Orange County Pension Seeks ‘Second Opinion’ Consultant

A doozy of an RFP awaits risk specialists interested in working alongside Meketa.

Girard MillerGirard Miller, CIO, OCERS (Art by Tim Bower)Orange County’s pension (OCERS) replaced NEPC with Meketa Investment Group last month, and is now in the market for another consultant to sub-advise. 

OCERS has issued an exploratory request for proposal (RFP) for a “strategic and risk advisor.” A consultant in this role would serve as “an independent and secondary advisor to the board and CIO,” and as the primary portfolio-risk assessor. 

This is the first role of its kind for OCERS and, according to CIO Girard Miller, “a brand-new concept in public pension governance.” 

Providing a “second opinion” to fund leadership and “constructive devil’s advocacy” to Meketa’s views would be core to the role, the FRP stated. Miller envisioned a five-year mandate fulfilled by two individual consultants from the winning firm. 

The $12 billion investment office already retains consultants for general guidance (Meketa), hedge funds (Aksia), real estate (RVK), and risk (BlackRock). Should OCERS move forward with the new role, Aksia’s and BlackRock’s mandates could be up for consolidation.

“For bidders, it’s all about brains over brawn,” Miller said in a statement. “We don’t need a dozen consultants here to screw in a light bulb. Proposals should be frugal, lean, and mean.”    

Drafting a lean response to OCERS’ RFP could prove challenging. The fund’s custom questionnaire for a general consultant ran 56 pages, earning the nickname “the RFP from Hell.” 

For this search, candidates must complete all but the last eight questions of the generalist RFP (if they hadn’t already bid), plus 20 new questions, a two-part executive summary, and a comprehensive fee proposal. 

Interested firms must submit finished proposals by July 1. 

Related: Orange County Pension: Meketa In, NEPC OutThe RFP from Hell; 2015 Industry Innovation Awards: Girard Miller