Thomas Connelly Honored by the Arizona State Retirement System

Thomas Connelly Honored by the Arizona State Retirement System

Longtime Service to the People of Arizona

Phoenix, AZ, August 22, 2017 – Versant Capital Management announces that President and Chief Investment Officer,
Thomas Connelly CFA, CFP, was recently honored 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.”

In addition to being Versant Capital Management’s founder, Tom formulates the firm’s investment policy and supervises the management of client portfolios. Tom had been advising clients on investing and planning issues for more than 30 years. His background is not only financial – he has considerable interests other than just making money. This broad curiosity informs and inspires Tom to create an expansive context to the numbers, which leads to deeper and more strategic conversations with the firm’s clients.

Tom is originally from Minnesota where he graduated from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul with a degree in geology. He moved to Arizona in 1979 and received an MBA from Arizona State University. Tom has been

recognized multiple times by Worth Magazine as one of the top financial advisors in the U.S. He was selected by wealth experts and peers to the “2012 Citywealth Leaders List, Private Bankers & Investment Managers International for North America,” and the “Citywealth Top 100 Wealth Advisers & Managers for North America.” He is a noted speaker on technical subjects to local, national, and international professional societies, including ALI-ABA, the AICPA, the FPA, and the Asia Pacific Financial Planning Conference, and has authored numerous articles for industry journals and publications.

Tom is active in the community and has served in leadership roles on numerous boards and committees of civic and professional organizations. He served on the Financial Advisor Advisory Board for TIAA-CREF and was appointed to the Board of Trustees of the Arizona State Retirement System (ASRS). Tom was on the Board of the Phoenix Society of Financial Analysts and was twice President of the Phoenix Chapter of the Institute of Certified Financial Planners. He was both on the Editorial Advisory Board and a Contributing Editor for the Journal of Financial Planning. Tom was an Executive Board Member for National Advisors Holdings, as well as a Financial Advisory Board Member to Rydex Funds.

Tom is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ and Chartered Financial Analyst, and is a member of the Financial Planning Association and the CFA Institute. 



About Versant Capital Management, Inc.

Versant Capital Management, Inc. provides customized wealth management services for high net worth clients, including individuals, families and their related entities, trusts, corporate pension and profit sharing plans, closely held businesses, not-for-profit organizations, and other tax-exempt entities, with a focus on multi-generation and next-generation education. For more information or to view the firm’s disclosures, go to