Chris W. Waddell, now Senior Counsel at Olson Remcho, joined Olson, Hagel & Fishburn, LLP as a Senior Attorney in December 2008, where he headed the firm’s Public Retirement Law practice. In this role, Chris has been part of the FAS project teams working with the New York City Bureau of Asset Management and the Teacher Retirement System of Texas. Chris previously served as General Counsel for two California public retirement systems; first at the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS), the second largest public pension fund in the country, and later at the San Diego City Employees’ Retirement System (SDCERS). He has extensive experience in advising public pension trustees and staff on fiduciary obligations, Article XVI, Section 17 of the California Constitution (Proposition 162), the Political Reform Act, Government Code 1090, the Brown and Bagley-Keene open meetings acts, and the Public Records Act.
Chris currently serves as the outside General Counsel to the San Luis Obispo County Pension Trust, as the outside counsel for the CalSTRS Appeals Committee, and as fiduciary counsel to SDCERS, the Los Angeles County Employees Retirement Association (LACERA), and the three City of Los Angeles retirement systems. He has also worked with the San Diego County Employees’ Retirement Association and the City of Oakland Police and Fire Retirement System.
Prior to joining CalSTRS, Chris was the Chief Counsel for the California Department of Finance and before that was the Chief Counsel for the California Department of Personnel Administration. During a portion of his tenure at Finance, he served as the Department's representative on the CalSTRS Board. At both departments, he worked on a number of significant pension issues affecting CalSTRS and CalPERS.
Chris is the author of a study released in 2009 by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees entitled "Enhancing Public Retiree Plan Security: Best Practice Policies for Trustees and Pension Systems." He has served as a Corporate Governance Fellow at the Stanford Law School and was a Co-Director of the Stanford Fiduciary College. Chris was the lead author for the “Clapman 2.0 Report”, an update and expansion of the original 2007 Clapman report on pension fund governance best practices, issued by the Committee on Fund Governance of the Stanford Institutional Investors' Forum. He also authored a chapter entitled "Fulfilling Fiduciary Duties in an Imperfect World—Governance Recommendations from the Stanford Institutional Forum" for the Cambridge Handbook of Institutional Investment and Fiduciary Duty, published in 2014 by Cambridge Press.
Chris is a member of the California Association of Public Retirement Systems, the State Association of County Retirement Systems, and the National Association of Public Pension Plan Attorneys (NAPPA), where he served as the Chair of the Investment Section and Co-Chair of the Fiduciary Section. He has spoken frequently on fiduciary duty, pension governance, conflicts of interest, and securities litigation issues before the National Council on Teacher Retirement, NAPPA, CALAPRS, and the Stanford Fiduciary College. He has also testified before Congress, the California Legislature, the San Diego City Council, and the San Diego Charter Revision Commission.
Chris earned his Bachelor's degree in Political Science/Public Service from the University of California at Davis and his law degree from the McGeorge School of Law, where he was a writer and editor for the Pacific Law Journal. He is a member of the State Bar of California.