THE PENSION BRIDGE Annual, San Francisco
Hotel: The Westin St. Francis
Tuesday April 9th, 2019
| Click Here to Download a PDF version of the agenda
KEYNOTE SPEAKER – MACROECONOMIC VIEW
- Fed Balance Sheet Unwind – Effects for U.S., the Dollar and Globally
- The Everything Bubble
- Longer Term Implication of Tax Cuts Adding to the Deficit
- Debt to GDP Ratio
- Buffett Indicator at an Extreme
- Valuation Levels
- Margin Debt
- Corporate Debt Growth for Financial Engineering
- High Yield Defaults Outlook
- Algos and Passive Investment as a Market Risk
- Inflation/Deflation Debate
- Where are the Most Unfavorable Demographics Globally?
- What Countries Debt and Risks pose the Biggest Threat in Europe? Does that put the EU and Euro at Risk?
- China – Debt Levels, Leverage and Real Estate Bubble
- Japan’s Demographics and Debt – what might be the Far-Reaching Effects?
- Which are the Shakier Emerging Market Countries that have High Debt that can be Hurt by a Strong Dollar?
- Derivatives Risk
- Expectations for Equities and Bonds
- Expectations for the Next Black Swan?
- What are the Most Appealing Investments for Low Return Environment?
THE DEEPENING CRISIS OF UNFUNDED PENSION PLANS AND ITS FAR REACHING EFFECTS OF FISCAL DISTRESS
- Background on how we got here – what are the Contributing Factors?
- What are some Examples you’ve seen when Cities, Counties, School Districts and Other Local Entities are Forced to Contribute More to Keep the State System Afloat?
- Have you seen Cut-Backs on Repairing Streets and Bridges or Staffing Police and Teachers due to Pensions Crowding out Budget Spending? Any Other Cut-Backs you’ve seen in Education, Public Safety and Social Services?
- What sort of Higher Taxes have you seen for Scantier Services in Returns?
- What Recent Controversial Pension Reform Bills have been Passed Into Law? What were some Concessions Received and those they Didn’t?
- What Trends have you seen in regards to Court Rulings on Reduced Benefits and Higher Contributions? Are the Courts Hindering Repair of this Funding Crisis?
- Do you Envision Further Credit Downgrades for Particular States due to High Unfunded Pension Liabilities? How much would this Further Complicate the Budget and Hamper Economic Growth?
- If we Face Another Strong Market Decline or Recession, what’s the Time Frame for when Particular States or Plans would Face Insolvency?
- What Actions should be taken by the Joint Select Committee on Solvency of Multiemployer Pension Plans?
- Aside from Raising Taxes, what are some Possible Options to Overcome Unsustainable Pension Costs? Thoughts on Initiating a Tax on Plan Members?
- Is Issuing Bonds to Pay Off Shortfalls a Solution or a Gamble?
- How Far Reaching would a Government Bailout be if Congress included Provision in the Budget Deal for Federal Funds towards Pension Plans?
- What are the Methods of Navigating the Challenges Posed by your Governance Structure?
- Are you Getting Pressured that your Investment Costs are Too High? How do you respond to such Allegations?
- Which Investment Strategies or De-Risking Strategies do you Favor for Decreasing a Pension Plan’s Unfunded Liability While Helping to Preserve Cash?
- Will we see a Shift to Hunt for Long-Term Cash Flow Investments through Partnerships and Co Investment Structures?
- Do you believe Plans in Danger will Cut Illiquid Asset Classes in Favor of More Liquid Investments in order to Meet Benefit Payments?
- Do you see the Benefits of Adopting a Hybrid DB/DC Plan for New Hires? What are the Drawbacks?
RISK MANAGEMENT AND ADOPTING A RISK CULTURE
(A) KEY CONSIDERATIONS AND TOOLS FOR MANAGING RISKS
- Overview of the Transformation from an Asset Allocation-Centered Process to a More Comprehensive Risk Allocation-Based Process
- Are there Governance Challenges that have Prevented Wide-Spread Adoption of a Risk Allocation Framework?
- How has taking a Risk Allocation Approach changed the Structure of your Plan’s Fixed Income Investments? Understanding Return Seeking Fixed Income and Traditional Risk Reducing Fixed Income
- What Irregularities have we seen in Portfolios as Asset Classes are Redrawn and Renamed via Risk Allocation? Are we still too Over-Reliant on Equities?
- Challenges of Performance Monitoring, Risk Data and Systems – getting good Risk Information Across All Asset Classes and Investment Vehicles
- How can considering Diversification and Risk Independently help Investors Build More Efficient Portfolios?
(B) TOP PENSION RISKS WE SHOULD BE MOST WARY OF
- 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?
- Leverage Risk – what are the Best Approaches to keep these Risks within Acceptable Parameters?
- Equity, Credit, Duration, Inflation/Deflation, Currency, Geopolitical Risk Considerations
- Understanding Asset Class Correlation and Behavior Risk – Tendency of Interest Rate and
- Inflation Shocks Driving Both Equities and Bonds in the Same Direction, (Correlations Change) Other Risks such as Model Risk or Operational Risk
- How does Stress Testing or Scenario Analysis factor into your Process?
- What should Keep CIOs and Staff Up at Night?
- How do you Communicate your Risk Tolerances with your Board, Managers and Media?
- How has the Role of Fiduciary Responsibility Changed?
- What should Boards/Organizations Consider when Building a Risk Culture?
- How do you go about Educating a Board on Risk?
- What Metrics Aid in the Decision-Making Process?
- How does a Plan’s Size affect the Approach to Pension Risk Management?
RISK MITIGATING STRATEGIES
- Understanding Tail Risk Frequency, Severity and Impact
- Why should this be its Own Bucket or Asset Class? What Type of Allocation is Warranted?
- Understanding the Value of Risk Mitigating Strategies – why is it Important to Improve your Risk/Return Profile Now?
- What Risks can be Efficiently Hedged in the Financial Markets?
- What Types of Strategies and Approaches are used to Hedge? Advantages and Disadvantages of Each Approach?
- What are the Merits of an Option Overlay Strategy In Lieu of Owning a Tail Risk Hedge?
- What are the Trend or Momentum Following Strategies that you Prefer for Downside Protection?
- Why is Global Macro the Ideal Hedge Fund Allocation for Diversification and Decreasing the Depth of Drawdowns?
- How has Managed Futures Performed During Periods of Market Stress or Crisis Events?
- Long Duration U.S. Treasuries as a Diversifier in Extreme Market Conditions
- Building a Tactical Portfolio using Futures to Reduce Tail Losses and Enjoy Larger Gains
- Put Options as Insurance
- Using Information from the Derivatives Markets to assess Stress Points – where we are seeing Tail Risks Building?
- Systematic Risk Premia Allocations – does it Enhance Performance Outcomes? Are Short Track Records and Wide Variations in Products Concerning for Trend Risk Premia?
- Are there Alternative Ways to Deal with Equity Risk? How Defensive are these Strategies?
- What’s the Most Challenging Aspect of Implementing a Risk Mitigating Strategies Program?
- How do you Measure Success?
LIABILITY DRIVEN INVESTMENT (LDI), AND HOW IT CAN BE APPLIED TO PUBLIC DB PLANS
- What have Plans done to address the Hurdles of Low Pension Funded Status and Low Interest Rates over the past few years?
- Does LDI Make Sense Now Considering Current and Future Market Conditions? What is the Risk/Return?
- Are Plan Liabilities the only appropriate Benchmark?
- How does a Public Fund Implementation and Liability-Focused Allocation Differ from a Corporate Fund?
- Are some Approaches More Appropriate in a Less Liquid Fixed Income World?
- Do Plans need to Customize their Liability Hedging Allocation?
- For a Public Fund, what Cash Flow Generative Strategies would allow for the Portfolio to Reduce the Funding Ratio Volatility and Meet the Benefit Payment Needs?
- Understanding the Components of Performance Measurement and Evaluation – Risk Budgeting, Scenario Analysis, Liquidity Analysis and Performance Reporting
- What are some Industry Trends that Clients should be should be aware of in the LDI Market?
- Beyond the Ability to Earn Excess Returns, what should Investors look for in Selecting LDI Managers?
- Will we see a Strategy More Common in Europe with Plan Sponsors Combining an LDI Strategy with the Purchase of Longevity Insurance to Further Reduce Risk?
- What are some Common Myths that are Holding Back Plan Sponsors from Implementing a De-Risking or LDI Strategy?
- Risk Parity Explained
- Do you believe Risk Parity can Play a Role In and Contribute to Market Volatility?
- What are the Hidden Risks and Drawbacks of Risk Parity Portfolios?
- Does Risk Parity Make Sense Now if we Expect Low Market Returns in the Future?
- How did Risk Parity Perform during the last Financial Crisis Compared to other Asset Mix Models? Would you Expect Similar or DifferentResults for the Next Downturn?
- Is it possible that Bonds will Become Less Likely to Protect against a Large Drawdown in Equities?
- Is there an Over-Reliance on Bonds with Current Valuations? Should we be Worried about Leverage or Leveraging the InappropriateAssets?
- Commodities Role in Risk Parity and Expectations
- Active Strategy? Passive? Extent to which a Risk Parity Portfolio is Managed?
- Leverage and Illiquidity Do Not Mix – any Approaches to Avoid this Combination?
- What Progress have we seen towards Adopting an Appropriate Benchmark?
- Thoughts on Measuring Expected Tail Loss Rather Than Volatility for Tail Risk Parity? Can it be More Effective?
- How do Investors Bucket the Risk Parity Strategy within the Asset Allocation Framework?
- How should Investors think about Differences in Forecasting Volatility when Selecting a Manager?
UNCONSTRAINED FIXED INCOME
- Assessing the Current Environment – Implications on Unconstrained for where we are in the Credit Cycle, Interest Rate Cycle and Fed Unwinding of QE
- How do you Approach Portfolio Construction with the Need for Increased Disaggregation of Alpha Sources?
- With the Proliferation of Products which are Diverse, what is the Return Objective?
- How do you Benchmark and Define Success for Unconstrained Fixed Income Strategies?
- With Non-Linearity of Risk Correlations and Volatility Not Being Stable through time, how are you Taking Advantage of Current Market Dislocations?
- How Important is Liquidity Management? Should Investors think about Transparency of Positioning in Unconstrained Fixed Income?
- What are the Implications of Reduced Liquidity?
- Is the Recent Tilt Towards Higher Carry or Less Carry within specific Spreads such as Bank Loans, High Yield and Syndicated Loans, EM Debt, etc.?
- Where do you see the Greatest Risks in the Debt Markets and what might be the Trigger Points that Enhance that Potential?
- Are you Building Dry Powder at this point in the Credit Cycle?
- What Progress have we seen for a Factor or Risk Premium Approach for Assessing Risk?
- Do you see a Supply/Demand Imbalance in Long-Duration Fixed Income? What does that Imply for Investors?
- Using Structured Products, Swaps and Derivatives to Create Alpha and Hedge Volatility
- Emerging Markets Local Fixed Income – what are the Opportunities? Currency Risk Factors? Should Currency Exposures be Hedged or Unhedged?
- What are your Expectations and Outlook for Corporate Debt? Do you see a Disaster in the Making?
- Taxable Municipals vs. Corporate Bonds – Which Make More Sense Now?
- Do you view Bank Loans as a Hedge in Rising Rate Environment?
- If Trump Moves on GSE Reform, how would that Impact the MBS Market?
- Understanding how to Select Alternative Managers – Multi-Sector, Multi-Region, Multi-Currency Skill Set or Duration Range Targets?
WOMEN AND THEIR INCREASING ROLE IN INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT
We’ll revisit this topic as it created quite the buzz at last year’s event and we’d like to keep the momentum moving for this initiative. Diversity, specifically for women, is a standard that can be achievable when viewed as a requirement, not a commercial imperative.
- What are some Ways we can Encourage Organizations to Embrace and then Require Gender Diversity?
- What is the Most Common Reason why Investors do not have Specific Women-Owned Investment Mandates? How Big an Issue is Lack of Supply?
- With just 6.5% of Global Private Equity Firms having Partners or Managing Partners that are Women (source: Preqin), how do you approach Beating those Odds?
- How does Diversity Impact your Organization? Any Gender Diversity Experiences you can Share?
- Have we seen any Statistical Performance for Women and Minority-Owned Investing? What about the Performance of Female Hedge Fund and Private Equity Managers?
- What Programs or Organizations do you believe are Helpful in the Advancement of Women in the Industry?
- What Can Institutions do to Support Women’s Advancement to the Top Levels of Leadership?
- How might Specialization be an Important Way for Women to offer a Diversified Strategy Approach?
- Controversial Topic – Is there a way the MeToo Movement can be Destructive with Quotas Resulting in Distortions of Decision-Making and Passing up Superior Candidates for a Job?
- Thoughts on the FTSE Russell Women on Boards Leadership Index Series and its Ability to Achieve Gender Diversity?
- What Career Advancement Advice would you give to Younger Women who are Passionate and Fairly New to Investment Management?
ENVIRONMENTAL, SOCIAL AND GOVERNANCE, (ESG)
- What’s the Difference Between ESG, Socially Responsible Investing, (SRI) and Impact Investing?
- Do we have Proof that ESG Integration Adds Value?
- ESG Fund Performance vs. Traditional Funds
- What are Some Common Myths About ESG?
- Do Firms with Good Performance on SASB Topics Outperform Firms with Poor Performance on those Topics?
- How do you Approach ESG from a Fiduciary Standpoint and for the Development of your Plan’s Investment Beliefs?
- Why are UN Sustainable Development Goals Important? What Ways are you using them to Help Investing in New Opportunities and Identify Future Areas of Risk?
- How should ESG be best Incorporated into the Investment and Due Diligence Process?
- What Tools, Data or Trends have we seen for ESG Implementation? What Initiatives are Focused on Driving Towards a Sustainable Global Economy?
- What are the Perceived Obstacles to applying an ESG Framework to the Stock Selection Process?
- How can your Future Investment Returns be Impacted by Climate Change? Aside from Assessing Risks to Real Estate in Rising Sea Level Coastal Areas, what Risk Factors should we be Analyzing?
- What Approach should be taken to have a Climate Change Action Plan in place to address these Climate Risks?
- How should we approach Carbon Risk Management within an ESG Framework?
- Considerations for Investing in a Passive ESG Index – thoughts on Low Carbon Index? Combining ESG with Smart Beta?
- Will there come a time when Plan Sponsors Only Invest with UN PRI Investment Manager Signatory Firms?
- How are you Integrating ESG into your Real Estate, Private Equity and Infrastructure Investments?
- Understanding Relevant Benchmarks for ESG Risk Measurement
Intent to generate a social and/or environmental impact in addition to a financial return. Tackling the toughest societal challenges: global health (treating and preventing disease), sustainable food systems through better agriculture, education, access to water (resource constraints), environment and climate change, diversity and inclusion, economic development, community building and more.
- The Role of UN’s Sustainable Development Goals in Impact Investing Strategy
- What does the Future Hold for Impact Investing?
- What are the Top Challenges or Roadblocks for Investors?
- What are the Opportunities for Impact Investing in Emerging Markets versus Developed Markets?
- What are the Latest Trends in Impact Investment Globally? Most Promising Areas?
- Investing in Technology for Social Impact
- Measuring Social Impact – should you verify that the Funds you Invest in have their Portfolios Independently Measured and Verified by B Lab’s GIIRS Impact Rating System?
- What are the Biggest Areas Risks of Impact Investing Projects?
- Do Larger Firms have an Advantage in this Space?
- Why is Private Equity Particularly Well-Suited for Impact Investing?
- What are some of the Socially Impact Bonds or Municipal Impact Bonds you’ve Invested in?
- Do you find it Difficult to Measure the Impact of Public Market Investments?
- What Evidence have we seen that Impact Investments will Reap Healthy Returns?
- How should Impact Investors think about Reporting?
- For the Next Inevitable Downturn or Recession, will Investors Abandon this Space? When and How Will it Become Mainstream?
- Cambridge Associates PE/VC Impact Investing Benchmark – any early Conclusions Despite the Limited Sample Size and Overall Youth of the Funds?
- Macro Environment and Recent Developments – how does that affect your Investments?
- With Central Banks Tapering, do you see a Correlation with Weaker EM Returns? What about a Stronger Dollar for a Prolonged Period? Weak Commodity Prices?
- What would be the Effects on Emerging Markets if we see Weak Growth in the U.S.? Instability in the Eurozone? Slowdown in China?
- How will the Trade War affect China and other Emerging Markets? Any Markets that are More Insulated?
- What is an Appropriate Long-Term Allocation to Emerging Markets? What should that Allocation look like, (Public Equity, Fixed Income, Private Equity, Frontier Markets, Alternatives, etc.)?
- What are Realistic Return Expectations? How might that Differ based on Region?
- How do Valuations look Relative to Risk in Different Regions?
- Outlook for China – are you Concerned about their Credit and Real Estate Bubbles? Thoughts on Trade Challenges?
- What are the Key LP Concerns and Challenges in Particular Regions?
- Identify what Country or Region you see Favorable Demographic Trends such as a Growing Middle Class, Urbanization, Promising Consumer Buying Behavior and Economic/Fiscal Reforms
- Which Markets in Frontier Countries can you Profit from Strong Growth and Access a Lower Correlation?
- What can be done to Mitigate Currency Risks?
- After seeing Argentina and Turkey with a Currency Crisis caused by High Debt and Surging Inflation that follows, are there Any EM Countries to Avoid?
- The Case for Emerging Markets Corporate Debt
- What Metrics are you using to Determine Relative Value in Sovereign Bonds?
- Public vs. Private Emerging Markets – Benefits and Drawbacks of each
- Active vs. Passive Debate
- Choosing an Emerging Markets Fund or Manager – should you be Investing by Region, Country or Sector?
- Given the Current Environment, will Emerging Markets Outperform Developed Markets?
COCKTAIL RECEPTION CONCLUDES
Wednesday April 10th, 2019
The Science and Technology Revolution – Alpha by Investing in Innovation
- Historic Transformation
- Accelerating Pace of Innovation
- Investment Opportunity through Future Innovation
- Future Innovations and their Impact – Transportation as a Service, Artificial Intelligence/Deep Learning, Robotics, Blockchain, Internet of
- Things, Life Sciences, Improvements in Education
- Economic Modernization of China – Industries with Opportunity
- Economic Modernization of India Coming Into Focus
THE NEXT FRONTIER OF MULTI-ASSET INVESTING
- How has Multi-Asset Investing Evolved over the Years? How do you Navigate the Various Options and Approaches that are available today?
- Do these Strategies Reduce Correlation, Lower Volatility and Limit Downside Risk or Drawdown? If so, by How Much?
- What are the Common Sub-Asset Classes Included in Multi-Asset Strategies?
- Constructing the Portfolio – Risk Factor Approach
- How are Investors Incorporating Multi-Asset Strategies in their Portfolios?
- How do you see this Space Evolving in a more Treacherous/Volatile Market? Do you Worry that Dynamic and Tactical Asset Allocation Decisions that have been Little Tested in Recent Years can Harm Performance with Too Heavy a Reliance on Market Timing?
- Aside from Asset Allocation Skills, what other Skills are Required for the Ability to Generate Alpha and be Successful?
- Are Tactical Tilts More Transparent Today?
- How Worrisome is the Reliance on Stable Correlation Relationships with No Certainty those Relationships will Persist?
- How Much Value can one get Via Tactical Asset Allocation if you have the Right Expertise?
- Do you believe that Multi-Asset Funds have Sufficiently Incorporated Risk Controls into the Design of their Products?
- Understanding Dynamic Tail Risk Management Via Asset Allocation
- Is Excessive Leverage a Concern?
- How do you Measure Performance?
- Any Favorable Trends in Fees for Investors?
- How do Multi-Asset Managers Differentiate Themselves in this Crowded Field?
(A) CURRENT AND FUTURE STATE OF THE HEDGE FUND INDUSTRY
- Will Hedge Fund Underperformance Shift and Why?
- What is an Appropriate Fee Structure for Hedge Funds? Have you Seen More Fee Structures that Reward Alpha and Not Beta for Better Alignment of Interests and Avoid Overpaying for Underperformance?
- As an LP, do you find it Difficult to get Hedge Fund Managers to Provide Accurate Fee Information in a Timely, Efficient Manner? Do you believe we’re In Need of a Standardized Reporting Template like ILPA for Private Equity?
- Why do Smaller Hedge Funds Outperform?
- With Crowding in FAANG and other stocks, do you see this as a Risk and a Contrarian Indicator for those Equity Holdings when the Cycle Turns?
- What is Driving the Increase in Demand for Strategies Uncorrelated with the Capital Markets? Which Low Correlated Strategies are Most Attractive?
(B) IMPLEMENTATION OPTIONS
- If there was a Hedge Fund Strategy you would Invest in over the next Few Years, which one would it be and why?
- What sort of Downside Protection, Drawdown or Return Range do you expect we’ll see from each of the Different Hedge Fund Strategies during the Next Market Downturn?
- Do you find Opportunities within the Global Macro Space Attractive and if so, why?
- Managed Futures – Diversification and Performance during Periods of Market Stress or Crisis Events. How much can it Decrease the Depth of Portfolio Drawdowns and Volatility?
- What is the Future of the Fund of Funds Space? How has it Changed in Recent Years? Where will Fees be? What will it take to Stay Competitive?
- Long-Short Equity Hedge Funds – what Differentiates Managers that have been able to Outperform?
- Liquid Hedge Fund Products such as UCITS, 40 Act and Hedge Fund Replication – are they a Viable Alternative and Under what Circumstances? How has their Performance and the Lower Fees Fared to Hedge Funds?
- The Role of Alternative Beta/Risk Premia Strategies in a Hedge Fund Portfolio – what are the Appropriate Expectations from a Sharpe Perspective?
- How do Emerging Managers Differentiate Themselves in the Quest for Institutional Capital?
- Implementation Considerations for Due Diligence, Portfolio Function and Manager Selection. What are the Key Traits you should be looking for? Key Characteristics for Quantitative Strategies?
(C) PORTFOLIO CONSTRUCTION AND RISK MANAGEMENT
- What is the Role of Separate Managed Accounts? What are the Benefits? Are they Better than Commingled Funds?
- Any Recent Trends you’ve seen for Pension Plans as far as Fees, Transparency, Customization, Increased Partnership, etc.?
- As an Investor, do you Negotiate the Frequency of Performance Fee Payments (Fee Crystallization), with your Managers so that it Doesn't Lead to Hidden and Higher Costs?
- Importance of Operations Due Diligence. Any recent Developments? How often should Operations be Reviewed?
- What Trends do you see Developing in Regards to the way we Evaluate Liquidity Provisions for Hedge Funds?
- Current State of the Credit Market
- What will be the Catalyst that will cause Credit Spreads to Widen and Defaults to Rise?
- What is the Opportunity Set in Credit Strategies? Where is the Relative Value?
- What Subsectors of Credit are Most Attractive given the Stretched Valuations? Any Areas you are Avoiding?
- Do you see Investors being more willing to Trade Liquidity for Yield and should that be of Concern?
- High Yield Market – is it possible to see a High Yield Meltdown with a Lack of Liquidity? Understanding the Corporate Debt Risk Factors and the Strong Correlation to Equities
- Bank Loans Overview
- Outlook and Considerations for Structured – Are CLOs Safer than Pre-Crisis?
- Outlook for Emerging Market Debt
- Public vs. Private Credit
- Is Direct Lending in a Bubble and how would you Position for that?
- Opportunities and Risks for Europe and Asia
- How much should Plan Sponsors be Allocating to Credit? What is the Optimal Structure to a Credit Portfolio?
- Considerations for Selecting a Manager and Strategy
- Why should Multi-Asset Credit Strategies be a Tactical Asset Allocation with Dynamic Management for Pension Plans?
- How do we Develop Return and Risk Expectation for this Asset Class?
- How do we Benchmark Performance?
DISTRESSED INVESTING – OPPORTUNISTIC AND SPECIAL SITUATIONS
- How does the Interest Rate Environment and Fed Balance Sheet Unwind Affect your Plans?
- What are your Expectations for Default Rates going forward?
- What is Most Worrisome in Distressed Markets Today Versus a Few Years Ago?
- When will the Vast Sums of Undeployed Capital come in off the Sidelines? Do you Need an Economic Downturn?
- Is Direct Lending a Bubble and if so, how would you Invest When it Pops?
- Where do you see the Largest Demand from Clients? What are they Most Interested In?
- Which Sectors, Strategies and Geographies will create the Best Opportunities? Any Areas that should be Avoided?
- What Distressed Opportunities are we seeing the Energy Sector?
- What’s the Potential Impact of the Debt Piled up by Corporations for their Share Buybacks?
- Will the Prevalent Covenant-Lite Deals create Problems during the Next Cycle?
- What are the Opportunities and Risks in Europe? Any Countries, Sectors or Types of Deals that Stand Out?
- Do you see Opportunities in Asia or Elsewhere Globally?
- What are the Recent Leverage Trends?
- Do you worry about a Liquidity Problem in ETFs and other Structured Credit Vehicles if there is Credit Event?
- Has the Regulatory Environment Changed the Opportunity Set? How has it Impacted your Firm?
- How do Investors go about Choosing the Right Distressed Strategy, Size, Investment Style and Approach?
- How will the Different Implementation Approaches affect Expected Returns? Control vs. Non-Control? Private vs. Public?
- Distressed Debt Vehicles in Hedge Fund Format vs. Private Equity Drawdown Structures – what are the Pros and Cons of Each?
- What Skill Sets/Characteristics should Pension Plans look for in a Distressed Manager?
CURRENCY HEDGING AND CURRENCY ALPHA
(A) CURRENCY MARKET OVERVIEW
- What are the Factors Driving Currencies Today?
- Do you Worry about the Uncertainty Surrounding the Euro and EU?
- What is the Relationship Between Volatility and Currency Returns?
- Can Currencies be Forecasted via Fundamentals, Cycles and Trends?
- Benefits of Active and Dynamic Currency Management
- What are the most Common Reasons Asset Owners give for Not Actively Managing Currency? Are these Reasons Valid or Not?
- What is the Impact Forex can have on Overall Risk and Returns for International Equity and Bond Portfolios?
- Widely Confused Difference Between Currency Hedging and Currency as an Asset Class – how do they Differ in terms of Implementation Approaches?
- What are the Merits and Demerits of Adopting a Hedging Program vs. an Alpha Program?
- Different Skills Required for Currency Hedging vs. Currency Alpha – should a Different Manager be used for Each Approach or is itPossible to be Skilled in Both?
(B) CURRENCY OVERLAY HEDGING
- Given Plan Sponsors Non-U.S. Exposure, what Factors should be Considered in the Determination of Implementing a Currency Hedging Program?
- Is there an Optimum Currency Hedge Ratio for a Plan?
- How much of a Reduction in Portfolio Volatility and Risk should be Expected?
- Can it be More Beneficial to be Unhedged?
- Hedging Costs – how should this factor into your Decision?
(C) CURRENCY ALPHA
- How does Employing a Currency Alpha Strategy fit into an Asset Allocation Framework?
- Benefits of Non-Correlated Returns to Equities, Fixed Income and Alternative Investments
- How does Investing in Currency Diversify and Reduce Risk? Natural Diversifier for the Duration Risk in Bonds?
- How do you Manage Risk Factors?
- What are the Return Expectations?
- When considering Investing in an Active Currency Strategy, what should you look for in a Manager?
- What’s your Biggest Concern – Valuations, Excess Dry Powder, Downturn, etc?
- How are you Positioning Your Portfolio given the Current Market Conditions?
- Any Lessons Learned from the Financial Crisis? What are you doing Differently when Approaching New Investments?
- Protecting your Current Portfolio – how would you Guard Against your Existing Portfolio?
- Where are your Most Optimistic Returns Going Forward as far as Sector, Geography or Niche Strategy? What’s your Biggest Worry?
- Which Lower or Non-Correlated PE Strategies have you Allocated to or Favor?
- Where do you see the LP/GP Relationship in the Future when it comes to Separately Managed Accounts, Strategic Partnerships, Co-Investments, LPs Concentrating Portfolios, etc.?
- Transparency and Fees – As an LP, has this Impacted your Ability to Commit Capital? SEC’s Impact?
- Have you gotten More Involved in your GP’s Valuation Process? How have you Achieved this Transparency Demand? Thoughts on the Fair Value Quality Initiative?
- Thoughts on GPs Selling Minority Stakes to Third Party Investors like Dyal or Petershill? Any Negative Implications that you can Foresee?
- Subscription Lines of Credit and Risk – how can you Better Understand How these Lines have Altered Returns? Thoughts on ILPA’s Guidelines?
- Do you believe we’re in a Venture Capital/Technology Bubble? How do you View the Venture Space today?
- For Co-Investment Deals that Underperform, what are the Reasons Why?
- Where can we find Good Returns in Private Credit Without Taking Inordinate Risk?
- Why should Secondaries be a Core Holding?
- Issues, Outlook and Opportunities for European PE
- State of the Infrastructure Markets
- Is there Too Much Capital Chasing Too Few Deals?
- With High Competition for Larger Investments, could there be More Return Potential in Smaller Projects?
- How has Performance been and what are the Recent Return Expectations?
- What have been the Effects of the Low Interest Rate Environment on Infrastructure and how might that Affect Returns and Leverage Going Forward?
- Which Sectors are Most Attractive?
- Which Geographies are Most Appealing? Developed or Emerging Economies?
- Approach – Greenfield vs. Brownfield?
- Why is Infrastructure Debt Attractive? Will it deliver for Investors Searching for Yield?
- What are the Biggest Challenges/Risks associated with Infrastructure Investing?
- Do you believe Credit Risk might be Under-Appreciated?
- Opportunities in Public-Private Partnerships?
- How have GPs Adopted ESG Principals?
- What are the Most Attractive Investments within Renewables?
- Listed vs. Unlisted – which do you Favor in a Volatile Market for Downside Protection? Do Rising Interest Rates Favor Either?
- Any Advantages or Limitations for Co-Investments? Separate Accounts?
- What are the Advantages of Open-Ended Funds over Closed-Ended Funds? Will we Continue to see a Surge in Open-Ended Funds in the Coming Years?
- What are the Major Technological Trends that will Shape Infrastructure Investing in the Coming Years?
- Are you Expecting a Drop in Pricing and Lower Returns? What are you Returns Expectations for the next 5-10 Years?
- Where do you See the Most Risk? How are you De-Risking?
- Are you Slowing Down, Maintaining or Increasing your Pace of Investment?
- Where are the Most Crowded Trades? Are there any Less Crowded Trades?
- What are your Return Expectations for Core?
- Within Non-Core, what Risks are Investors Willing to Take?
- What is the Biggest Threat to Commercial in the next few years for this Fully Priced Market?
- Are you Making Pivots or Tilts to Take Advantage of Macro or Socio/Demographic Trends?
- What are you seeing in the Market Today with Respect to Volume of Transactions and Pricing?
- Thoughts on the Bridge Financing Opportunity for Maturing Commercial Real Estate?
- What Real Estate Technology Trends are you Watching Most Closely?
- What’s happening with Leverage? LP Preferences for Use of Leverage?
- Any Niche Property Types that you Like?
- Asia and European Real Estate Outlook – Opportunities and Investment Trends
- With the Privatization of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac a Possibility, what would be the Effect on Real Estate Portfolios?
- Will Co-Investments become more Common?
- Current State of the Real Estate Secondary Market
- Thoughts on Programmatic Joint Ventures?
- Are we still seeing a Decline in Closed-Ended Funds? If so, Why and Will it Continue?
- Larger vs. Smaller Fund Size – which ones will Outperform going forward?
- What Strategies do you see as the Biggest Risks and the Biggest Rewards/Relative Value for the Future?
INVESTING IN FARMLAND
- Demographics, Global Food Demand and Land Scarcity as Macro Drivers
- Is Farmland a Good Investment if we have another Downturn or Financial Crisis?
- How has Historical Performance been?
- What are the Portfolio Benefits?
- Understanding the Evolution of U.S. Farmland Ownership and what the Transition will look like for Institutional Ownership. How might that Compare to Ownership of Timberland?
- What are the Physical-Casualty Risks? Is it a Concern or is it Proactively Managed through Operating Practices of the Farm?
- Would a Drop in Commodities Prices hurt Farmland Returns? Importance of Crop Diversification
- How might this Asset Class be Impacted by Future Regulatory Decisions?
- Thoughts on the Rise in Farmland Debt Strategies that have Attracted Investors?
- Is it Difficult to Access Farmland through Public Markets? Might the Public REIT Market Evolve for Farmland? What are the Pro’s and Cons of these REITS?
INVESTING IN WATER
The World Economic Forum has ranked water as a top global risk for the past several years. The growing focus on water scarcity has many eyeing opportunities. The United Nations estimates that almost half of the world’s population will live in areas of high water stress by 2030, with a 40% shortfall between water supply and demand.
- What Factors are Contributing to Water Stress and Risks?
- How are Investors Identifying and Evaluating Water Risks in their Portfolios?
- Does the Ceres Investor Water Toolkit Serve its Purpose to Help Investors Evaluate and Understand Water Risks in their Holdings?
- ESG Social Benefit – Investing in Projects and Companies that will Help Clean, Distribute and Maintain our Water Supply
- Where are the Most Attractive Opportunities?
- Are you Seeing Situations where the Government is Underwriting some of the High Impact Risks of the Project?
- Should Pensions be Seeking Greenfield or Brownfield Investments and Why?
- What are the Biggest Investor Challenges?
- How do you Overcome the Investor Lack of Clarity on the Yield they will Receive once the Project is Built?
- What are your Predictions for Growth in this Space?
(A) Risks, Allocations and Macro-Based Decisions
- In this Fully-Valued Environment, how are you Balancing the Risk of a Large Drawdown with your Return Goals? Has it Impacted your Asset Allocation?
- Which De-Risking Strategies or Investments with a Low/Non-Correlation have you Allocated to?
- Do you believe your Hedge Fund Strategies will provide a Cushion for the next Market Downturn? How do you use them to Reduce Risk?
- Have you Trended Towards a Passive Equity Allocation? When Volatility Rises, do you Believe Active Managers will Outperform?
- Have you made Long-Term Cash Flow Investments through Partnerships and Co-Investment Structures?
- Do you Believe the Impact of Regulation along with the Shift Towards Passive Management has Created a Reduction in Market Liquidity? Will there be Sufficient Liquidity in the System to Cope with Conditions of Market Stress? Has it Impacted your Fund or Decisions?
- Is there Some Point at which Higher Rates would cause you to Rethink your Asset Allocation or Other Strategies?
- What Percentage of your Pension Fund’s External Asset Management uses ESG Factors? Percentage Excluding Hedge Funds? Do you have Plans to Increase the Use of ESG Managers?
- How are you Viewing Emerging Markets Broadly and what do you feel is the proper EM Allocation? Any Regional or Frontier Strategies that interest you?
(B) Alignment of Interests
- What Changes or Trends have you noticed in Fee Structures/Terms and your Bargaining Power? Has the Size of your Fund been an Advantage or Disadvantage?
- How can you Overcome Governance Hurdles so that you can Effectively Partner with Outside Providers, Bring a Portion of the Investment Management In-House and Provide Incentive-Based Compensation?
- Have you Taken Steps to Address Diversity within your Investment Programs or your Organization’s Staff?
- Do You and Your Investment Departments have the Authority to be a Dynamic, Tactical and Active Investor In Response to Extreme Economic Conditions?
- Have you Addressed Cybersecurity Protection for your Plan? How have you Educated of the Risks with Staff and Taken Steps for Protection with Investment Managers?
- Any Important Lessons Learned that you can Share from your Individual Plan Experiences?
What Keeps You Up at Night?
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