Thomas Connelly honored by the Arizona State Retirement System

Longtime service to the people of Arizona

Versant Capital Management is proud to share that Thomas Connelly was honored last month by the ASRS (the Arizona State Retirement System) for his 10+ years of exemplary fiduciary service to the State of Arizona. The ASRS administers a pension plan, long-term disability plan, retiree health insurance plans, and other benefits to government workers. More than a half-million of Arizona’s public servants belong to the ASRS, which encompasses state employees, the three state universities, community college districts, school districts and charter schools, all 15 counties, most cities and towns, and a variety of political subdivisions, such as fire and water districts.

Tom was appointed to the Board of Trustees of the ASRS by one Democratic and two Republican governors, serving from December 2006 to 2016, one of the longest appointments in the board’s history. He chaired the Investment Committee from March 2009 to 2016.

At a meeting honoring outgoing board members, Tom was presented with the PRIDE Award for Professionalism, the first non-employee recipient, recognizing his service to the people of Arizona. ASRS Director Paul Matson cited that during Tom’s period of service, ASRS outperformed the market by 1.2 billion dollars over 10 years. In fact, the ASRS pension fund that Tom helped guide is in the top 11th percentile, beating 89 percent of its peers’ total fund rates of return over a 10-year period, ending in December, 2016.

Mr. Matson went on to note Tom’s ability to not only promote, but nurture innovative ideas and push the committee to think about new ideas, “not fancy ideas that Wall Street wants us to think about, but new ideas that actually add value consistently to the beneficiaries.”

Board member Tom Manos stated about Tom: “the board couldn’t overestimate the value that you’ve added to the investment side of the house. I can’t imagine how much time you have spent because this has been to you much more than showing up for a Board meeting. You have a passion for this, and so I was not surprised when [Director] Paul [Matson] went through the numbers and reminded us that you have not only added hundreds of millions of dollars, but billions of dollars to the ASRS. So, I don’t know how we could’ve functioned over the last several years without your expertise.”

It was also noted that the ASRS is now able to make significant decisions in shorter periods of time, which would not be possible without the contributions of Tom and the other ASRS board members. One board member explained, “Whenever you’re trying to weather a storm at sea, you need good hands on deck and people with perspective who can guide things safely, which these gentlemen have done.”

Tom’s decade-long commitment to the State of Arizona is a source of pride for Versant Capital Management. The staff thanks him for representing the firm with integrity, professionalism, and the highest fiduciary standard.

Photo: Tom Connelly and ASRS Director Paul Matson.