Hospital District considers change of investment manager

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Posted August 27, 2021 | By Matthew Cretul,


The Marion County Hospital District building is shown in this Aug. 27 photo. [Carlos Medina/Ocala Gazette]

Unhappy with the performance of one of their three portfolio managers, the Marion County Hospital District will hear pitches from two other companies to possibly handle part of its nearly $308 million in assets.

“We’ve looked at the performance of Simon Quick, which warrants us looking further at the proposals that we’ve received,” said Investment Committee Chairwoman Teresa Stephens during the board’s Aug 24 meeting.

Rich Bianculli, the MCHD Board of Trustees Chairman echoed those sentiments.

“We are concerned enough with the performance of Simon Quick that it’s necessary to look at other options,” he said.

The committee originally considered PMA Asset Management, Chandler Asset Management, Graystone Consulting (a Morgan Stanley company), and Regions Bank Institutional Services, all who submitted proposals to the board.

In the end, the committee decided to recommend the board hear in-person proposals from Graystone Consulting and Regions Institutional Services.

Just because the board will hear proposals, however, does not mean they will end their relationship with Simon Quick.

“I don’t think it would be appropriate to say, no matter hell or high water we’re firing these guys and we’re forcing ourselves [into choosing a new asset manager]. I think it’s fair to say, though, we are very concerned and we want to view other options,” said Binaculli.

The committee also discussed how they would evaluate the two finalists. Rather than look at clients Regions and Greystone offer, Board of Trustees Vice Chairman Sam McConnell suggested they should randomly select from a pool of the companies’ current accounts to judge success.

“Yeah, [they would] provide us similar type of accounts that they have worked with over a period of years and can give us those accounts and let us pick what we want to from that list at random, not knowing which one we’re going to pick,” he said.

Simon Quick was responsible for $89.3 million of the district’s portfolio at the beginning of fiscal year on Oct. 1, 2020, and despite increasing the portion to $101.1 million through the end of July, the company has delivered the lowest earnings during the 2020-21 fiscal year, including over three of the past four months. They also has a poor showing in July where they earned just over half of what the district’s two other portfolio management companies did.

By comparison, Berman Capital Advisors was responsible for $88.5 million at the beginning of the fiscal year and increased their portion to $101.5 million, while Truist (formerly SunTrust) started with $92.2 million and improved their share to $105 million. Overall, the district’s portfolio increased from $270.1 million to $307.7 million as of the end of July.

The last time the district made a change to their portfolio management companies was after the 2016 fiscal year when Berman Capital took over for Goldman Sachs.

It was not clear when the board would make a final decision.

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