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Cincinnati Retirement System EFL Associates
4600 South Ulster Street, Ste 900
Denver, CO 80237
Email Website
Posted on 3/31/2021 Featured Listing

Retirement Director

Cincinnati Retirement System


Indiana | Kentucky | Ohio

CEBS Designation



Our client, the City of Cincinnati, is seeking a Retirement Executive Director to lead the Cincinnati Retirement System (CRS). CRS includes a single employer defined benefit Pension Plan for general employees that includes a deferred retirement option program (DROP), and a retiree health care benefits. Combined Pension Trust and OPEB Trust assets are $2.2B. CRS serves approximately 3,000 active members and 4,300 pensioners.

The Retirement Executive Director is appointed by and reports to the City Manager. The Retirement Executive Director is responsible for providing the support and guidance necessary for the Board to discharge its fiduciary responsibilities to plan participants and ensure that CRS administers the complex benefits structure accurately. This role will direct a staff of twelve through four direct reports.

To learn more about the Responsibilities and Preferred Qualifications please view the Position Specifications below.

To apply please send your resume to Lauren at lmcelderry@eflassociates.com.

Position Specifications:
The City of Cincinnati, is seeking an Executive Director to lead the Cincinnati
Retirement System (CRS or the System). CRS was established in 1931, first Ohio
pension plan for general City employees. The System includes a single employer
defined benefit Pension Plan for general employees (excluding sworn police and fire
employees) that includes a deferred retirement option program (DROP), and retiree
health care benefits that are provided through an Other Post-Employment Benefits
(OPEB) trust. Combined Pension Trust and OPEB Trust assets are $2.2 billion. CRS
serves approximately 3,000 full-time active members and 4,300 pensioners.

The City Manager is the appointing authority for the Retirement Executive Director and
supervises performance. The CRS Board of Trustees (the Board) actively participates
in Retirement Executive Director candidate searches and participates in performance
evaluation. CRS is administered by the Retirement Department of the City that includes
a staff of twelve. The System is governed by a nine-member Board with four members
appointed by the Mayor, two members elected by active members and three members
elected by retirees.

The System’s benefits and provisions are primarily defined in the Cincinnati Municipal
Code, and the Collaborative Settlement Agreement (CSA) that became effective January
1, 2016. The CSA was the result of multiple class action lawsuits by retirees and active
employees in response to certain benefit changes approved by City Council in 2011. A
few provisions of the CSA are still being negotiated.

The System is financed through contributions from the employees and the employer, as
well as income earned on investments of the System. The Pension and OPEB assets
are comingled for investment purposes. The Board is responsible for determining and
approving the CRS budget, presently set at $2.7 million for 2021. The Board also has
full investment authority over the System’s assets and retains an independent
investment consultant (Marquette Associates) to assist with investment decisions. The
Retirement Department administers the investment assets as directed by the Board and
the Investment Policy. The System’s target rate of return is 7.5%.

Consultants in Executive Search
By major asset classes, the targeted asset allocation adopted by the Board is as follows:
Fixed Income 17.0%
Domestic Public Equity 27.5%
Non-U.S. Public Equity 23.0%
Real Estate 7.5%
Infrastructure 10.0%
Risk Parity 5.0%
Private Equity 10.0%

The combined return, net of fees, for the System’s investment portfolio was 8.9% for the
year ended December 31, 2020. The rates for multi-year comparative periods were 6.8%
for the three-year, 8.8% for the five-year, and 8.0% for the ten-year average. As of
December 31, 2019, the funded ratio of the Pension Fund was 71.2% while the OPEB
trust was 129.6% funded. The System utilizes the services of Cheiron as its actuarial

For more information about CRS: please see www.cincinnati.oh.gov/retirement/.


About Cincinnati, Ohio:
The City is located at the northern edge of the confluence of the Licking and Ohio Rivers,
the latter of which marks the state line with the Commonwealth of Kentucky. The
population of the Cincinnati Metro Area makes it Ohio’s largest metropolitan and the
nation’s 29th-largest. First settled in 1788, the City is home to historic architecture with
many structures in the urban core having remained intact for over 200 years. In the late
1800s, Cincinnati was commonly referred to as the “Paris of America”, due mainly to such
ambitious architectural projects as the Music Hall, Cincinnatian Hotel, and Shillito
Department Store. The City is the birthplace of William Howard Taft, the 27th President
of the United States.

Known by several nicknames, most notably “the Queen City”, Cincinnati has a rich and
colorful history, due in large part to its proximity to the Ohio River and its major
commercial shipping usage. The City has a rich cultural arts, dining, and entertainment
scene with three major professional sports franchises, the University of Cincinnati and
Xavier University, and is home to numerous Fortune 500 corporations including Procter
& Gamble, The Kroger Company, and Fifth Third Bank.

For more information about Cincinnati, please refer to:
Official City Website: www.cincinnati-oh.gov
Cincinnati Travel & Leisure: www.cincinnatiusa.com
The Cincinnati Enquirer: www.cincinnati.com
The Cincinnati Herald: www.thecincinnatiherald.com

Under administrative direction by the City Manager, the Retirement Executive Director
is responsible for providing the support and guidance necessary for the Board to
discharge its fiduciary responsibilities to plan participants and ensure that CRS
administers the complex benefits structure accurately. The Retirement Executive
Director ensures that all retirement plan assets are properly safeguarded and invested
in accordance with adopted investment policies and fiduciary standards for the benefit of
plan participants. This role reports to the City Manager, subject to policy guidance,
budgetary or expenditure controls, and other administration direction from the Board. It
provides primary staff support to the Board and directs other Retirement Division
personnel. The Retirement Executive Director, as an in-house pension management
professional, is expected to exercise considerable judgment and discretion involving the
technical and legal aspects of the administration of the System.
The Retirement Executive Director directs a staff of twelve through four direct reports
including the Supervising Management Analyst, Senior Administrative Specialist, the
Finance Manager, and an Administrative Specialist.

While not all-inclusive, examples of key responsibilities include:
• Supports and consults with City Administration, City Council and the Board on
administration items, proposed initiatives, and requests for information and
reports while managing and addressing competing directions and/or initiatives.
• Acts as primary liaison to the Board and its Committees. Works closely with the
Board and Committee chairs, CRS staff, consultants and other parties to develop
agendas and materials, inform and educate the Board, and respond to Board
• Reviews, negotiates and manages the various provider and consulting contracts
used to administer the System.
• Remains cognizant of related developments and best practices which may affect
the City’s defined benefit plan, health care plans or deferred compensation plans.
• Makes continuous analysis of all aspects of the retirement system; confers with
consultants, City staff, and other practitioners in making periodic assessments of
the retirement system and its operation; previews recommendations of actuaries
and submits proposals for improvements to the City Manager and the Board.
• Ensures all pension obligations are met efficiently and effectively; ensures the City
administration, auditors, City Council and other stakeholders have timely
responses to requests for budget and management information.
• Responsible for the compliance with applicable laws, regulations, fiduciary and
professional standards.
• Aggressively seeks long-term administrative and benefit cost containment
strategies through outsourcing, automation, and other means to the extent
provided in the CSA.
• Supervises and participates in the preparation of the annual pension and health
care valuations and other regular and special reports; makes periodic reports to
the Board relative to the statistical or financial operations; and compiles financial,
actuarial, and statistical data for the Board’s annual report to City Council.
• Develops and produces materials to keep active and retired workers informed of
aspects of their retirement program.

Education and Experience:
• Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university, with a preferred major in
accounting, public finance, or business administration. A Master’s degree in business
administration or another related field is preferred.
• Professional certification, such as the CFA or CEBS, will distinguish the most
attractive candidates.
• Management experience (ideally seven or more years of progressively responsible
experience) in the pension/retirement benefits industry is highly preferred.
• Experience working for and with a board; understanding of the appropriate roles and
responsibilities of the Board and the Retirement Executive Director.
• Technological savvy to make the best use of technology to provide effective and
efficient service to members, retirees and beneficiaries.
• Working knowledge of institutional investment concepts and principals.
• Experience with drafting requests for proposals, reviewing contracts and monitoring
contract performance.
• Experience working with elected officials and media, serving as the external face of
an organization.
• Familiarity with the legal and regulatory requirements of public pension plan
administration and oversight.


Personal Characteristics:
• Excellent interpersonal skills; ability to develop credibility and deal effectively with
diverse parties and stakeholders, as well as the ability to engender teamwork among
• Outstanding communication skills, including speaking, writing, and listening.
• The highest level of honesty, ethics and integrity.
• Strong sense of initiative; a self-starter who knows what needs to be done and can
get it done.
• Highly detail oriented with the interest and tenacity to research issues in depth, when
• Ability to solve problems and make decisions effectively and, as needed,
• Ability and willingness to function in a direct supervisory role in a small office


CRS will provide a competitive base salary dependent on the experience and
qualifications of the successful candidate. A generous benefits package includes
medical, dental and vision insurance; basic and supplemental life insurance; disability
and accident insurance; participation in the System’s contributory defined benefit plan
and eligibility to participate in the System’s voluntary 457(b) Deferred Compensation
plan; as well as, a generous paid-time-off policy. The City’s 2021 Open Enrollment
Booklet can be viewed by copying and pasting the following link in your browser:

Application Process:
EFL Associates, an executive search firm, is assisting CRS with this important search.
All calls and inquiries should be made through the search firm representatives listed
below. Referrals and applications will be held in confidence. Review of applications will
begin immediately and will continue until the position is filled.


Our client and EFL Associates firmly support the principle and philosophy of equal
opportunity for all individuals, regardless of age, race, gender, creed, national origin,
disability, veteran status or any other protected category pursuant to applicable federal,
state or local law.


EFL Associates:
4600 South Ulster Street, Suite 900
Denver, CO 80237
Phone: 303-779-1724

Lauren McElderry, Associate Staff Consultant
Email: lmcelderry@eflassociates.com
Phone: 720.200.7021

Mail:EFL Associates
4600 South Ulster Street, Ste 900
Denver, CO 80237
Email:lmcelderry@eflassociates.com Website:http://www.eflassociates.com
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