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The Pension Bridge Annual 2014

THE PENSION BRIDGE Annual, San Francisco

The Four Seasons Hotel

Tuesday April 22nd, 2014

  Click Here to Download a PDF version of the agenda

7:10 AM



Sponsored by:

8:10 AM

Opening Remarks

8:15 AM

Keynote Speaker


“Ten Ways Your Consultant Has Gotten it Wrong”


Stephen Cummings, CFA, CEO, Senior Partner, Hewitt EnnisKnupp, Inc.


8:45 AM

Keynote Session - Macroeconomic View

  • Fed’s Role in the Stock Market and Bond Market
  • Effects of Fed Tapering – Should we expect a Bernanke Hangover?
  • Fed’s Balance Sheet
  • How is the Health of the US Consumer? – Savings Rate, Disposable Income, Debt, Homeowner Equity
  • Unemployment – how bad are the Actual Figures? Has the Employment-Population Ratio Improved and is that a More Accurate Measurement?
  • Housing Market Outlook
  • Stock Market Outlook
  • Earnings Growth – Not Supporting Stock Market Run?
  • Bond Market Expectations – will we reach the Historical Norm for Rates and what might be the Consequence?
  • Derivatives Risk from Rising Interest Rates
  • Outlook for the Dollar – is the World’s Reserve Currency Status in Jeopardy?
  • Inflation from Fed Policies – when will the Excess Bank Reserves make its way to the Consumer side and Create Inflation?
  • European Sovereign Debt Crisis
  • Future Municipal Bond Defaults – Expectations and Implications
  • Is there a Black Swan Event in the Future? What would be the most likely cause?


Marshall Acuff, CFA, Trustee, Virginia Retirement System



Joseph S. Tanious, CFA, Executive Director, Global Market Strategist, J.P. Morgan Asset Management

Peter Boockvar, Chief Market Analyst, The Lindsey Group


9:15 AM

Keynote Panel – Contrasting Risk Parity and LDI Asset Allocation Models – the Benefits of a Dynamic Program


The market downturn in 2008 showed the shortcomings of the total return model. Unwinding an unsustainable asset allocation policy can be costly under market duress with little flexibility to adjust portfolio positioning. A dynamic asset allocation approach allows pension plans to manage assets in a manner that balances the rewards of investment return opportunities with the inherent risks embedded in the liabilities. Taking equity and bond market valuations and past performance into consideration, we’ll hear about which asset allocation model makes the most sense going forward.

(A) Risk Parity

  • Risk Parity Explained
  • Risk/Return in the Past Decade
  • Why does Risk Parity Make Sense Now?
  • Risk Parity – the Poster Child for Current Environment or will Bonds become Less Likely to Protect against Volatility in Equities?
  • Will there be Drawdowns during a Rising Rates Environment or will it be Muted?
  • How would a Risk Parity Portfolio have Performed in Past Rate Increase Periods?
  • Risk Parity Flaws – Discuss the following and a Solution for each:
    • Leverage and more importantly, Leveraging the Inappropriate Assets
    • Over-Reliance on Bonds while Ignoring Valuations
    • Don’t have the Ability to go Short and only a Positive Weight to Asset
    • Many Portfolio Construction Approaches only consider Volatility Risk, Not Tail Risk or Drawdown Risk
    • Leverage and Illiquidity Do Not Mix
  • Is Tail Risk Parity the newest Trend? Explain the Concept of Measuring Expected Tail Loss rather than Volatility, Cheaper Hedges for Protection, Reducing Tail Risks while Retaining More Upside than Risk Parity

(B) Liability Driven Investment, (LDI)

  • What is LDI and how is it Interpreted in the Market?
  • Does LDI make sense right now considering Current and Future Market Conditions?
  • Low Pension Funded Status and Low Interest Rates – what are Plans doing to address these hurdles?
  • Reducing Funding Ratio Volatility
  • Risk/Return – does embracing LDI mean giving up much needed Returns?
  • Are Plan Liabilities the only appropriate Benchmark?
  • Understanding the Components of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation
  • Beyond the Ability to Earn Excess Returns, what should Investors look for in Selecting LDI Managers?
  • Understanding Implementation Approaches, Strategies and Issues
  • How to Implement LDI in a Pubic Fund Context – are the LDI Methods Applicable?
  • Risk Transfer – Lump Sum Payments, Buyouts – what Trends are we seeing?
  • How is LDI Compatible with the New Developments in Pension Risk Transfer?

(C) Dynamic Asset Allocation Strategy

  • Model Return Assumptions and Managing Risk more Effectively – Reflecting Valuations and Economic Regimes, Changing Risk Premium and Correlations
  • Explanation of the Intent – Preserve Funded Status Improvements, De-Risk, Take Advantage of Market Anomalies with Flexibility, Negate Tactical Decisions, Incorporate Plan-Specific Considerations via the Glide Path
  • Changes in Allocation – are we attempting to Time the Market or is it Based on Predefined Rules?
  • How does the Dynamic Asset Allocation Model Map out Changes to the Plan’s Makeup based on the Funded Status and Current Interest Rate Levels?
  • Opportunistic Component – Benefiting from any level of Market Volatility?
  • Implementing Dynamic Asset Allocation – Establishing a series of Target Allocations or Glide Path
  • Which types of Triggers do you Favor for Moving Down the Glide Path?
  • How have some Public Plans faired with a Dynamic Allocation Approach?
  • What Changes or Steps need to be considered in order to Achieve a more Dynamic Approach to Asset Allocation?



Neil Rue, CFA, Managing Director, Pension Consulting Alliance, Inc., (PCA)



Gretchen Tai, Chief Investment Officer, Global Treasury, Hewlett-Packard Company

Richard Charlton, CEO/Chairman, NEPC, LLC

Julia K. Bonafede, CFA, President, Wilshire Consulting


10:00 AM

Refreshment Break

10:30 AM

Risk Premia Investing

Presented by:


For the past several years, de-risking has been at the forefront of the minds of the institutional investors. In the past, equity risk or, more appropriately, how to minimize the equity risk in the institutional portfolios dominated the discussion among institutional investors. Today, it’s fixed income risk that occupies investors’ minds. Although there is no shortage of de-risking ideas, implementation of de-risking strategies has been uneven among institutional investors. Risk premia strategy provides a clear path to improving plan diversification.

  • Overview of the Risk Profile of a typical Institutional Portfolio
  • Risk Parity – a Portfolio Construction Methodology, Not an Investment Strategy
  • Benefits and Short-Comings of Existing Asset Based Risk Parity Portfolios
  • Risk Premia Strategy – Introduction and Implementation



Soonyong Park, CFA, CPA, Senior Managing Director, Chief Institutional Client Strategist, Janus Capital Institutional


11:00 AM

Risk Management and Adopting a Risk Culture

  • How has the Financial Crisis changed the way Pension Plans Measure and Manage Risk?
  • What kinds of Future Risk should US Pension Plans be most wary of?
  • Understanding Current Asset Class Behavior Risk – Interest Rate and Inflation Shocks tend to Drive Equities and Bonds in the Same Direction
  • Integration of Risk Management and Portfolio Modeling
  • Techniques – what are the most effective Asset Allocation Strategies for dealing with Future Financial Challenges?
  • Correlation and Drawdown Risk
  • Transparency and Liquidity Risk – Basing it on a Cost/Benefit Evaluation
  • What’s the best Approach to Liquidity Risk as it Applies to Meeting Future Cash Flow Obligations?
  • The Importance of Monitoring Counterparty Risk being taken by Managers
  • Leverage Risk – what are the Best Approaches to keep these Risks within Acceptable Parameters?
  • How has the Role of Fiduciary Responsibility Changed in this new Era of Risk?
  • What Considerations do Boards Need in order to Adopt a more Risk Cultural View? How can Fiduciaries Adapt and Safeguard against today’s Challenges?
  • How do you go about Educating a Board on Risk?
  • How does a Plan’s Size affect the Approach to Pension Risk Management?
  • What will Risk Management Best Practice look like in the Future? – Risk Adjusted Returns?
  • What Developments have we seen for Combining Several Risk Premiums as a part of Portfolio Diversification?


Karyn L. Williams, Ph.D., Head of Insurance Investments, Farmers Insurance Group



Guan Seng Khoo, Ph.D., Vice President, Risk Management, Alberta Investment Management Corporation, (AIMCo)

Karen Pham Van, Director of Risk Management, Balestra Capital Ltd. 

Eugene L. Podkaminer, CFA, Senior Vice President, Capital Markets Research, Callan Associates, Inc.

Robert J. Schoen, Co-Head of Global Asset Allocation, Putnam Investments


11:45 AM

Next Generation Fixed Income Strategies


With traditional fixed income at risk after a 30 year bull market, investors are expected to move an estimated $1 trillion out of bonds and shift the assets into next generation debt strategies over the next three to five years. The landscape of the asset class is in the early stages of a drastic transformation.

  • Assessing the Current Environment: Fed Policy, Interest Rates, Spreads, U.S. Dollar, Foreign Investment in US Treasuries, Global Fixed Income Landscape and Default Rate Expectations
  • Supply and Demand Imbalance in Long-Duration Fixed Income
  • Need and Appetite for Alternative, Opportunistic, Absolute Return, Unconstrained, Active Approaches
  • Understanding how to Select Alternative Managers – Multi-Sector, Multi-Region and Multi-Currency Skill Set
  • Portfolio Construction – Need for Increased Disaggregation of Alpha Sources and the Dangers of Correlations that are Unseen
  • Modern Risk Management – what Progress have we seen for Developing a Risk Premium Approach applied to Next Generation Fixed Income Portfolios? What Dynamic Approaches are Valid?
  • Using Structured Products, Swaps and Derivatives to Create Alpha and Hedge Volatility
  • Why Invest in Emerging Markets Local Fixed Income? Is Currency Risk Higher?
  • Opportunities in Global and Emerging Market Debt – why is it Appealing?
  • Making the case for Corporate Debt – Less Sensitivity to Rising Rate Environment
  • Bank Loans – Attractive or Not a Good Hedge in Rising Rate Environment?
  • Landscape for MBS Market with GSE Reform Considerations
  • Inflation Protection – Risk/Reward for TIPS, Interest Rate and Inflation Swaps, Inflation Bonds and Overlays
  • The $10 Billion Trade Finance Market – will this be the Future for Short Duration Credit because of Basel III?


Scottie D. Bevill, Senior Investment Officer - Global Bonds and Real Return, Teachers' Retirement System of the State of Illinois



Jesse L. Fogarty, CFA, FRM, Managing Director, Portfolio Management, Cutwater Asset Management

Sonal Desai, Ph.D., Senior Vice President, Portfolio Manager, Director of Research, Global Bonds, Franklin Templeton Fixed Income Group

Michael J. Collins, CFA, Managing Director and Senior Investment Officer, Prudential Fixed Income

Christian G. Pariseault, CFA, Senior Vice President and Director of Bonds, U.S., Pyramis Global Advisors


12:30 PM


Sponsored by:

Allocations to Protect Against a Rising Interest Rate Environment (outside of Fixed Income Strategies), While Achieving Non-Correlation and Diversification

Real Asset Strategies

Where or when is the inflation? While assets of the Federal Reserve have tripled over the past few years, there has been little or no loan growth during that time. The money has remained in the banks with no incentive to lend because the Fed has paid interest on bank reserves. As rates rise, it will cause the excess reserves to make its way to the consumer side of the monetary base as banks will seek out the higher interest they will get paid. This will create the inflation many have been expecting, barring an unlikely flawless Fed exit strategy of tapering and draining reserves.

With many pension plans increasing their allocations to Real Asset Strategies, demand is expected to remain strong as they search for higher income potential, lower correlations and inflation protection.


1:40 PM


  • Current Market Environment and Outlook – why is now the Time to Increase your Allocation?
  • View on Sub-Sectors or Pockets of Value
  • Long Term Global Supply, Demand, Pricing, Fed Policy and China as Factors
  • Diversification and Low Historical Correlation to Equities - will Inflation bring back Lower Correlation?
  • Commodities as an Inflation Hedge
  • Performance during Previous Down Equity Markets
  • Understanding the Different Approaches to Investing in Commodities – Equities, Indexes, Futures, Real Assets
  • Trend of Real Assets in Favor of Indexes – What are the Benefits?
  • Argument that Natural Resource Stocks are a bad way to get Commodities Exposure – Less Correlation to Inflation than Commodities, Higher Correlation to Equities, Different Return Pattern to the Commodity, Higher Volatility, Lower Diversification Benefit
  • Investing in Long/Short vs. Long Only
  • Active vs. Passive
  • What are the Key Criteria that would lead to Manager Outperformance?
  • Risk Factors
  • How concerned should we be with the Regulatory Environment – Effect on Pension Plans?


Vijoy Chattergy, CAIA, Chief Investment Officer, State of Hawaii Employees' Retirement System, (HIERS)



Nick Koutsoftas, Portfolio Manager and SVP, Cohen & Steers Capital Management Inc.

James C. Biddle, Founder, CEO and Portfolio Manager, Verdis Investment Management


2:10 PM

Natural Resources - Agriculture/Farmland

  • Attributes – Natural Inflation Hedge, Low Correlation, Diversification, Income Generation
  • Positive Global Macro Trends – Population Growth, Emerging Markets, Increase in Pricing, Supply/Demand
  • Federal Crop Insurance to Safeguard against Droughts
  • Return Expectations – making sense in a Low Return Environment
  • Various Ways to Invest in Global Agriculture
  • Benefits of Active Management
  • Long Term Performance – Low Risk, High Return
  • What are the Key Criteria that would lead to Manager Outperformance?


Jim Gasperoni, CFA, Partner, FLAG Capital Management, LLC


2:25 PM


  • Inflation Hedge, Diversification and Low Correlation Characteristics
  • Projections of Global Energy Supply/Demand and Consumption
  • China and Emerging Market Consumption Projections
  • Oil and Gas Pricing Trends – Are Investments likely to produce Returns Independent of Prices?
  • Access – Public, (Stocks and MLPs), Indexes, Futures, Private, (Direct, Funds, Fund of Funds)
  • What are the Advantages of Investing in Private Energy?
  • Market Underserved by Private Equity Capital?
  • Recent and Long-Term Performance
  • Upstream, Midstream and Downstream
  • Equipment and Services Sector Growth Demands
  • Rapid Growth of Oil and Gas Production
  • The Shale Oil and Gas Revolution and what it means for the U.S.


David Altshuler, Partner, StepStone Group

2:40 PM


  • Deal Flow Activity and Fundraising Environment
  • Objective in Portfolio – Diversification, Inflation Protection, etc.
  • Infrastructure Demand and Size of the Market – where are they projected to be for the Future?
  • Infrastructure Spending/Funding Gap – Explanation of the Shortfall and how it Translates into Increased Opportunities for Pension Plans
  • What is a Suitable Benchmark?
  • In which Sectors will investors find the best Opportunities and Returns?
  • Energy Infrastructure – Big Opportunity Set or Too Much Capital rushing into the Sector?
  • Trend of Infrastructure Debt, (Non-Bank) – How Attractive is it?
  • Implementation Approaches – Primary Partnerships, Direct, Co-Investment, Fund of Funds, Publicly Listed – MLP’s, Separate Accounts. What are the Advantages and Limitations of each?
  • What are the Key Elements for a Good Infrastructure Investment?
  • What should you look for when Selecting an Infrastructure Manager?
  • Mature vs. Emerging Markets, U.S. vs. Europe
  • How has Performance been and what are the Return Expectations from Plan Sponsors?
  • Valuations of Infrastructure Assets over the past few years in a Low Interest Rate Environment and Implications for Valuations when Interest Rates Rise
  • Risk/Return Profiling – which Infrastructure Assets are classified as High Risk and Low Risk?
  • What are the Largest Challenges/Risks associated with Infrastructure Investing?


Randall P. Mullan, Senior Portfolio Manager, Infrastructure & Forestland Investments, California Public Employees' Retirement System, (CalPERS)



Raj Agrawal, Head of North American Infrastructure, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, (KKR)

Vinit Srivastava, Senior Director, Strategy Indices, S&P Dow Jones Indices

Abel Mojica III, Head of Corporate Development, Tortoise Capital Advisors


3:10 PM

Currency and Currency Alpha


Central banks stimulus policy around the world has crushed currency volatility. As developed economies begin to depart from global central bank easing, higher rates will cause currency volatility to recover. Unlike other asset classes, volatility is considered a positive for currency which supports increased opportunity and performance, especially for active management.

  • Explanation of why Central Bank Efforts and Low Rates Created a Challenging Environment with Diminished Returns – why it will Improve
  • Relationship of Volatility and Currency Returns – Extended Volatility Period Ahead?
  • Goals of a Currency Program
  • How does Investing in Currency Diversify and Reduce Risk? Natural Diversifier for the Duration Risk in Bonds?
  • Non-Correlated Returns to Equities, Fixed Income, and other Alternative Investments
  • Liquid and Transparent Market
  • Active Management to Benefit in the Coming Years?
  • What is Currency Alpha and how is it done?
  • Can Currencies be Forecasted via Fundamentals, Cycles and Trends?
  • Importance of Currency Hedging to Reduce Portfolio Volatility and Risk
  • Managing Currency Risk Factors



Jonathan J. Miles, CFA, CAIA, Vice President, Head of Alternative Strategies, Wilshire Associates



Matthew F. Murphy, Jr., CFA, CAIA, Vice President, Global Portfolio Manager, Eaton Vance Investment Managers

Lowell H. Yura, CFA, ASA, Head Strategist, Americas & UK, Global Investment Solutions, Managing Director, UBS Global Asset Management


3:40 PM

Refreshment Break


Sponsored by:


Additional Strategies to Achieve Non-Correlation and Diversification


We now understand that diversification models were flawed during the last market downturn. With the S&P rising as high as 180% since the 2009 lows, it’s been widely agreed upon that Fed stimulus has played a large role in the rally. With slow economic growth and Fed tapering on the horizon, the importance of finding investments with a non-correlation to Equities, Alternatives and Fixed Income has become even more crucial for portfolio protection.


4:10 PM

Tail Risk Hedging

  • Understanding Tail Risk Frequency, Severity and Impact
  • Globalization of Capital Markets Leading to a Connected Marketplace
  • Importance of Understanding where in the Market your Existential Tail Risks come from and how big they could be – Analysis of your Liquidity and Leverage
  • Limits of Diversification and Beta Hedging
  • What types of Strategies and Approaches are used to Hedge?
  • Derivatives Overlay Hedges – Dedicated and Customized
  • Option Overlay Strategy – Cash Flow Generation in Down Markets but can you Maintain Upside Exposure in Rising Markets?
  • Active Management
  • Pension Plans developing a Contingency Plan – What are the Best Practices to Navigate through Stressful Periods?
  • Is this a good time to Mitigate Equity Tail Risk?
  • Is Raising Cash a proper Tail-Risk Strategy?
  • Disadvantages – Cost, Implementation, Risks, etc.


Bradley J. Johnson, CFA, Managing Director, Cambridge Associates LLC



Paul B. Stephens, Vice President and Department Head, Chicago Board Options Exchange

Thomas B. Lee, CFA, Senior Portfolio Manager, Parametric Clifton


4:40 PM

Managed Futures

  • Global Macro’s place in the Hedge Fund Industry – what are the key Differences from other Hedge Fund Strategies?
  • Diversification and Non-Correlation to Equities and Hedge Fund Strategies
  • Performance during Periods of Stress or Crisis Events
  • Decreasing Depth of Portfolio Drawdowns and Volatility
  • Qualitative Traits – Liquid, Transparent and Regulated
  • Increasing your Exposure to Global Markets and Non-Financial Sectors
  • Do Managed Futures provide an Inflation Hedge?
  • How to Implement an Allocation to Managed Futures
  • How do you Manage Risk and Volatility?
  • Historical Performance of Managed Futures
  • CTA Recent Underperformance – why and what are the Expectations Going Forward?


John Claisse, PhD, Head of Portfolio Group, Albourne America, LLC



David E. Francl, Director, Hedge Funds and Operations – Retirement Investments, Intel Corporation

Chris Stanton, Partner, Chief Investment Officer, and Portfolio Manager, Sunrise Capital Partners LLC


5:10 PM

Mezzanine Debt

  • How will the Debt Maturity Wall and Dry Powder Affect Mezzanine?
  • Significant Demand for Mezzanine and how the Credit Crisis changed the Providers of Capital
  • Banks – where are they as Lenders, Underwriters and Providers of Leverage due to Regulation from Dodd Frank? Is this a Secular Trend and what does it mean for Mezz?
  • How much Activity are you seeing for Mezz Loans now? Expectations for the Future?
  • Mezz Stability, Non-Correlation and Performance During Economically Challenged Times – Peak to Trough Drawdown compared to PE Sub-Sectors and other Asset Classes
  • How are Deals being Structured and Priced?
  • What does the Cash Flow Model and Return Structure look like?
  • Obstacles, Competition, Liquidity, Pricing and Returns Expectations
  • Middle Market Advantages – Funding Gap, Fewer Providers, etc.


Thomas J. Spoto, Managing Director, Head of US Co-Investments, AlpInvest Partners, Inc. 


5:25 PM

Commodity Trade Finance


The estimated $10 trillion market supports more than 80% of global trade. Due to Basel III bank reserve capital requirements to cover their loans, we’re seeing the development of alternative sources of non-bank credit. Commodity Trade Finance is set to catch on big with institutional investors.

  • The Effects of Basel III Regulations and how it will cause Commodity Trade Finance Demand to Emerge
  • Is this the Future for Short Duration Credit?
  • How does it Fit in the Fixed Income or Credit Bucket?
  • Attractive Characteristics of Commodity Trade Finance – Diversification, Non-Correlation, Low Volatility, Low Duration, Lower Risk, Collateralized
  • Commodity Trade Finance Risk – Not Market Risk but Contract Risk making Execution/Operational Capabilities more Important
  • What is the Length of Short Term and Long Term Investments?
  • What are some Case Studies or Examples of Trade Finance Investments?
  • Any Regulatory Concerns or Actions from the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision that might soften the blow to Commodity Trade Finance and change the Demand?


Jean-Louis Laurens, Global Head of Asset Management, Rothschild Asset Management, Inc.


5:40 PM

Structured Investments in Healthcare Companies and Products

  • Healthcare Royalties vs. Structured Investments in Healthcare Companies and Products – differentiation explained
  • Examining Trends in the Healthcare/Pharma Industry and the Role of Royalty Contracts
  • How Large is the Opportunity? Why the Increased Popularity?
  • Investment Characteristics – Liquidity/Cash Flow Strategy, Non-Correlation and Diversification from Private Equity Portfolio
  • Cash Flows from Investments in Royalty Contracts
  • Royalty Investing Structures – Passive/Traditional Royalties, Royalty Bonds, Synthetic Royalties, Structured Debt Collateralized by Royalties or Drug Revenues
  • What Asset Class/Bucket should it be in?


Todd C. Davis, Founding Managing Director, HealthCare Royalty Partners


5:55 PM


Lifetime Achievement Award


Presented by: Gregory C. Allen, President, Director of Research, Callan Associates, Inc.


Recipient: Ronald D. Peyton, Chairman & CEO, Callan Associates, Inc.

Mr. Peyton joined Callan Associates in 1974. His stability, experience and unwavering commitment to our industry is recognized by The Pension Bridge. Mr. Peyton is a leader and pioneer in our industry. His dedication to research and education is evident with the development of “Callan Investments Institute” in 1980 and “Callan College” in 1993. His many accomplishments have helped our industry evolve during his 40 years of service.



6:00 PM

Cocktail Reception

7:15 PM

Cocktail Reception Concludes

Wednesday April 23rd, 2014

7:15 AM


Sponsored by:

8:15 AM

Emerging Markets

  • Long Term Global Outlook – Weaker Growth Expectations?
  • What are the Demographics driving Growth in Emerging Markets?
  • What Major Developments have we seen in the Past Year?
  • Will Concerns about an End to Monetary Easing in Developed Economies Weigh on Capital Inflows?
  • What would be the Effects on Emerging Markets if we see a Recession in Developed Markets?
  • BRIC Countries – GDP, Growth, Debt and Reserves in comparison to Developed Markets
  • Breaking down BRIC Prospects – which Countries offer the best Opportunities and Returns?
  • China’s Slowing Growth – is a Hard Landing possible or will China avoid it with more Rate Cuts and Monetary Stimulus?
  • Public vs. Private Emerging Markets – Benefits and Drawbacks of each
  • Frontier Markets – Investing for Diversification and Lower Correlation to Developed Markets
  • Which Markets in Frontier Countries can you profit from Growing Local Consumption?
  • MENA Outlook – Pros and Cons
  • How has the Asset Class Evolved?
  • What is an appropriate Long-Term Allocation to Emerging Markets?
  • Do you consider Emerging Markets to be an Inefficient Asset Class?
  • Choosing an Emerging Markets Fund or Manager – should you be Investing by Region, Country or Sector?
  • Which Rapidly Growing Sectors within Emerging Markets offer the Best Opportunity?
  • The Case for Emerging Markets Corporate Debt
  • Active vs. Passive Debate
  • How do Valuations look Relative to Risk? Are Risk and Return in Balance?
  • How should Inflation and Currency Risk be factored in?
  • Given the Current Environment, will Emerging Markets Outperform Developed Markets?


Colleen A. Smiley, Vice President, Meketa Investment Group, Inc.



Alpha Ba, M.SC., CFA, Vice President & Portfolio Manager, AGF Investments Inc.

Kristina Kalebich, CFA, Senior Vice President, Co-Head of Portfolio Specialists, Calamos Investments

Peter M. Burns, Managing Director, Commonfund Capital

8:55 AM

Hedge Funds


(A) Current and Future State of the Hedge Fund Industry

  • How large is the Industry now? How many Good Hedge Funds are there?
  • Pension Inflows – are they still going to the Largest Hedge Funds? Are there Capacity Constraints with the most Desirable Hedge Funds?
  • What have you seen regarding Small Hedge Fund Performance vs. Large Hedge Fund Performance?
  • How to go about debunking the Misconception that Hedge Funds are Risky
  • What does the Future hold for Fund of Funds? How is the Industry Changing and how should you Adapt?
  • Transparency and Risk Aggregation Data – are they valuable and accurate?
  • Explain the Benefits of Open Protocol Enabling Risk Aggregation (OPERA), Standards
  • Valuation Procedures and Controls
  • Fees – what sort of Trends are you seeing? Do Investors have the ability to Renegotiate?
  • How do you assess the Tradeoff between Lower Fees and Longer Lock-ups?
  • Returns of Liquid Strategies Lagging Private Partnership Versions of the Same Approach – why and will this continue?
  • Importance of Operations Due Diligence. Any recent Developments? How often should Operations be Reviewed?
  • How do you Explain Recent Industry Underperformance?

(B) Hedge Fund Portfolio Construction, Selection and Strategies

  • Considerations for Selecting the right Hedge Fund or Fund of Funds – Due Diligence and Manager Selection. What are the Key Traits you should be looking for?
  • Deciding Between Fund of Funds vs. Direct – Key Considerations
  • What sort of innovative Changes have Fund of Funds adopted to stay relevant to their Pension Clients?
  • Specialization – the Future Norm?
  • Long-Short Hedge Funds – should they be in the Domestic Equity Allocation to Reduce Exposure?
  • Which Strategies offer more Transparency and Liquidity?
  • Should you ask for a Separate Account?
  • Is the Trend towards Managed Accounts the Future? Understanding the Benefits of Increased Transparency and Control, more Liberal Liquidity Terms for Redemption/Termination, Outsourcing Operational Oversight/Support
  • Does Portfolio Construction change based on the Size of the Portfolio?
  • How many Hedge Fund Strategies do you need?
  • Can Hedge Fund Strategies be Tactically Managed?
  • Do you find Opportunities within the Global Macro Space attractive and if so, why?
  • Hedge Fund Replication – will this Strategy catch on? How do the Fees and Returns Compare?
  • If there was a Hedge Fund Strategy you would Invest in over the next Decade, which one would it be and why?


Lincoln Smith, CFA, Portfolio Analyst, Albourne America, LLC



David Barenborg, Managing Director, BlackRock Alternative Advisors, LLC

Ben Bronson, CFA, CAIA, Investment Officer, Liquid Strategies, Fire and Police Pension Association of Colorado

Jeffrey Willardson, CFA, CQF, Managing Director, Portfolio Manager: Portfolio Solutions, Pacific Alternative Asset Management Company, LLC, (PAAMCO)

Derek Drummond, CAIA, Senior Analyst, State of Wisconsin Investment Board

David M. Perry, Principal/Senior Managing Director, TeamCo Advisers, LLC


9:55 AM

Refreshment Break

10:25 AM

Distressed Debt

  • Where are we in the Distressed Cycle? How much of the Opportunity remains?
  • How have Financing Markets Activity affected the Opportunity Set and what is the Outlook? Maturity Wall?
  • Which Sectors, Strategies and Geographies will create the Best Opportunities?
  • Scope of the Distressed Market and Segments – Corporate Credit, Structured Credit, Commercial Real Estate, Hard Assets, Liquidations, Segmentation by Deal Size, etc.
  • Eurozone Opportunities – what Investments are sensible and when will they Arrive in Scale? Still Too Early? Which Countries, Sectors, Types of Deals should be looked at?
  • U.S. Distressed Opportunity vs. the European Opportunity – what do we need to know before making Allocation Decisions?
  • Do you see Opportunities in Asia?
  • Control vs. Non-Control – which do you see as the Best Strategy?
  • How does a Pension Plan go about choosing the right Distressed Strategy, Investment Style and Approach?
  • What Skill Sets/Characteristics should Pension Plans look for in a Distressed Manager?
  • Importance of Patience and staying Defensive
  • Effects of Basel III, Dodd-Frank and Volker Rule on the Opportunity Set?
  • What are the Implications and Risks associated with Investing in Distressed now? Pitfalls of the Economy?
  • What Returns can Investors expect over the next Five Years?


Pete A. Keliuotis, CFA, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, Strategic Investment Solutions, Inc. (SIS)



Jonathan Mandle, CFA, Partner, Head of Credit and Total Return Strategies, Corrum Capital Management

Keith Williams, Managing Director, Senior Portfolio Manager, Crestline Investors, Inc.

Jack Ross, Principal and Co-Founder, Waterfall Asset Management

11:00 AM

Credit Strategies

  • Current State of the Credit Market
  • Where are we in the Credit Cycle and how will it play out?
  • Would you say that Bargain Buys have been Tough to Find and Firms have been for the most part Sitting on Cash over the past few years?
  • Any Lessons Learned from 2008 that we can apply to Today’s Environment?
  • Debt coming Due in from Amend-and-Extend – how should Investors be Positioned?
  • Default Rates and Expectations
  • How is the Credit Quality of New Issuance?
  • What do you expect will be New Issuance Volumes in ABS, CLOs, CMBS and RMBS in 2014 versus 2013?
  • Where are we in the High Yield Market? What’s the Upside and Downside from here?
  • CLO Market Outlook and Reinvestment Challenge
  • Dodd-Frank Risk Retention Requirement to Dramatically Shrink CLO Market by up to 75%? What are the Far-Reaching Effects?
  • State of Securitized Markets
  • What is the potential impact of BASEL III, Dodd-Frank, and the Volker rule on opportunities in Securitized Credit?
  • What is your Longer-Term Prognosis for Spreads in the Securitized Credit Markets?
  • Trade Finance – will this be the Future for Short Duration Credit because of Basel III?
  • European Sovereign Debt Crisis and the Opportunity Set
  • How do you Manage a Credit Program in a Volatile Market?
  • How can Pension Plans take advantage of the available Opportunities and Profit from it?
  • How should Pension Plans go about Analyzing and Selecting from the various Credit Funds and Direct Lending Strategies?
  • Considerations for Selecting a Manager
  • What are the Trade-offs between Mid-Market and Large Market Credit Investing?
  • Are Credit Investment Mandates Too Narrow? Should it be Defined as Opportunistic Credit?
  • How has the Competition (Fixed Income, Private Equity, Hedge Funds, etc.), altered the Market?
  • What Subsectors of Credit are Most Attractive? What are your Best Ideas for Finding Value?


Steve Woodall, CFA, CAIA, Senior Investment Officer, Credit Strategies, Virginia Retirement System



Simon Lim, CFA, CAIA, Senior Consultant, Alan Biller and Associates

Scott Klein, Founding Partner and Co-Chief Investment Officer , Beach Point Capital Management

Richard J. Byrne, President, Benefit Street Partners

Philip Weingord, Founder & CEO, Seer Capital Management, LP


11:45 AM

Emerging Managers

  • How are Plans defining Emerging Managers?
  • What are the Benefits and Opportunities offered by Investing in Next Generation Managers?
  • Exploiting Market Inefficiencies by utilizing Emerging Managers
  • What are the Growth Prospects?
  • Strategies for Implementing an Emerging Managers Program – how is Establishing this type of Program different from others?
  • Due Diligence and Key Points of Analysis for Selecting Emerging Managers
  • Comparing the Attributes of Prospective Emerging Managers
  • Explain Diversity and how you Achieve it
  • New Firms Fundraising – how important is it to be spun out from Traditional or Name-Brand Firms? Key Differentiators that enable a Successful Fund Raising?
  • Research Statistics and Results on Emerging Managers
  • Risk/Return Prospects of Emerging Manager Programs vs. Programs focused on Established Managers?
  • What are the Perceived Risks of Emerging Managers? Are they Inappropriate?
  • How do you Evaluate Performance and Measure Success?
  • What is happening with Funds that have Reached Critical Mass?
  • What is an important Lesson Learned from your Experiences?


Mona S. Williams, Executive Vice President, Progress Investment Management Company, LLC



Paul Denning, CEO, Denning and Company, LLC

Lauren Tant Honza, CFA, Portfolio Manager, Employees Retirement System of Texas

Ben Mohr, CFA, Senior Research Analyst, Fixed Income, Marquette Associates, Inc.


12:20 PM


1:25 PM

ESG, (Environmental, Social and Governance)

  • Why should we consider ESG Issues and is there a Fiduciary Duty to address them?
  • What are the Recent Market Developments for the U.S. and Abroad?
  • Climate Change and Investment – what’s the Relationship and how do you Integrate Climate Risks into your Process?
  • Importance of Hiring an In-House ESG Specialist or Outside ESG Consultant
  • How ESG should be best Incorporated into the Investment Process – Portfolio Integration into all Asset Classes
  • ESG Fund Performance vs. Traditional Funds
  • Do we have Proof that ESG Integration Adds Value?
  • How has ESG Research and Data Evolved or Improved? How is it Incorporated into your Portfolio Construction Process?
  • What should Pension Funds be asking their Existing Active Managers in terms of whether they are looking at Climate Risk or Opportunity?
  • Relevant Benchmarks for ESG Risk Measurement and Assessing ESG Factors
  • What are some ESG Misconceptions?


Jessica Matthews, Managing Director, Mission-Related Investing Group, Cambridge Associates



Matt Christensen, Global Head of Responsible Investment, AXA Investment Managers

Anne Simpson, Senior Portfolio Manager, Investments, Director of Global Governance, California Public Employees' Retirement System, (CalPERS)

Kevin Bourne, Managing Director, FTSE Group


2:00 PM

Real Estate


(A) Current State of the Real Estate Market

  • Real Estate Cycle – where are we?
  • Current Conditions
  • What would be the Impact of Rising Rates on your Real Estate Portfolio? What are the Short-Term and Long-Term Implications?
  • Commercial Real Estate Challenges and Debt Maturities coming due
  • Commercial Pricing – Fully Priced and Not Pricing in Risk or Disruption?
  • Residential Real Estate Challenges
  • Loan Extensions/Refinancing

(B) Profiting from Distressed Real Estate

  • Loan Maturities and Future Opportunities
  • Are Lenders still Holding Nonperforming Assets? Have they Yet to Unload?
  • Role of the Fed and Government – what is their Effect on the Market?
  • Tactical Strategy of Investing in Single-Family Homes and Institutionalizing the Sector – Thoughts on this Trend?
  • What sort of Debt Investments are you looking at?
  • Importance of Occupancy
  • Cap Rates and Vacancy Rates
  • Buying Distressed Residential Mortgage Pools
  • Strategies for Selecting Investments
  • Case Studies
  • Drawbacks in this Environment

(C) Strategies in Real Estate

  • What Strategies do you see as the Biggest Risks and the Biggest Rewards/Relative Value for the Future?
  • Is Core likely to get your Expected Returns right now?
  • What Value-Added and Opportunistic Strategies are most appealing?
  • Role of Leverage
  • Larger vs. Smaller Fund Size – which ones will Outperform going forward?
  • Choosing a Manager – Stand Alone vs. Captive
  • Joint Ventures with REITs – will we see more Pension Plans re-enter the market by teaming up with Commercial REITs? Why are these Joint Ventures being done?
  • Entry Issues with Open-End Funds and Concentration into Fewer Funds?
  • Growth of Direct Real Estate for Defined Contribution
  • Asia and Europe Real Estate Outlook – Opportunities, Investment Trends and Capital Flows
  • Real Estate Secondary Market – Transaction Volume


Christy Fields, Managing Director – Real Estate, Pension Consulting Alliance, Inc., (PCA)



Michael J. Acton, CFA, Managing Director, AEW Research, AEW Capital Management, L.P.

Mark Degner, Managing Director, Private Real Estate, Partners Group (USA) Inc.

Craig Blanchard, Managing Director, Real Estate, Stanford Management Company

Micolyn Magee, Principal, The Townsend Group


2:45 PM

Refreshment Break

3:10 PM


  • Reasons why are Pension Plans turning to the Secondary Market – what has been the recent Seller Motivation?
  • LPs Using Secondary Market to Break up Zombie Funds
  • What are the Expectations for the Future – Supply/Demand, who will be the Sellers and where are Valuations headed?
  • What is the Current Deal Flow Environment and Volume of Secondary Activity?
  • Why are Sellers Waiting?
  • Current Pricing – Pressures/Opportunities. Relationship to Public Market Performance
  • Impact of Volcker Rule and Basel III – what does this mean for Deal Activity?
  • What Recent Developments have we seen in Secondary Technologies?
  • Return of Staple Transactions – is it Different this Time? What have we Learned?
  • What should LPs look for to Identify Differentiation?
  • What will Increased Specialization look like going forward?
  • What are the Risk/Return Characteristics of Secondaries vs. Private Equity in general?


Michael J. Forestner, CFA, Partner, Mercer



Ian H. Charles, CFA, Partner, Landmark Partners

Red Barrett, President & CEO, Permal Capital Management, LLC

Steven Costabile, CFA, Managing Director, Global Head of Private Funds Group, PineBridge Investments


3:40 PM

Private Equity

  • Difficulty in Fundraising – What are the Key Characteristics of those who are successfully able to Raise a Fund?
  • Will Sovereign Wealth Funds and the DC Plan Shift into Private Equity help for Future Fundraising? What will be the Impact?
  • Fund of Funds Consolidation – how will the space Evolve during future Company Closures/Mergers? Specialization? What are the Points of Distinction?
  • Trend of Committing More Capital to Fewer Managers
  • Survival of the Fittest – how extreme will the GP Shakeout be? Impact from Zombie Funds?
  • Who will Benefit most from the Volcker Rule?
  • Trend of Big LPs committing to Customized GP Relationships with Separate Accounts – how will it affect the Industry?
  • Trend of Co-Investments – Approach and Criteria. Do’s and Don’ts of Co-Investing
  • What are your Expectations for Deal Flow Volume? Effects of the PE Overhang?
  • Financing Deals – is Credit Cheap or Expensive relative to the Risks? Might Credit Tighten for an Extended Period?
  • What are your Expectations for Buyout Exits and Distributions? Will the Average Hold Period Remain Long and what are the Implications?
  • Do you see Opportunities in Europe?
  • Venture IPO and M&A Exit Pipeline Outlook. Thoughts on Lack of Performance over past Decade? Outperformance of Smaller Venture Funds?
  • Can you Time Venture Investment based on Equity Peaks and Troughs? Any Relation?
  • What Trends have you seen for Fees and Terms?
  • Alignment in the LP/GP Relationship – what have we seen as a result of ILPA?
  • Liquidity Concerns – which Strategies offer Shorter Time Horizons, Cash Yield and Greater Liquidity?
  • Where do you expect that we’ll see the Best Returns over the next Five Years? Favorite Sector?


Donn K. Cox, Founder, CEO, LP Capital Advisors



Charles H. van Horne, Managing Director, Abbott Capital Management, LLC

Luca Salvato, Partner, Coller Capital, Inc.

John M. Barger, Chairman, Board of Investments, Los Angeles County Employees Retirement Association, (LACERA)

Judith Elsea, CFA, Co-Founder, Managing Director, Weathergage Capital LLC 


4:25 PM

CIO Roundtable


(A) Fiscal Health and Asset/Liability Evaluation

  • What is your Current Funded Status and has it changed your Long Term Decisions with Liquid or Illiquid Investments?
  • Is your Fund adequately Protected for Liquidity and Cash Flow Requirements whether it is for Benefits and/or other Commitments?
  • Has your Fund taken adequate Risk Measures and Diversified via Non-Correlated Strategies to guard against a Large or Prolonged Decline in Equities? Is your Fund Better Positioned to withstand Major Market Volatility than it was in 2008?
  • Has your Fund done any Stress-Testing under Extreme Economic Scenarios?
  • What sort of De-Risking Strategies or Risk Management Approaches has your Fund Integrated into the Investment Decision Process?
  • Do you employ or have you considered Utilizing any Risk Parity Strategies in the Future?
  • What Strategies do you incorporate for a Dynamic or Opportunistic Approach?
  • Do you believe Plans in general will be able to meet or beat the Assumed Rate of Return over the next 10 Years?
  • Defending DB Plans – What are the basic elements of a reasonable Plan to Save DBs? What bothers you most about the efforts to “fix” them?

(B) Allocation and Considerations for the Future

  • What are your Biggest Concerns about the Tapering or End of Global Central Banks Stimulus Policies? Have you taken any steps as a result?
  • Are you worried about the Long Term Aftermath of a “Bond Bubble” and have you positioned your Fund accordingly?
  • What Strategies does your Fund utilize that will Protect against Rising Interest Rates?
  • What Strategies does your Fund utilize that will Protect or Hedge against Future Inflation?
  • What do you feel is the proper Emerging Markets Allocation and are there any Regional or Frontier Strategies that interest you?
  • What Trends have you seen towards more Liquid Investments and has your Fund deployed Assets into these types of Investments?
  • Which Strategies do you expect to Outperform in the next 3-5 Years?

(C) Alignment of Interests

  • What Changes or Trends have you noticed in Fee Structures/Terms and your Bargaining Power?
  • What Tactics work best for you when attempting to Negotiate Private Placement Agreements?
  • What are your Concerns about Operational Due Diligence and what can you do about this Issue?
  • What Support would help you to do a better job of Addressing and Solving Investment Problems?
  • What Discretion and Authority do you have with those Problems?
  • Any Progress in granting you and your Investment Departments more Latitude in Tactically Managing your Portfolios in response to Extreme Economic Conditions?
  • How do you keep your Trustees Educated so they can make more Timely and Effective Decisions? Any Programs?
  • Any important Lessons Learned that you can share from your Individual Plan Experiences?


Rob Feckner, President, Board of Administration, California Public Employees' Retirement System, (CalPERS)



Rodney June, Chief Investment Officer, Los Angeles City Employees' Retirement System, (LACERS)

David E. Kushner, CFA, Chief Investment Officer, Los Angeles County Employees Retirement Association, (LACERA)

Jon M. Braeutigam, Deputy Treasurer, Chief Investment Officer, Michigan Department of Treasury, State of Michigan Retirement Systems

John Skjervem, CFA, Chief Investment Officer, Oregon State Treasury, Oregon Investment Council

Paul Ballard, CEO and Chief Investment Officer, Texas Treasury Safekeeping Trust Company, (The Trust Company)


5:35 PM

Conference Concludes

6:25 PM

Bus Leaves for Pier 40

7:00 PM

Bay Cruise Networking Event

Network with our group while cruising the San Francisco Bay. Enjoy stunning skyline views of Fisherman’s Wharf, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Bay Bridge, McCovey Cove, Alcatraz, Angel Island, Treasure Island and more. Join us for a cocktail reception, dinner, four decks of luxury and an excellent atmosphere to connect with your industry peers!

9:45 PM

Bay Cruise Docks at Pier 40

Supporting Partner of The Pension Bridge Annual

Disclaimer: Pension Bridge Conferences are produced
for qualified institutional investors only


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