Anthony S. Clark, chief investment officer of the Pennsylvania State Employees' Retirement System (SERS), has told the system he plans to retire Dec. 31. Clark's early retirement follows SERS's decision to begin investigating his actions while an executive of the $25 billion asset fund.

Clark, 60, has held the job since April 2011. He is paid $270,000 a year, more than Gov. Corbett but less than many of the investment managers Clark reviewed, hired, and fired as managers of state pension investments.

Calls to Clark's mobile phone and home in the Washington suburbs were not returned.

The SERS board is led by Philadelphia lawyer and former State Rep. Nicholas Maiale. According to a statement board members approved, "just before the Thanksgiving holiday, SERS board chairman was made aware of an allegation related to one of SERS' senior staff." SERS spokeswoman Pamela Hile confirmed to The Inquirer that the staff member was Clark. She and other SERS officials did not respond to questions about the allegation.

"To err on the side of caution, after we learned of the issue, the subject of the allegation did not return to the office, no longer had access to computer files," and was allowed to go on "personal/annual leave" status "while an investigation takes place," the statement said. The SERS board, which includes state officials, will meet Wednesday and plans "to begin work to engage an independent, third-party investigator. If there is merit to the allegation, we are eager to discover and address it," the statement said. "We are also eager, however, to ensure that conclusions are not drawn until a thorough, independent investigation has been completed."

Among his initiatives at SERS, Clark placed $250 million with hedge fund manager Tiger Management, a New York firm that Clark projected would produce relatively stable returns of 8 percent to 12 percent a year, but which instead lost money speculating on gold futures. Though Maiale and the board, at Clark's recommendation, overrode objections from two trustees and asked Tiger to keep managing state funds, Tiger later said it was shutting down the portfolio and returning SERS's investment.

Clark has an engineering degree from the University of Virginia and an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

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