Asset Allocation at the Cook County Pension Fund
Nickol Hackett, chief investment officer of the Cook County Pension Fund, is responsible for investing the fund's $9 billion worth of assets on behalf of the employees of Cook County, Illinois. Like many other defined-benefit pensions at the time, the Cook County pension faces a funding shortfall, meaning that the value of its assets is below the value of its future obligations to retirees. Hackett can invest in fixed income securities, public equities, and alternative assets such as hedge funds, real estate, or private equity. What are the costs and benefits of each asset class? Should the funding status of the pension impact the asset allocation process? How should Hackett invest in order to grow the value of the fund's assets and secure the retirement benefits for thousands of Cook County's employees?