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Cowell Receives ‘Institutional Investor Trailblazer’ Award from National Foundation
New York — North Carolina State Treasurer Janet Cowell received the Institutional Investor Trailblazer Award at the Robert Toigo Foundation’s Annual Dinner in New York City Thursday. The Toigo Foundation works to bring diversity to the financial services industry through MBA fellowships, mentoring and tuition assistance. Cowell, the sole recipient of the award this year, was honored for her diversity efforts overseeing the state’s $90 billion pension fund.
“Treasurer Cowell has been selected for her high standards of excellence and her commitment to creating opportunity and advancement for diverse talent in her fund and among her fund’s managers,” Toigo stated in their award announcement. Additionally, they cited Cowell’s “advancement of diversity in this industry and the creation of opportunities for access to capital for emerging managers.”
“I accept this award on behalf of the entire North Carolina team,” Cowell said. “We believe in diversity both in terms of investment and expertise. We have diversified our portfolio in terms of the types of assets we invest in and we have also sought out a diverse, talented set of financial professionals to manage the pension fund both internally and externally.”
In 2012, Cowell announced a $300 million program to target small and emerging managers, which is outperforming industry benchmarks. Cowell also recently joined other large public pension funds in calling for the Securities and Exchange Commission to strengthen the disclosure of corporate board diversity.
Founded in 1989, the Robert Toigo Foundation is a nonprofit educational organization supported by numerous corporations, foundations, and individuals that share a commitment to ethnic diversity and ethical management of financial services.  The program aims to enhance the professional development of minority MBAs in the field of finance and to instill the highest ethical conduct and professionalism among its participants.
The North Carolina Retirement Systems, the formal name for the pension fund, is the tenth largest public pension fund in the country. It provides retirement benefits and savings for more than 900,000 North Carolinians, including teachers, state employees, firefighters, police officers and other public workers. For more information, visit