Designation

  • Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Charterholder

 

 Peter Wujkowski
Investment & Administrative Officer

As Investment and Administrative Officer, Peter Wujkowski oversees operations and compliance for the Office of Investments. Peter is the liaison with MERS' custodial bank, monitoring trades, compliance issues and overseeing money flows between the custodial bank and investment managers. Peter is a member the Client Advisory Board for the custodial bank and a voting member on the Portfolio Review Committee, which is responsible for all portfolio management decisions.
Peter joined MERS in 2011 and brought more than 20 years of valuable commercial banking and treasury management insights to the group. Peter has held positions at Michigan National (now Bank of America), KeyBank, Fifth Third Bank, Citizens (now Huntington Bank) and JPMorgan Chase, where he worked with large public sector and commercial clients.
Education

  • MBA, Finance – Saginaw Valley State University
  • BA, Advertising – Michigan State University College of Communications

Affiliations

  • Institutional Society of Risk Professionals – Board Member
  • Michigan State University Alumni Association
  • Michigan State University Alumni Club of Mid-Michigan – Past President

 

 Julian Ramirez, CFA
Investment Officer and Portfolio Manager

Julian Ramirez is an Investment Officer and Portfolio Manager. His main responsibilities include the management of the Fund's internal equity program, which includes three equity index strategies and four active equity strategies. He is a voting member on the Portfolio Review Committee, which is responsible for all portfolio management decisions. As a member of the Asset Allocation team, Julian is responsible for developing asset allocation recommendations, implementation and risk management for the Fund. Julian also assists the team with external asset manager selection and monitoring, as well as analysis of potential investment opportunities. Julian joined MERS in 2011.
Education

  • BA, Economics (Actuarial Science specialization) – Michigan State University

Professional Designation

  • Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Charterholder

Affiliations

  • Institutional Society of Risk Professionals
  • National Association of State Investment Professionals

 

 Paul Van Gilder, CFA
Investment Officer and Portfolio Manager

As Investment Officer and Portfolio Manager, Paul Van Gilder oversees the $2.5 billion global fixed-income portfolio, including the $1 billion internal actively-managed short-duration fixed-income strategy.

Paul is member of the Internal Asset Management team, which is responsible for overseeing MERS' internally managed fixed income and equity portfolios, and the Asset Allocation Team, which is responsible for managing the Valuation Based Allocation program. Paul contributes to the asset allocation team with in-depth asset class valuation analysis and macroeconomic research. In addition, Paul participates in external asset manager selection and monitoring across the equity, fixed income and alternative portfolios. Paul works with MERS' Private Markets team on analysis of potential and existing direct investments and co-investments in the Real Assets and Private Equity portfolios. Paul is also a voting member of the Portfolio Review Committee.

Prior to joining MERS in 2012, Paul had previous experience on the foreign exchange trading desk at BMO Capital Markets in Chicago.

Education

  • BA with High Honors, Finance – Michigan State University
  • Michigan State University Financial Markets Institute
  • Michigan State University Honors College

Professional Designation

  • Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Charterholder

 

 Lauren Lindemulder
Investment Analyst

Lauren Lindemulder assists the Director of Private Markets and Portfolio Managers with management and oversight responsibilities for a $2.5 billion global private investment portfolio. She is responsible for investment selection, monitoring current investments and portfolio construction for private equity, real estate, real assets and diversifying strategies. Lauren is pursuing the Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA) designation.

Prior to joining MERS in 2018, Lauren was an Investment Analyst within Private Markets for the State of Michigan Retirement Systems (SMRS) in its Short-Term, Absolute & Real Return Division. At SMRS, she assisted with asset allocation, evaluating prospective investments and monitoring portfolios that focused on private credit, intangible assets, natural resources, energy and hedge funds.
Education

  • BA, Finance – Michigan State University

Affiliation

  • Institutional Limited Partners Association

 

 Furat Zomay
Investment Analyst

As an Investment Analyst, Furat Zomay provides essential support to senior members of the investment team. He assists the Investment & Administrative Officer with operations and compliance activities, conducts analytic research on MERS' internal fixed-income and equity portfolios on behalf of the Investment Officers and Portfolio Managers, and provides supplemental support to the Private Markets team.
Prior to joining MERS, Furat assisted the Corporate Bond and Private Equity teams at State Farm. Furat became a full-time investment team member in 2019 after completing his internship program at MERS.
Education

  • BA, Finance (minor in Economics) – Michigan State University

Professional Designation

  • Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Level 1 Candidate

 

 Lori Smith
Office Administrator

As the Office Administrator, Lori Smith provides strategic support to the CIO, the Investment Committee and the Office of Investments. Lori is responsible for office management, budgeting and record-keeping, and provides counsel to the CIO concerning talent development and staffing changes. She acts as liaison between the Investment Committee and the Retirement Board, as well as between the CIO, investment office staff and other internal departments. She chairs the Record Coordinator Committee, co-chairs the Well-being Committee and is a contributing member of the Operations and Compliance Team.

Lori joined MERS in 2015, with nearly 30 years of legal and office management experience. She previously worked at Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn and at Clark Hill PLC, where she managed a nine-member team of legal support staff.

Education

  • AB, Business – Lansing Community College
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