TRS Expands Diversity Recruiting by Partnering with Howard U

Albright: ‘Any number of Howard students may be tomorrow’s investments superstars – and we want them playing on our team for our members’ long-term financial security.’

Jerry Albright

With the unemployment rate for accounting and financial sector professionals at a low 2.2%, recruiting top, diverse talent in financial fields can be a challenge for public funds, but the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) just formed a partnership with Howard University School of Business  to help create a conduit to lure talent to the $153 pension fund and broaden recruiting efforts for the system’s investment management division.

“The benefit the partnership gives TRS’s investment management division over time is access to a broader range of talented young people considering pursuing a path in investment services,” TRS Chief Investment Officer Jerry Albright told CIO.  “We already have connections with various Texas schools and this is a natural next step.”

Howard, a private research university that is comprised of 13 schools and colleges, is known for producing more on-campus African-American Ph.D. recipients than any other university in the United States. 

The TRS fund is poised for significant growth as it approaches $200 billion AUM over the next several years, said Albright, “so we want to have that pipeline established, attracting talent from various parts of the nation. After all, ours is a business centered on innovative people and diverse relationships.”

TRS is Howard’s first public pension fund partner and will be granted access to the university’s resources via a corporate alliance effort established in 1993. Previously, Howard has formed collaborations with various private corporate partners such as, JPMorganChase, KPMG, and other financial services firms.

 “As partners, TRS will have the opportunity to provide internship opportunities and offer Howard University’s business students lectures when TRS professionals are visiting the D.C. area from Texas,” Albright said. 

TRS will be assigned a group of Howard students to work with and given access to the business school’s career services internal mobile app where TRS job openings and activity notifications will be directly shared with students and faculty. For Howard Business students, the program with TRS is an opportunity for early career training and development exposure to a top-ranked US public pension fund.

“Howard University School of Business is excited about our new and enriching partnership with the Teacher Retirement System of Texas,” said Dean Barron H. Harvey, Ph.D., CPA. “Having TRS participate in our very special 21st Century Advantage Program will further enhance an exceptional student development program. Partnering with one of the world’s largest pension fund systems will undoubtedly provide unique experiences and opportunities for our students.”

Albright told CIO, “Any number of Howard students may be tomorrow’s investments superstars – and we want them playing on our team for our members’ long-term financial security.

The head of TRS’s Emerging Manager Program,  Kirk Sims, is an alumnus of Howard University, and “he is committed to ensuring the success of the partnership,” Albright said. Sims joined TRS last month from the Teacher Retirement System of Illinois.

TRS’s partnership with Howard University also aligns with TRS’s development of a formal diversity and inclusion plan.

Albright noted, “By making ourselves available for introductions and discussions, we believe we are creating opportunity for meaningful interaction now in the classroom environment and possibly later, when career openings emerge for business school graduates.”


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