State's retirement guru to retire

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You may not know his name, but Howard Bicker has made a significant impact on the retirement security that thousands of state employees enjoy.

The Associated Press reports that Bicker is preparing to exit the post of executive director for the State Board of Investment after 32 years as its leader. Bicker manages $65 billion in state assets in public pension accounts.

Bicker has won praise for his savvy and prudent management of the portfolio. The world of high finance has grown increasingly sophisticated during his tenure, and Bicker has gone from overseeing common stock and bond trades done in-house to working with outside investment companies and international stock holdings. He's had a steady hand through the wild swings of the stock market.

"I've been accused of being an old fuddy duddy. That's fine," Bicker told the AP. "We don't chase the new fancy Wall Street stuff everyone wants to play with."

Bicker is one of the rare state officials allowed to outearn the governor; his salary is roughly $250,000. Those in the investment field point out that he could have earned several times that in the private arena.

The AP reports the state will pay a search firm about $120,000 to find his successor.

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