Farmers Insurance CIO Departs for Two Sigma

Karyn Williams has left the insurer for a hedge fund after just under a year at the helm.

Karyn WilliamsKaryn WilliamsCIO Karyn Williams is leaving Farmers Insurance to serve as Two Sigma’s first head of client solutions, the hedge fund announced Tuesday.

Williams was named investment chief last August after three years as head of insurance investments at Farmers. While at Farmers, Williams was responsible for redesigning the fund’s investment process, shifting it to a largely outsourced investment model.

“Karyn has done a tremendous job in helping to bring investment management at Farmers to a new level,” said CFO Scott Lindquist at the time of Williams’ promotion.

Maite Irakoze Baur, head of insurance investments at Farmers, will serve as acting CIO while the insurer conducts a search for a permanent replacement.

At Two Sigma, Williams will focus on data- and technology-driven products, as well as oversee the firm’s advisory business.

“We are at a watershed moment in institutional investing—every basis point matters in a market that is operationally and structurally very different since the financial crisis,” she said in a statement. “I’m excited to work with the team at Two Sigma to develop holistic solutions that put investors first.”

Two Sigma CEO Nobel Gulati said Williams’ background made her a perfect choice for the newly created role.

“Karyn’s experience as an allocator, consultant, and trustee uniquely positions her to partner with our clients to develop asset allocation, risk optimization, and execution solutions,” he said.

Prior to joining Farmers in 2013, Williams spent 12 years at Wilshire Associates as a senior consultant for large institutional investors. She holds a PhD in finance from Arizona State University.

Related: Farmers Insurance Names Karyn Williams as CIO & The Joy of Outsourcing