Cabinet approves Chris Spencer as SBA chief
TALLAHASSEE, FLA. 2/7/23-Chris Spencer, director of policy & budget for Gov. Ron DeSantis, talks about the Governor’s proposed budget for 2023-24 during the House Appropriations Committee, Tuesday at the Capitol in Tallahassee. COLIN HACKLEY PHOTO

'The start date will be announced depending on how quickly we can get through this budget.'

Gov. Ron DeSantis’ top budget aide, Chris Spencer, will be moving to take over the top spot at the state agency handling Florida’s investments — just as soon as he’s finished analyzing the budget.

The Cabinet unanimously approved DeSantis’ nomination of Spencer to be Executive Director at the State Board of Administration (SBA), but DeSantis said Spencer won’t officially take over until his office is done scrutinizing the budget passed by the Legislature.

“The start date will be announced depending on how quickly we can get through this budget,” DeSantis said.

Lawmakers approved HB 5001 during the Regular Session, but have yet to formally send it to DeSantis’ desk. It’s typically among the last of the bills transmitted to the Governor each year. DeSantis’ team, though, is reviewing the $117.5 billion spending plan for possible line-item vetoes.

Spencer, who served as DeSantis’ Director of Policy and Budget for the last five years, will take over from Lamar Taylor, who has served as Interim Executive Director since Sept. 30, 2021, when Ash Williams left to be Vice President at J.P. Morgan Asset Management. Taylor will continue as the SBA’s Chief Investment Officer.

The SBA has $250.3 billion in assets that it manages, with the main fund being the Florida Retirement System, which held $260 billion at the end of 2023. It also oversees the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund, or Cat Fund, which acts as a reinsurance fund for insurers.

The Cabinet also approved sending a letter to Morningstar, a Chicago-based financial services firm, asking for written confirmation that a subsidiary has stopped flagging some companies doing business in the Israel-occupied West Bank as “Occupied Territories.”

Once confirmation is given, Morningstar will be removed from Florida’s “scrutinized companies” list that boycotts investments in companies that acquiesce to the boycott, divestment and sanction (BDS) movement urging businesses not to invest in companies doing business in the occupied territories.

“Clearly Morningstar is responding to Florida’s policy on anti-BDS which is good, and I think their actions are promising,” DeSantis said. “But I also agree with SBA’s recommendation and making sure Morningstar follows up with its commitments, including providing formal confirmation that the anti-Israel, pro-BDS tag and related criteria have been removed entirely.”

Gray Rohrer


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