Governor’s aide and former GOP lawmaker Duncan Baird has been selected to lead the Arkansas Public Employees Retirement System (APERS), according to the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration and Gov. Asa Hutchinson.
Baird has served as State Budget Administrator at the Department of Finance and Administration since 2015, a position he has held after the election of Hutchinson.
A former Republican candidate for State Treasurer in 2014 and a State Representative from Northwest Arkansas’ District 96 from 2009 to 2015, Baird earned his degree in finance/investments at the University of Arkansas in 2003. His professional experience includes working as an investments and securities trader. Baird was also co-chair of the Joint Budget Committee during his legislative tenure.
“I applaud APERS trustees for their selection of Duncan Baird as its new executive director. For the past four years, Duncan has done an impressive job as my state budget director, and I am confident he will be a great fit in this new role,” said Gov. Hutchinson. “Now that the trustees have made their decision, we will begin to consider options to fill the state budget administrator position.”
Baird replaces Gail Stone, the longtime executive director of APERS, who announced her retirement in late 2018.
The APERS system is a pension fund for Arkansas state and local government employees as well as some judicial branch workers. It was created in 1957 and has evolved today to include more than 46,000 active members and more than 36,000 retired members, according to APERS 2017 annual report.
For the last five years, the system’s annualized rate of return has been 9.85%. It controlled more than $8.8 billion in assets at the end of its FY 2017 report.