Connecticut state treasurer Shawn Wooden is joining Apollo Global Management as a partner and chief public pension strategist to help expand the New York firm’s business with retirement systems, which typically are the largest investors in private equity funds.
Wooden and Apollo “will comply with all relevant restrictions,” an Apollo spokeswoman said, adding that he would join Apollo in late January.
Scott Kleinman, Apollo co-president, cited Wooden’s private and public sector experience as well as his professional network. Wooden is expected to “allow Apollo to offer tailored, aligned investment solutions to these leading institutions,” Kleinman said.
In April, Wooden said he wouldn’t seek re-election. His term ends in early January, when Treasurer-elect Erick Russell will succeed him in the office.
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Wooden was a lawyer focused on public pension plan investments before winning election to state office as a Democrat in 2018. He became the sole fiduciary to Connecticut’s pension system in January of the following year. He succeeded Democrat Denise Nappier in the $110,000-a-year job, which includes the role of making investments for the $45bn Connecticut Retirement Plans and Trust Funds.
Last year, Wooden won election to president of the National Association of State Treasurers, taking on that additional role in January of this year. A Hartford native, he served as president of the city council there before seeking statewide office.
After deciding not to campaign for re-election, Wooden sought state guidance as to whether he could accept a job, starting early next year, with a firm that manages some of the state’s pension investments, according to Ginny Kim, assistant general counsel and chief compliance and diversity officer in the Connecticut treasurer’s office.
Kim determined that Wooden’s move to the unnamed firm wouldn’t violate the “revolving door” provision of the state code of ethics, according to an informal opinion she sent to the state ethics office last week. The state has invested $125m in each of two Apollo funds, but Nappier authorised both of those commitments in 2013 and 2017, Kim noted.
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“No contracts or commitments were authorised, negotiated or renegotiated with [Apollo] or its affiliates by or during the Wooden administration, and treasurer Wooden himself did not participate in any way in the negotiation or award of any Treasury contracts” with Apollo, Kim wrote in the 22 November email, which didn’t name the firm. Wooden has taken no action, vote or other judgment regarding Apollo, she wrote.
A day later, the state ethics office issued an informal opinion that agreed with Kim that Wooden’s employment plans wouldn’t violate state ethics rules. But the office noted that “once he was scheduled for an interview with [Apollo], he was barred, in his state capacity, from having anything to do with [Apollo’s] state business.”
Brian O’Dowd, the state ethics office general counsel, also said that Wooden would have to seek advice from the office on how to proceed should any state business with the firm arise. He also said that Wooden would be bound by other post-employment provisions, including that he can’t divulge confidential state information and won’t be able to represent Apollo before the state for a year.
“Treasurer Wooden took the right steps,” ethics office executive director Peter Lewandowski said.
Wooden “sought an opinion from our office. He engaged his office to provide analysis, and we’ve reviewed this analysis and agreed with it as an independent agency,” Lewandowski said.
“He knows where to find us if he needs guidance,” he said.
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This article was published by The Wall Street Journal, a fellow Dow Jones Group title