COLUMBIA — The chief investment officer of South Carolina’s $25 billion pension fund is resigning to take a job with a private firm in North Carolina.
Robert Borden resigned Friday to become a managing partner and chief investment officer for FTA Partners, an investment firm set to launch in February with 30 employees and $1 billion in assets, The State newspaper reported Saturday.
Borden is leaving a job he’s held since 2006.
He has clashed with state Treasurer Curtis Loftis this year over his salary and expenses. The state Retirement Investment Commission voted this year to give Borden a 37 percent raise to $485,000 a year to help keep him in South Carolina.
At Loftis’ urging, the board voted weeks later to cut $65,000 from his bonus.
“Mr. Borden will be well served by being in private business,” said Loftis, one of five members on the commission that oversaw Borden. “I thank him for his service, and we need to move forward with somebody who is going to be more respectful of the public space.”
Borden declined to respond. He said the world’s financial chaos presents “once-in-a-generation investment opportunities,” and he wants to be where he has the freedom to take advantage of those.
“It’s a little frustrating that we can’t develop a compensation structure for investment managers in this state and leave it be,” Borden told the newspaper. He said that makes it harder for the state to attract good workers.
Sen. Greg Ryberg, R-Aiken and chairman of the Senate subcommittee studying how to reduce the retirement system’s $13 billion unfunded liability, credited Borden with organizing an investment team from scratch.
He added that Borden will remain on the job for another two months.
“We will reach out to him over that time for more assistance,” Ryberg said. “His departure will in no way impede reform and, in fact, I expect him to be only more candid from here on.”