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Pension Bridge Annual Speakers 2018
Ashbel C. “Ash” Williams, Executive Director & Chief Investment Officer, Florida State Board of Administration, (SBA)
Ash Williams, Executive Director & CIO of the Florida State Board of Administration, is responsible for managing approximately $195 billion in assets including those of the Florida Retirement System, the fifth largest public pension fund in the United States.
Prior to joining the SBA, Ash was a Managing Director at Fir Tree Partners and President and CEO of Schroder Capital Management. Ash has extensive experience with both the SBA and Florida government, serving as Executive Director of the SBA from 1991 to 1996 and in senior management in Florida’s executive and legislative branches.
Ash chairs the Managed Funds Association’s Institutional Investor Advisory Council and the Alternative Investor Forum’s Investor Board. He serves on the board of the Council of Institutional Investors and the Economic Club of Florida, and serves as Trustee of the Florida State University Foundation and the National Institute for Public Finance. Additionally, he serves on several Investment Committees including the Episcopal Diocese of Florida, the Community Foundation of North Florida, and the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers; and, the Advisory Board of the Robert Toigo Foundation.
Ash received BS and MBA degrees from Florida State University (FSU) and completed post-graduate programs at University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.
Kristen Doyle, CFA, Partner, Head of Public Pension Funds, Aon Hewitt Investment Consulting
Kristen is a Partner within AHIC, leads the firm’s public sector business, and is a member of the firm’s client advisory group. She is located in Chicago, Illinois. As the public sector business lead, Kristen is responsible for new business development and ensuring that AHIC has the right resources, research, and expertise available for the public sector. She also works directly with clients and currently works with eight retainer consulting clients, where she is either the lead or co-lead. These clients range from $200 million to $400 billion in assets under management and are primarily public pension plans and foundations / endowments. She is responsible for assisting these plans with asset allocation advice, risk budgeting, asset/liability reviews, investment policy development, benchmarking, manager selection and structure, and asset class structure. She is also responsible for reporting and monitoring the investment programs and has been instrumental in structuring public fund performance reports for staff and the board as well as other reports such as risk exposure reporting for both traditional and alternative asset classes and risk management reporting.
Kristen previously led the trust services team in the U.S. focused on custody, securities lending, and transition management. This team also supports the firm in other areas that include foreign exchange, transaction cost analysis, and commission recapture. The team assists clients with searching for vendors in these three areas, structuring a custody or securities lending relationship, and assessing the risks associated with these programs from an operational perspective. With regard to transition management, Kristen was also previously the global head of transition management, responsible for managing the transition management research and implementation team in the U.S., UK, and Canada.
In 2014, Kristen was awarded The Rising Stars of the Profession 35 Under 35 Award by Consulting Magazine and in 2016, was named to the list of Knowledge Brokers: New Guard published by AiCIO Magazine, which recognizes five star consultants that will transform their firms and industry in the next five years. Prior to joining the firm in 2005, Kristen worked at Northern Trust in the custodial operations group for more than two years. She has a Bachelor of Arts in economics from Denison University. She is a CFA charterholder and member of CFA Institute and the CFA Society of Chicago.
Keynote Speaker on Macroeconomic View/State of the Markets
J. Kyle Bass, Founder, Chief Investment Officer, Hayman Capital Management, L.P.
Mr. Bass is the Founder and Chief Investment Officer of Hayman Capital Management, an investment manager of private funds focused on global event-driven opportunities. Mr. Bass has managed private funds with strategies focused on sub-prime credit, the pharmaceutical industry, and Asia.
Mr. Bass is a member of the Board of Directors of the University of Texas Investment Management Company (UTIMCO), which manages approximately $40 billion, and is chair of the Risk Committee. He also is a member of the Advisory Group for the Center of Asset Management at the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia. Mr. Bass has testified as an expert witness before the U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. Senate, and the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission. In 2015, Bass was recognized as one of the Top 25 Most Influential People in the Global Patent Market as named by Intellectual Asset Management magazine. Mr. Bass has lectured on global economics at various universities, including Columbia, Harvard, Stanford, University of Chicago, University of Texas, and University of Virginia.
Prior to forming Hayman, Mr. Bass was a Managing Director at Legg Mason and a Senior Managing Director at Bear Stearns. He graduated from Texas Christian University with a degree in finance and serves on the board of directors of the Troops First Foundation and the Texas Department of Public Safety Foundation.
Featured/Keynote Session on Artificial Intelligence in Asset Management
Jeff Shen, Ph.D., Managing Director, Head of Emerging Markets, Co-Head Scientific Equity, BlackRock
Jeff Shen, PhD, Managing Director, is Co-CIO of Active Equity and Co-Head of Systematic Active Equity (SAE). He is responsible for Asia Pacific and Emerging Market Active Equity Strategies. He is the firm's Head of Emerging Market and a member of the Global Operating Committee.
Dr. Shen's service with the firm dates back to 2004, including his years with Barclays Global Investors (BGI), which merged with BlackRock in 2009. At BGI, he was the Head of Investment for Asia Pacific and Emerging Market active equities. Prior to joining BGI, he began his career in 1997 with JP Morgan where he held numerous positions in global macro investment and asset allocation research in both New York and London. In addition, he is an adjunct professor at NYU teaching a MBA class on international investment.
Dr. Shen earned a BA degree in Economics from Hobart College, a MA degree in Economics from University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and a PhD degree in Finance from New York University.
Featured/Keynote Session on Multi-Asset Strategies
Ashwin Alankar, Ph.D., Senior Vice President, Global Head of Asset Allocation & Risk Management, Janus Henderson Investors
Ashwin Alankar is Head of Global Asset Allocation & Risk Management for Janus Henderson Investors. In this role, he is responsible for leading and advising on risk management issues across the platform and defines short- and long-term approaches to asset allocation. He is also a Portfolio Manager of the Adaptive Multi-Asset strategy.
Prior to joining Janus in August 2014, Mr. Alankar served from 2010 to 2014 as co-chief investment officer of AllianceBernstein’s tail risk parity and senior hedge fund portfolio manager of the firm’s multi- asset class market neutral systematic hedge fund. Prior to that, he was a partner and capital allocation committee member for Platinum Grove Asset Management from 2003 to 2010. Mr. Alankar’s experience also includes serving as a consultant in the financial litigation division of the Law and Economics Consulting Group from 2001 to 2002.
Mr. Alankar holds a bachelor of science degree in chemical engineering and mathematics and a master of science degree in chemical engineering, both from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He also holds a Ph.D. in nance from the University of California at Berkeley Haas School of Business. Mr. Alankar has 16 years of financial industry experience.
Speaker on Cybersecurity
M. K. Palmore, CISM, CISSP, Assistant Special Agent In Charge – Cyber Branch, San Francisco, FBI
M. K. Palmore serves as the leader of the San Francisco FBI - Cyber Security Branch. His responsibilities include the strategic and operational management of several teams of cyber intrusion investigators, computer scientists, analysts and digital forensics personnel charged with conducting investigations of cyber threat actors in both the criminal and national security intrusion realms. Mr. Palmore’s leadership and investigative experiences include: Cyber Security, Crisis Management/Response, Internal Risk-Management Advisory and Counter-Terrorism matters.
Mr. Palmore entered on duty with the FBI in 1997. His assignments, in addition to San Francisco, have included FBIHQ (Washington, D.C.), Sacramento, Los Angeles and several overseas engagements. In addition to his operational duties, Mr. Palmore writes extensively on the subject of leadership and has been interviewed by several outlets on the subjects of Information Security and Cyber Security Awareness.
Mr. Palmore’s certifications include the ISACA – CISM, ISC2 – CISSP and the Carnegie Mellon University CISO Certificate. He earned a B.S. from the United States Naval Academy and a MBA from Pepperdine University. Prior to the FBI, Mr. Palmore served as a commissioned officer in the United States Marine Corps.
Pension Plan and Consultant Speakers
Ted G. Benedict, CFA, CAIA, Managing Principal, Consultant, Meketa Investment Group, Inc.
Mr. Benedict joined Meketa Investment Group in 2007 and has been in the financial services industry for 21 years. Mr. Benedict serves as the lead consultant on various defined benefit and defined contribution funds, Foundations and Endowments. His consulting work includes investment policy design, asset allocation modeling, defined contribution plans, and manager research.
Prior to joining Meketa Investment Group, Mr. Benedict was employed at Pacific Life, performing investment management research, fund coordination, and implementation of the firm’s asset allocation program. Outside of the office, Mr. Benedict enjoys spending time with his family.
He received his undergraduate degree in Economics from St. Lawrence University. Mr. Benedict has received the Chartered Financial Analyst designation from the CFA Institute and is a member of the CFA Institute, as well as the CFA Society of San Diego. Mr. Benedict also holds the Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA) designation and is a member of the CAIA Association®.
Keith M. Berlin, Director of Global Fixed Income and Credit, Fund Evaluation Group, LLC
Keith joined Fund Evaluation Group, LLC (FEG) in 2000 and is Senior Vice President / Director of Global Fixed Income and Credit. In this capacity he is responsible for conducting primary research on fixed income managers and strategies across liquid, semi-liquid, and illiquid investment opportunities. As leader of the Global Fixed Income Sector Team, he is responsible for driving strategic and tactical fixed income asset allocation recommendations to the Investment Policy Committee at FEG. In 2008 he was recognized by Institutional Investor as one of the “20 Rising Stars of Fixed Income.” He also sits on the advisory board of six private debt funds. These funds invest across a variety of strategies including: capital solutions, collateralized loan obligations, distressed debt, emerging market debt restructuring, mezzanine debt, and other special situations. Keith holds a master of business administration degree from Thomas More College and a bachelor of arts in economics from the University of Kentucky.
Scottie D. Bevill, Senior Investment Officer - Global Bonds and Real Return, Teachers' Retirement System of Illinois
Mr. Bevill currently serves as Senior Investment Officer for the $50 billion Teachers’ Retirement System of the State of Illinois. Mr. Bevill is responsible for all global debt portfolios, both public and private, short-term portfolios and real assets portfolios, outside of real estate, for the pension fund. Mr. Bevill has been in the industry for 26 years and has been overseeing the TRS debt portfolios since 2000. Mr. Bevill serves a number of roles outside of the global income and real return asset classes; however, remains extremely passionate about the debt markets. Mr. Bevill serves on a number of Boards and client advisory boards for several large fixed income managers. A native southerner, Mr. Bevill graduated from Illinois College with a B.S. in Economics/Business and received his M.A. in Economics from the University of Illinois.
Anthony Breault, Senior Investment Officer, Real Estate, Oregon State Treasury
Anthony Breault is the Senior Real Estate Investment Officer for the Oregon State Treasury where he is responsible for the allocation, performance and strategy implementaion for Oregon’s real estate portfolio with a NAV of approximately $9 billion. Prior to joining the Oregon real estate team in 2006, Anthony was with Schnitzer West. He started his real estate career with Jones Lang LaSalle working in Boston, Hartford, Miami, and Sydney, Australia. Prior to joining LaSalle in 1997, Anthony spent eight years active duty as an officer in the U.S. Navy where he retired from the Naval Reserves as Commander after 22 years of service
Dr. John Claisse, CEO, Albourne America LLC
John Claisse joined Albourne in July 1996, relocated from London to San Francisco in July 2003 and became Albourne Group CEO in August 2015. John is an equity partner and member of Albourne’s Executive Committee and also chairs the firm’s Corporate Planning Council, which comprises Albourne’s function and region heads. John helped develop the firm’s proprietary risk analytics and was formerly the Senior Analyst for quantitative equity strategies and multi-strategy hedge funds. John remains a Portfolio Analyst working with several public and corporate plans, large endowments and foundations. John holds a first class Mathematics Degree and a PhD from Sussex University.
Albourne is an independent advisory firm focused on hedge funds, private equity, real assets, real estate and dynamic beta. Founded in 1994, Albourne has over 250 clients with over $400bn invested directly in alternative investments.
Stephen Cummings, CFA, Global Investments Officer, Head of North America Investment Consulting, Aon Hewitt Investment Consulting
Stephen Cummings is the Global Investment Officer and Head of North America Aon Hewitt Investment Consulting, one of the largest providers of investment consulting services to institutional investors. He leads over 400 investment consulting professionals with over 470 clients. Steve serves as the primary consultant for select retainer and project clients. Steve is ultimately responsible for the success of the North America investment consulting practice.
Steve’s client work has included the coordination and implementation of multiple defined benefit and defined contribution plans into a consolidated structure for a multi-billion dollar corporate client and the oversight of complex alternatives programs for several large public funds. He also served as the team leader for Aon Hewitt Investment Consulting’s work with the U.S. Treasury Department during its TARP initiative and served as advisor to the State Treasurer and interim CIO of a multi-billion dollar state retirement system during a transition period between CIOs.
Steve co-leads the firm’s Global Investment Executive Function, the group responsible for setting the strategic direction of the global investment consulting practice and coordinating consulting efforts around the world. Steve is responsible for thought leadership within the firm and serves in an advisory capacity on research efforts such as those related to derivatives, private equity, and emerging investment opportunities. He is a sought-after industry expert and frequently speaks before industry groups on a broad range of topics including soft dollars, public fund oversight, portfolio construction, and the evolution of the consulting industry.
Steve joined EnnisKnupp (the predecessor firm to Aon Hewitt Investment Consulting) in 1989 as a consultant and later rejoined in 2000 as the president and Chief Executive Officer. Prior to rejoining EnnisKnupp, Steve was the president of Marquette Associates from 1997–2000. He holds a B.S. degree from the University of Texas and an M.B.A. degree from the University of Chicago. He is a CFA charterholder and is a member of the CFA Institute and Investment Analyst Society of Chicago (IASC). He is also a member of the Board of Trustees of Kohl’s Children’s Museum of Greater Chicago.
Bruce H. Cundick, CFA, CPA, Chief Investment Officer, Utah Retirement Systems
Bruce H. Cundick is the Utah Retirement Systems Chief Investment Officer. He is responsible for directing the overall operations of the Investment Department. He manages all aspects of investment functions for all plans. The Utah Retirement Systems is a $28 billion state pension fund.
Mr. Cundick graduated Magna cum laude from the University of Utah with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Accounting and Master of Business Administration Degree. Bruce is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and a Certified Public Accountant (CPA).
He has been with the Utah Retirement Systems for sixteen years. During the previous fourteen years, Bruce was the Chief Financial Officer and Chief Investment Officer at Beneficial Life Insurance Company where he directed $2 billion portfolio of fixed income, mortgage-backed and equity securities. Prior to that, he held the position of President and Chief Executive Officer at Deseret Federal Savings and Loan.
He has also taught at the University of Utah for over 30 years. He was an adjunct professor and has taught part-time as an associate instructor of Business Finance and Investments in the University’s Masters of Science and Technology program.
He has held Board positions in trucking, mortgage banking, real estate development, savings & loan and property and casualty insurance companies. He currently sits on the Benefits Finance Committee of the Board of Directors for Intermountain Health Care and the Investment Advisory Committee for the University of Utah Endowment. Member of the Board of Trustees Hedge Funds Standards Board based in London.
Aoifinn Devitt, Chief Investment Officer, Policemen's Annuity and Benefit Fund of Chicago
Aoifinn Devitt has worked with institutional clients for her entire investment career, which has spanned the US, Europe and Asia. In April 2016 she assumed the role of CIO of the Chicago Policemen’s Annuity and Benefit Fund. From 2002 to 2006 she worked as a specialist consultant at Cambridge Associates Limited (London and Boston), where she specialized in the hedge fund area and worked with a range of institutional investors on their alternative allocations. In 2006 she established Clontarf Capital, a research and consulting firm with a particular focus on assisting public pension funds. She focused on providing education, research, due diligence, portfolio construction, monitoring and rehabilitation advice and worked extensively with staff, investment committees and third parties to enable them to achieve their investment goals. She also developed a particular specialty in Asia-focused alternatives, developing and leading a product focused on that area, as well as in the tactical asset allocation and opportunistic credit areas.
Previously Aoifinn worked in the investment banking division of Goldman Sachs in London and as a corporate attorney at Debevoise & Plimpton (New York and Hong Kong).
Aoifinn graduated from Trinity College Dublin with a first class degree in law and received a BCL (Oxon) and an MBA (INSEAD, Dean’s list).
Don Drum, Executive Director, Public Employee Retirement System of Idaho, (PERSI)
In October 2008, Don Drum became the Executive Director of the Public Employee Retirement System of Idaho (PERSI), currently a $17.5 billion fund with nearly 150,000 active, inactive and retired members and 790 employers. PERSI is a statewide retirement system providing benefits and services to the public workforce associated with cities and counties, schools districts, police/firefighters, and state employees. Director Drum has upgraded member communications, overhauled customer service, and overseen the implementation of a $13 million upgrade to the pension administration system that supports all PERSI activities. For the past several years, he has traveled the state meeting directly with state lawmakers, employers, members, and constituency groups to discuss local and national pension issues.
Prior to his appointment as director, Mr. Drum served as PERSI’s deputy director for 21⁄2 years. Before joining PERSI, he held various management positions with the Idaho Department of Corrections. He was also the owner of a small accounting firm. Mr. Drum graduated from Boise State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting. He is actively involved with the National Institute on Retirement Security (NIRS), the National Association of State Retirement Administrators (NASRA), and the National Council of Teachers Retirement (NCTR).
Marianne Scott Dwight, General Counsel, Texas Treasury Safekeeping Trust Company
Marianne Dwight, a native of south Texas, is a licensed attorney and holds a BBA in accounting, with honors, from Texas A&M University, and a JD from Southern Methodist University.
Ms. Dwight has experience in both the public and private sectors, where she has focused primarily on business and financial matters, including establishing Medicaid HMOs with PriceWaterhouseCoopers; serving as Assistant Attorney General, handling financial and tax matters; and serving as general counsel to the Texas Commissioner of Insurance, the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services, and more recently to the Texas Treasury Safekeeping Trust Company (“Trust Company”).
Since joining the Trust Company in 2006 as general counsel, the number of funds in which it has invested, representing all asset classes including private equity, real estate, hedged equity, and fixed income, has grown from 20 to over 280, where she has personally participated in each investment, including creating a real estate credit investment management platform with Amherst and BNY Mellon. Additionally, Ms. Dwight and her team work closely with the investment team in managing the Emerging Technology Fund portfolio, comprised of about 100 biotech and life science companies in varying stages of their life cycle.
Ms. Dwight serves on the Trust Company Investment Committee and is responsible for all negotiations with funds from inception, including side letter agreements. She advises the CEO/CIO on agency and corporate matters, including matters related to legislation. She also manages legal and related issues concerning the three advisory boards of the Trust Company. At this time, the Trust Company’s AUM is more than $53 Billion, comprised of the State’s treasury pool, 13 endowments, $2 Billion dedicated for the State Water Implementation Fund for Texas, and $3 Billion in the Texas Economic Stability Investment Fund.
In her private life, Ms. Dwight has participated in more than 26 triathlons and has served on many boards and commissions including those appointed by the Austin City Council. Currently she serves on the board of Texas Wall Street Women, an educational and networking organization for women in the finance industry, and works with the Young Women’s Preparatory Network, which provides educational opportunities for young women throughout Texas to attend and graduate from college. Ms. Dwight also serves on the board of The Firefly Fund, whose mission is to fund and support research and education necessary to accelerate a cure for rare neurodegenerative genetic diseases that affect children. She also serves on the board of Affordable Central Texas (“ACT”), a 501(c)(3), whose mission, inter alia, is to provide affordable housing in Austin.
Michael Elio, Partner, StepStone Group
At StepStone, Mr. Elio is a Partner and is responsible for portfolio construction and management for the Firm’s high-net-worth distribution initiatives. Mr. Elio is also a Co-Head of the Middle/Large Market Buyout and Secondaries Sector Teams.
Prior to StepStone, Mr. Elio was a Managing Director at ILPA, where he led ILPA’s programs around research, standards and industry strategic priorities.
Prior to joining the ILPA, he was a Partner and Managing Director at LP Capital Advisors and led the firm’s Boston office where he served as the lead consultant to North American and European institutional investors. Mr. Elio served as the primary consultant for many of the firm’s largest clients including Public and Private Pension plans committing in excess of $5 billion annually. Mr. Elio held several progressive positions in private equity, including Vice President at State Street Corporation and Vice President at Credit Suisse First Boston Private Equity overseeing the Funds Management group.
Scott C. Evans, CFA, Deputy Comptroller - Asset Management & Chief Investment Officer, New York City Office of the Comptroller, Bureau of Asset Management
Scott C. Evans is the Deputy Comptroller for Asset Management and Chief Investment Officer for the Office of the New York City Comptroller, which serves as investment advisor to the New York City Retirement Systems. With over $165 billion in assets, it is the fourth-largest public pension fund in the United States providing retirement benefits to over 700,000 members, retirees and their beneficiaries.
In addition to his investment role with New York City, Mr. Evans serves as Trustee and member of the investment committee for the William T. Grant Foundation and is a member of the Investor’s Advisory Group of the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB).
Prior to his appointment Mr. Evans was most recently Executive Vice President of TIAA-CREF and President of its Asset Management subsidiaries.
Past external investment roles include serving on the investment committees of the Dutch pension fund ABP, Tufts University Endowment, Rockefeller Family Fund (Chair) and Barnard College (Co-Chair). Other past external roles include serving as trustee of the IFRS Foundation, which sets accounting standards for more than 100 countries, member of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Advisory Committee on Improvement to Financial Reporting, Trustee of Barnard College, and Dean’s Advisory Council at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.
Mr. Evans holds the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation and is a member of the New York Society of Security Analysts. He earned an M.M. from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management and a B.A. in Economics from Tufts University.
Christy Fields, Managing Director – Real Estate, Pension Consulting Alliance, LLC, (PCA)
Ms. Fields is a Managing Director and practice leader of Real Estate Consulting Services at PCA. She is also an owner and member of the Board of Directors of the firm. Ms. Fields has extensive experience in structuring and analyzing real estate transactions, developing investment strategy, analyzing manager fees and performance, evaluating manager reporting practices, and supervising and negotiating workouts on behalf of her clients.
Earlier in her career, Ms. Fields was a Senior Consultant with PriceWaterhouseCoopers’ Real Estate Consulting Services Group based out of Honolulu where she specialized in real estate investment analysis, lease negotiations, property and small business appraisal, property-level acquisition due diligence, and tourism and master planning studies. While at PwC, Ms. Fields was actively involved in several large RTC restructurings, including the 1,000+ asset Circle K portfolio.
Ms. Fields is an active member of numerous industry organizations and has participated as a speaker at PREA, PERE, NCREIF, ULI, and several emerging manager conferences. Ms. Fields received her Bachelor of Arts from Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration and her Masters in Business Administration from Yale University’s School of Management.
Hayden Gallary, CFA, Managing Director, Cambridge Associates LLC
Focus & Experience
Hayden is a Managing Director in Cambridge Associates’ Pension Practice and is based in the firm’s San Francisco office. Hayden advises clients on investment issues such as asset allocation strategy, manager selection, and investment program evaluation. Hayden works with a number of pensions and institutional clients in the US ranging in size from $20 million to $1.8 billion. He is also the leader of the firm’s efforts in the Defined Contribution space.
Hayden has over 11 years of investment experience. Prior to joining Cambridge Associates in 2008, Hayden worked at The Rock Creek Group, a diversified hedge fund-of-funds. Previously, Hayden was a member of the Global Asset Allocation Group at Putnam Investments for three years. While there, he focused on quantitative research regarding short and intermediate term allocation decisions across global equity and fixed income markets. He also was involved in the management of Putnam's age-based retirement and college savings funds.
Education and Professional Credentials
MBA, Sloan School of Management, MIT
BA, Economics & Mathematics, Yale University
Brian Guthrie, Executive Director, Teacher Retirement System of Texas
Brian K. Guthrie serves as executive director of the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS), the sixth largest public pension fund in the United States.
With a staff of approximately 675 employees, TRS delivers retirement and health benefits as authorized by the Texas Legislature and manages an approximately $147.4 billion trust fund established to finance member benefits. More than 1.5 million public education and higher education employees and retirees participate in the system.
Under Brian’s leadership, TRS conducted a legislatively mandated study of TRS’ active member and retiree health care programs. The study resulted in legislative changes that secured the long-term sustainability of the pension trust fund and provided many annuitants with their first cost-of-living adjustment in over a decade. In addition, the agency launched the multi-year TRS Enterprise Application Modernization (TEAM) program, which is now under way. TEAM will replace aging legacy systems and improve internal processes to help ensure TRS continues to provide excellent service to its growing membership.
Brian has an extensive background in state government, legislative relations, budgeting, and finance. Before becoming executive director, he served for three years as deputy director of TRS. Prior to that, he worked in the Texas Governor’s Office of Budget, Planning and Policy for eight years; served as a budget advisor to two lieutenant governors; and began his career at the Legislative Budget Board. In addition to his familiarity with state budget policy, Brian has also worked on higher education, criminal justice, public retirement systems, and state health insurance issues.
Thomas Henley, Senior Managing Director of Strategic Opportunities, UAW Retiree Medical Benefits Trust
Thomas Henley, Sr. Manager Director of Strategic Opportunities for the UAW Retiree Medical Benefits Trust (the “Trust”), has over 23 years of experience in investments, finance and corporate governance. The Trust is the largest non-governmental purchaser of retiree healthcare benefits in the United States. In his capacity, Mr. Henley manages ESG and Diversity initiatives across all asset classes for the Trust, as well as managing other Trust initiatives that include Strategic Partnerships, Co-Investments and In-state investments. Mr. Henley’s experience has incorporated making and managing public and private market investments, including private equity and real estate both domestically and internationally. Given the Trust’s sensitivity to ESG, Mr. Henley’s duties include ensuring suitable ESG analysis throughout the Trust’s entire investment process. Mr. Henley has also sat on numerous private equity and real estate advisory committees. Transacting deals in excess of $75 billion, Mr. Henley worked on a wide number of transactions that include many highly visible corporate transactions. Mr. Henley is also the Trust’s representative who sits on the Advisory Board of the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (“SASB”).
Mr. Henley earned an MBA from the Anderson Graduate School of Management at UCLA where he received a Chevron Fellowship in Finance, and a B.S. from Stanford University with a degree in Petroleum Engineering. Mr. Henley currently sits on the Investment Board of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (“NCAA”) and Lazarus Energy Holdings, an aggregator of energy assets.
Daniel Hennessy, CFA, CAIA, Senior Consultant, NEPC, LLC
Dan Hennessy is a Senior Consultant in NEPC’s Redwood City, CA office. He advises both Taft-Hartley and Public Funds on a wide range of investment issues including investment policy design, asset allocation, risk management, and manager selection. Prior to becoming an investment consultant Dan was a senior consumer analyst and co-portfolio manager at Franklin Templeton Investments. Dan earned a B.A. degree in Mathematical Economics from Pomona College and a M.B.A. in Finance from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. He holds both the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA) designations.
Mark Higgins, CFA, Consultant, Principal, RVK, Inc.
Mark joined RVK in 2009 and was made a Principal of the firm in 2016. Mark also serves as the Chairperson of RVK’s Editorial Board, which oversees the production of the Investment Perspectives publication and RVK’s strategy studies, such as Investment Committee Best Practices. Mark currently serves a variety of institutional clients, including public pension funds, endowments, corporate defined benefit plans, and state permanent funds.
Mark graduated Magna Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Georgetown University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Psychology. He also holds a Master of Business Administration from the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia. Mark holds the Chartered Financial Analyst designation. He is a member of both the CFA Institute and the CFA Society of Portland. Mark is a shareholder of the firm.
Craig Husting, CFA, Chief Investment Officer, Public School & Education Employee Retirement Systems of Missouri, (PSRS/PEERS)
Craig Husting is the Chief Investment Officer (CIO) for the Public School and Education Employee Retirement Systems of Missouri. As CIO, he directs the management of the Systems’ $42 billion investment portfolio. Specifically, Mr. Husting has been responsible for strategically diversifying the asset allocation for the Systems including the development of real estate, private equity and hedge fund portfolios. He joined the Retirement Systems as CIO in January 1999.
Prior to that, Mr. Husting was the Director of Investments and Deposit Programs for the Missouri State Treasurer’s Office where he managed all aspects of the State’s $3.5 billion investment portfolio. Mr. Husting has also worked in county government as the Deputy Treasurer for the Johnson County, KS government. Mr. Husting began his career in finance in 1989 with Ernst and Young’s national cash management consulting practice.
Mr. Husting earned an MBA from the University of Notre Dame and a B.A. degree from Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas. He has earned the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation.
Trevor A. Jackson, Jr., Senior Consultant, Summit Strategies Group
Trevor A. Jackson Jr. is a Senior Consultant at Summit Strategies Group. He serves as lead consultant to several of Summit’s clients, working closely with pensions, foundations and health care clients. Prior to joining Summit, Mr. Jackson spent over 7 years at Wilshire Associates, Inc. in Santa Monica, CA where he served as a senior client manager helping institutional and intermediary clients develop asset allocation, investment policy, and manager selection/oversight guidelines while providing market perspective and educating clients on various investment options. His previous roles include Manager of Investments at Harris myCFO, Inc. working with family office and foundation clients, and Senior Investment Analyst at former investment consulting firm, Capital Resource Advisors (originally SEI Asset Consulting), working with a number of public pension, corporate, and Taft-Hartley plan sponsors. Mr. Jackson is a graduate of UC Berkeley and has been an active participant with a number of non-profit organizations. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Los Angeles Education Partnership (LAEP) and has been a volunteer, coach, and panel judge for the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE).
Meredith A. Jones, Partner & Head of Emerging Manager Research, Aon Hewitt Investment Consulting
Meredith A. Jones is a partner at Aon Hewitt Investment Consulting, focused on emerging and diverse manager research and responsible investing strategies. She is also an internationally recognized researcher, writer, blogger speaker and expert in the alternative investment industry. She is the author of Women of The Street: Why Female Money Managers Generate Higher Returns (And How You Can Too), which won an Axiom Award gold medal in 2016. She was also named as an Inc. magazine’s “17 Inspiring Women To Watch in 2017” and serves on the Board of Directors for Rock the Street, Wall Street, a non-profit that provides financial and investment literacy programs to high school girls.
Over the past 19 years, Meredith has presented her original research and insights to industry participants around the world. She is a frequent speaker on the international conference circuit and has had her findings published in books and major media outlets, including the Economist, the New York Times, CNBC, the Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, the Journal of Investing, and others.
She began her alternative investment career at Van Hedge Fund Advisors International where she was Director of Research. She continued her research at PerTrac Financial Solutions and Barclays Capital, Inc., producing groundbreaking reports on emerging managers and diversity investing, before becoming Director of the Rothstein Kass Institute, an alternative investment think tank, and becoming a partner at Aon.
Rodney June, Chief Investment Officer, Los Angeles City Employees' Retirement System, (LACERS)
Rod began his career with the $16 billion Los Angeles City Employees’ Retirement System (LACERS) in 1998 where he has served as its CIO since 2012. Prior to being named CIO at LACERS, he served for over four years as CIO for the $15 billion State of Hawaii Employees’ Retirement System, where he developed a long-term operational strategic plan and launched an in-state innovative technology investment program.
Prior to joining LACERS, he was a Banking Officer with First Interstate Bank of California, a small business consultant for The George S. May Company, and a Finance Development Officer with the City of Los Angeles Housing Department.
Rod was founder of the LEAD Association, a non-profit scholarship and service organization at California State University, Long Beach, and a past Board member of the Jonathan Tarr Foundation, a non-profit organization that provides scholarships to underserved college-bound students from San Diego, Imperial, and Orange Counties.
He holds a B.S. in Business-Finance from California State University, Long Beach, where he was inducted into Beta Gamma Sigma Business Honor Society, and an M.B.A. from the Raymond J. Harbert College of Business at Auburn University.
Andrew Junkin, CFA, CAIA, President, Wilshire Consulting
Andrew Junkin is President of Wilshire Consulting and is a member of Wilshire’s Board of Directors and Wilshire Consulting's Investment Committee. Mr. Junkin leads over 90 consulting professionals who serve Wilshire’s consulting clients, and provides strategic leadership to Wilshire Consulting.
Mr. Junkin joined Wilshire in 2005. Throughout his tenure at Wilshire, he has worked directly with large institutional investors of all types: public and corporate defined benefit plans, foundations, endowments and insurance companies. He has 22 years of investment experience with the last 21 years in the consulting industry. Prior to joining Wilshire, he was director of research and senior consultant at Asset Services Company where he provided advice to institutional investors. Mr. Junkin began his career as a financial consultant with Merrill Lynch in Oklahoma City. He earned a B.S. from Oklahoma City University, attended business school at the Price College of Business at the University of Oklahoma and earned his MBA from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Mr. Junkin holds the Chartered Financial Analyst and Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst designations.
R. Dean Kenderdine, Executive Director, Maryland State Retirement and Pension System
R. Dean Kenderdine was named Executive Director of the Maryland State Retirement and Pension System effective January 17, 2007. Mr. Kenderdine is chief executive officer of a system that administers retirement, disability, and death benefits on behalf of more than 394,000 active, vested, and retired State employees, teachers, state police, correctional officers, other law enforcement officers, judges and legislators. He is an active member of the National Association of State Retirement Administrators (NASRA) and the National Council on Teacher Retirement (NCTR). Mr. Kenderdine has served on the Executive Committee for NASRA and serves on the Legislative Committee for NCTR.
Mr. Kenderdine has dedicated his career to public service. Prior to this appointment, Mr. Kenderdine served as Chief of Staff for the Comptroller of Maryland, Assistant Secretary of Tourism, Film and the Arts for the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development, District Director and State Director for United States Senator Barbara A. Mikulski, and program director for the Maryland Department of Human Resources.
Mr. Kenderdine has served as a member of the Board of Directors for a number of non- profit organizations, and presently serves on the Board of Goodwill Industries of the Chesapeake.
Mr. Kenderdine holds a Master’s degree from the University of Maryland and a Bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University.
Zeke L. Loretto, Director Head of EBay Global Investments, eBay
Zeke L. Loretto, is Director Head of EBay Global Investments. At EBay, Mr. Loretto is responsible for the portfolio management, trading, and business management of EBay's $11Bn in-house fixed income liquidity portfolios. Prior to EBay, Mr. Loretto worked at SilverLake Credit Fund, a $400mm High Yield Leveraged Loan Portfolio, as Director Senior Credit Analyst. Prior to SilverLake, Mr. Loretto was Vice-President Senior Credit Analyst at Wells Capital Management/Sutter Credit Strategies, a $3.5Bn High Yield Credit Portfolio. Prior to Wells Capital, Mr. Loretto was Vice-President/Co-Head of Wells Fargo’s Proprietary Investment Group, a $2.5Bn High Yield Credit Portfolio. Mr. Loretto received a Master’s of Business Administration from the University of Michigan and a Bachelors of Arts from the University of California at Berkeley.
Jeffrey MacLean, Chief Executive Officer, Verus
Mr. MacLean joined Verus in 1992 and is primarily responsible for managing the firm and providing investment advice to several clients. He has over 28 years of investment and consulting experience, working with all asset classes for a range of clients including corporate defined benefit plans, public institutions, multi-employer trusts, endowments, and foundations. He also chairs the firm's management committee.
Mr. MacLean often speaks at investment forums regarding the macro-economic environment, asset allocation, risk management, alternative investments, and industry trends. Prior to joining Verus, Mr. MacLean was Vice President of Shurgard Realty Group, a real estate advisory firm, and a consultant for Arthur Andersen & Company.
Mr. MacLean currently volunteers for Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles and he serves on the advisory board for the University of Washington Foster School of Business. He holds a master's degree in business administration (MBA) from the Darden School of Business and a bachelor’s degree in business administration (BBA) from the University of Washington, where he served as student body president in his senior year.
Aeisha Mastagni, Portfolio Manager, California State Teachers' Retirement System, (CalSTRS)
Aeisha Mastagni is a Portfolio Manager within the Corporate Governance Unit of the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS), the nation’s largest teacher retirement fund. She is responsible for working with a dedicated governance team to further CalSTRS’ mission to secure the financial future and sustain the trust of California’s educators.
Aeisha’s main areas of focus are the corporate engagement program, executive compensation, selecting and monitoring managers in the activist manager portfolio, and working with regulatory authorities on market-wide issues.
In 2012, Aeisha joined the Board of Directors at the Golden 1 Credit Union, one of the nation’s largest credit union in the U.S. with more than $10 billion in assets and over 900,000 members. In 2015, she joined the Board of Directors for the Council of Institutional Investors, whose mission is to be the leading voice for effective corporate governance practices and shareholder rights. Aeisha was named one of the “40 Under 40, Freshest Talent at the World’s Largest Asset Owners” by aiCIO Magazine, for two years in a row.
Before joining CalSTRS, Aeisha worked in the Corporate Governance Unit of the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS) for six years overseeing the proxy voting program and the corporate governance manager portfolio. Prior to CalPERS, she worked in the Operations Department of Salomon Smith Barney before moving to Morgan Stanley as a Financial Advisor and Assistant Operations Manager. Aeisha has a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from the California State University, Sacramento.
Tom Masthay, CFA, CAIA, FRM, Director, Real Assets, Texas Municipal Retirement System, (TMRS)
Tom Masthay is the Director of Real Assets for Texas Municipal Retirement System, a $27B hybrid defined benefit plan located in Austin Texas. Tom currently leads a team managing a $5B portfolio of real estate, infrastructure, energy, mining, agriculture and esoteric public and private investments. He has prior worked at NextEra Energy/Florida Power and Light and Kentucky Retirement Systems, managing alternative investments for those institutions. Tom holds an MBA and BBA from the University of Kentucky.
Priya Mathur, President, Board of Administration, California Public Employees' Retirement System, (CalPERS)
Priya Mathur is CalPERS’ first female board president. She is serving her fourth term as a member of the CalPERS Board of Administration.
She is a principal financial analyst for Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART). Before joining BART, she was a consultant with Public Financial Management Inc., a leading advisor to local governments.
For more than 10 years Priya chaired CalPERS’ Pension & Health Benefits Committee, which oversees the $9 billion Health Benefits Program on behalf of 1.4 million members and their beneficiaries.
She favors making investment decisions with a view to long-term objectives and risks, incorporating sustainability factors that could impact the fund's performance over the long term. These considerations were incorporated into the development of CalPERS' Investment Beliefs, adopted in 2013, which she championed. The Investment Beliefs provide the framework for CalPERS' investment program.
For five years Priya has also served as a member of the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) Board. CalPERS is a founding signatory of PRI, a United Nations-supported organization that promotes active ownership and responsible investment throughout the investment ecosystem.
She has a master's degree in business administration from the Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley, and a bachelor's degree in economics and literature from Connecticut College.
Paul Matson, CFA, CAIA, Executive Director, Arizona State Retirement System
Paul Matson has served since 2003 as chief executive of the Arizona State Retirement System, overseeing an approximately $34 billion investment portfolio, $25 million appropriated budget, and 240 employees. Program oversight includes pension, health insurance, and long term disability and defined contribution.
Reporting divisions include legislative and external affairs, member services, financial services, information technology, investment management and human resources. Mr. Matson reports to a nine-member Board of Trustees.
In 2012, Mr. Matson was honored as “Leader of the Year in Public Policy – Government” by the Arizona Capitol Times. Mr. Matson was recognized for his work leading the ASRS through challenging economic times and an active legislative session in which lawmakers took a close look at the state’s public pension plans.
Mr. Matson began at the ASRS in 1995 as chief investment officer, responsible for the internal and external multi asset-class investment management of the fund and development of the internal investment management division of the ASRS.
From 1994 to 1995, Mr. Matson served as Senior Investment Advisor, Treasury Division, Workers Compensation Board, Alberta, Canada. His overall responsibilities were for asset mix, asset class selection, manager analysis and performance monitoring for the multi-billion dollar fund.
From 1989 to 1994, Mr. Matson served as Financial Analyst and Portfolio Analyst, Investment Management Division, Alberta Treasury. His duties included performance measurement, derivatives analysis, fixed income analysis, asset mix analysis, liability analysis and various portfolio support activities.
Mr. Matson is also on and served as chairperson of the Arizona Deferred Compensation Committee, serves on the Arizona Property and Casualty Insurance Guaranty Fund Board and its Investment Committee, is a founding member of the Canada-Arizona Business Council. He formerly served on the Investment Operations Committee of the Province of Alberta Treasury investment division, and is a graduate of the FBI Citizen's Academy.
- Master of Arts, International Relations, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona. (Research focus on International Terrorism)
- Master of Business Administration, Simon Fraser University, Canada. (Research focus on Financial Derivatives)
- Bachelor of Commerce, University of Alberta, Canada
- Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA) Charter Holder
- Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Charter Holder
- Fellow of the Canadian Securities Institute (FCSI)
- Canadian Investment Manager (CIM)
- Certified Cash Manager (CCM)
*Estimates are utilized
Neil Messing, Head of Hedge Funds, New York City Office of the Comptroller, Bureau of Asset Management
Mr. Messing currently oversees the New York City Pension System’s hedge fund program. Previously, Mr. Messing was part of the hedge fund manager due diligence team for the US investment arm of Unigestion, a global alternatives investment firm. Prior to he was a hedge fund analyst for Glenwood Capital Investments, a pioneer in the hedge fund of funds industry. Mr. Messing graduated with a degree in Finance from the University of Arizona.
Stephen L. Nesbitt, CEO, CIO, Cliffwater LLC
Steve is Chief Executive Officer of Cliffwater LLC and oversees all investment research as the firm’s Chief Investment Officer. Prior to forming Cliffwater in 2004, Steve was a Senior Managing Director at Wilshire Associates. From 1990 to 2004, Steve led the Consulting division at Wilshire Associates and also started and built its asset management business using a 'manager of manager' investment approach, including private equity and hedge fund-of-fund portfolios. Steve started his career at Wells Fargo Investment Advisors, an early pioneer in index funds, where he developed and managed index funds and oversaw asset allocation.
Steve is recognized for his investment research. His articles have appeared in the Financial Analysts Journal, The Journal of Portfolio Management, and The Journal of Applied Corporate Finance on issues covering performance fees, currency hedging, gauging private equity performance, and corporate governance. His “firsts” include creating a “smart” index fund (1979); measuring the benefits of corporate governance and coining the term “CalPERS Effect” (1994); designing and implementing an institutional performance fee structure (1987); measuring the cost of “Buy High, Sell Low” in mutual fund cash flows (1995); creating State Pension Surveys on Funding (1991) and Performance (2012); and measuring the private-to-liquid alternatives performance discount (2013).
Steve is best known for his research on Asset Allocation and Portfolio Construction, covering over 30 years of annual long term expected returns and risk across asset classes. At Cliffwater, he has led research on the components of hedge fund return and risk and proper construction of a portfolio of hedge funds.
John Nicolini, CFA, Managing Director, Senior Consultant, Verus
John Nicolini brings over 13 years of experience in capital markets and research as well as consulting services to Verus’ institutional clients. John leads Verus’ real assets consulting practice and provides general consulting services to a select group of institutional clients.
John is also a shareholder of the Firm.
Prior to joining Verus in 2016, John led the real assets consulting practice at SIS in addition to serving as a general consultant to several public plans and foundations. Before SIS, John worked in the manager research group at Highland Associates in Birmingham, Alabama. At Highland Associates, John was responsible for the firm’s traditional asset class and real asset manager research functions. In addition, he worked closely with institutional investors in developing asset allocations and capital market projections. Prior to Highland Associates, John worked with WAKM Asset Management in manager research and client service.
John is a Chartered Financial Analyst charterholder and is a member of the CFA Institute. John has a BS in Finance from Auburn University.
James Nield, CFA, FRM, Chief Risk Officer, Teacher Retirement System of Texas
James Nield is the Chief Risk Officer and has been with TRS since 2009. The Risk Group is primarily responsible for budgeting and managing the risk of the overall investment Fund with the objective to enable the efficient use of risk. In addition, the Risk Group helps to formulate strategic asset allocation (along with the asset allocation group), identify potential areas of concern, certify new managers, and also manage a number of standalone investment strategies. Mr. Nield has also helped to build out the Trust’s allocation to Risk Parity, reinsurance and currency strategies.
Prior to joining TRS, Mr. Nield worked for Ford Motor Company for over 10 years. At Ford, he worked in the pension group, as a derivatives trader, and as a manufacturing cost accounting supervisor.
Mr. Nield earned his MBA from New York University and graduated from Pennsylvania State University with a degree in finance and international business. Mr. Nield is a CFA charter holder and holds the FRM designation.
Susan E. Oh, CFA, Senior Portfolio Manager, Pennsylvania Public School Employees' Retirement System
Susan is a Senior Portfolio Manager for the Pennsylvania Public School Employees' Retirement System (PSERS), a $53 billion defined benefit pension plan. Susan focuses on asset allocation and strategy development to improve total fund diversification and risk-adjusted return. Susan is responsible for overseeing the $5 billion Risk Parity program (half of which is managed internally) and $6 billion currency hedging strategy.
Susan has been an innovator at PSERS initiating their swap overlay program in 2006, advocating for a greater risk-balanced asset allocation after the Global Financial Crisis, leading the Risk Parity initiative in 2012, and the currency hedging initiative in 2013. These innovations have grown to become large contributors to diversification and alpha generation of the plan, and led to a greater proportion of assets managed internally.
In Susan’s 22 years at PSERS, she previously served as the Chair of the Asset Allocation Committee and portfolio manager of internal international public equities, which grew to $8 billion at its height. Susan also served as an investment accounting manager for four years.
Prior to PSERS, Susan was an auditor at KPMG. Susan is a CFA charter holder and a licensed CPA. She earned a B.S. in Accounting from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
Susan serves on the Advisory Board of the Alternative Investor Forum, and resides in Hershey, Pennsylvania with her husband and two daughters.
Mansco Perry III, CFA, CAIA, Executive Director, Chief Investment Officer, Minnesota State Board of Investment
Mansco Perry was named Executive Director and Chief Investment Officer of the Minnesota State Board of Investment (MSBI), effective October 21, 2013. The MSBI is responsible for the management of pension and other state assets, totaling $90 billion.
Prior to his appointment at the MSBI, Mansco served as the Chief Investment Officer of Macalester College, Chief Investment Officer of the Maryland State Retirement and Pension System, Assistant Executive Director and Deputy Chief Investment Officer of the Minnesota State Board of Investment. He has held various financial management positions at Cargill, Inc., Dayton Hudson Corporation, Target Stores, the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis and the Minnesota Department of Revenue.
Mansco has a BA from Carleton College, an MBA from the University of Chicago and a J.D. from the William Mitchell School of Law. He was awarded the Chartered Financial Analyst, the Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst, and the Certificate in Investment Performance Measurement designations. Mansco was admitted to practice law in the State and Federal District courts of Minnesota.
He serves on the Board of Directors of Minnesota Workers Compensation Reinsurance Association. Previously, he served on the Board of Directors Minnesota Philanthropy Partners, the Board of Directors of Catholic Charities of St. Paul and Minneapolis, and the Board of Trustees of William Mitchell College of Law. He has also served as a member of the Investment Advisory Council of the New York State Teachers Retirement System and on the Investment Committees of the Sisters of Saint Joseph of the Carondelet and the University of Baltimore Foundation.
Mansco was born in Newark, New Jersey. He is married to Nancy, and is the proud father of his two young daughters, Katherine Mei Xiaobing and Anna Hua. Mansco is an avid baseball fan and collector of baseball memorabilia. His other hobbies and interests include golf and numismatics.
Russell Read, Chief Investment Officer, Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation
Russell Read serves as Chief Investment Officer of the Alaska Permanent Fund, leading the investment efforts associated with the State of Alaska’s sovereign wealth. Until recently, Dr. Read was Chief Investment Officer and Deputy Chief Executive of the Gulf Investment Corporation (GIC), a unique regional development institutional investor owned equally by the six GCC countries of the Arabian Peninsula and headquartered in Kuwait City. Prior to his work at GIC, Dr. Read was Chief Investment Officer of the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS, North America’s largest pension system), Deputy CIO for Scudder Investments/Deutsche(bank) Asset Management, and Director of Investment Product Design, Commodities, and Quantitative Strategies for OppenheimerFunds in New York City.
Dr. Read has been a resource for regulatory agencies internationally, state governments, the US Congress, and the US Senate for over two decades and served as Chairman of the Investors’ Committee of the President’s Working Group on Financial Markets under Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson. He was named as one of America’s 30 most influential players in business and finance by SmartMoney (November 2007) and #35 on Institutional Investor’s list of the 75 most effective chief executives.
Dr. Read received his undergraduate degree in Statistics and his MBA in Finance and International Business both from the University of Chicago and his masters in Economics and doctorate in Political Economy from Stanford University. His doctoral work The Politics and Policies of National Economic Growth focused on the particular economic roles of natural resources in economic development. He has taught graduate-level courses at the University of California at Davis, the University of Maine, and Stanford University as well as being a guest lecturer/class instructor at Columbia University, New York University, and the University of California at Berkeley.
Luis J. Roman, Ph.D., Senior Investment Officer, Director of Risk Management, Massachusetts Pension Reserves Investment Management Board, (PRIM)
Luis J. Roman is the Director of Risk Management of the Massachusetts Pension Reserves Investment Management (“PRIM”) Board. His responsibilities include due diligence of investment managers, analysis and monitoring of investment risk, and overseeing that the management of the investment strategies is compatible with its expected risk profile and best investments practices. Prior to joining the PRIM Board, Luis was the U.S. Head of Multi Asset Class and Alternatives Investment Risk at Columbia Threadneedle Investments, Global Head of Fixed Income Investment Risk at SSgA, and a Quantitative Analyst at Putnam Investments. He is an expert in the design and implementation of risk management processes for asset management firms, and successfully integrated risk management practices and investment processes, by providing in depth analysis and valuable information applicable to strategies, allocation, risk budgeting and investment solutions. His approach produced cooperative relationships between portfolio managers and risk managers, enhancing a risk-conscious culture firm-wide. Luis began his career in academia where he was visiting assistant professor at the University of California in Irvine, and Worcester Polytechnic Institute. He earned his Masters in Applied Mathematics from the University of Chicago and his Ph.D. in Mathematics from the University of Minnesota.
Candace Ronan, CFA, Portfolio Manager, Global Equity, California State Teachers' Retirement System, (CalSTRS)
Candace joined California State Teachers Retirement System (CalSTRS) in September 2013 and is responsible for the actively managed portion of the global public equity portfolio including the developing manager portfolio. Additionally, she currently chairs the CalSTRS Diversity Team.
Prior to joining CalSTRS, Candace was most recently responsible for investment management in the Santa Barbara office of Manchester Capital Management, a multi-client family office. She spent most of her three decade investment management career with Wells Fargo’s Wealth Management Group.
Candace has been actively involved with the CFA Institute and is past president of the CFA Society of Sacramento.
Robert Sessa, CFA, Director of Real Estate, Employees Retirement System of Texas
Robert (“Bob”) Sessa is the Director of Real Estate for the Employees Retirement System of Texas (“ERS”), a $28 billion public pension plan serving over 300,000 state employees. Mr. Sessa is responsible for formulating and directing the investment strategy and portfolio construction of the Trust’s 12% allocation to real estate. In his role, Mr. Sessa oversees all investment selection, due diligence, underwriting, and legal negotiations of the private real estate portfolio. Mr. Sessa is also an active advisory board member on most of the program’s underlying funds. Since the program’s inception in 2005, Mr. Sessa and team have created an internally managed global listed real estate securities portfolio valued at over $700 million and in 2009, began implementing the private real estate global portfolio which now has over $3.0 billion in commitments to over 45 funds/club deals and co-investments with a current value of approximately $2.0 billion.
Mr. Sessa has 17 years of real estate experience and been a true leader and innovator in the institutional real estate community. Bob is an active member of PREA, ULI and NAREIT and sits on the Executive Council of UT REFIC and the UT REIT advisory board. Bob has co-led PREA’s LP only event and co-chaired PREA’s main conference and has spoken at several conferences both domestically and globally. Moreover, ERS’ Real Estate program has outperformed its industry benchmark since inception and was recognized in 2014 and 2015 for best Indirect Strategy and in 2016 for the best Listed Strategy and shortlisted in 2015 for the Best Large Institutional Investor categories at the IP Real Estate Global Awards.
Prior to joining ERS in 1999 as an equities analyst, Mr. Sessa spent five years at Coopers & Lybrand (now PriceWaterhouseCoopers) in New York in the personal financial services and business assurance groups. Mr. Sessa received an MBA at the University of Texas at Austin and a B.S. in business administration from Fordham University where he earned a swimming scholarship. Bob is a CFA charter holder and a former CPA.
Harshal Shah, CFA, Senior Vice President, Private Equity Research Group, Callan Associates, Inc.
Harshal Shah, CFA is a Senior Vice President within Callan’s Private Equity Research Group. He joined Callan in 2017 and assists in all aspects of private equity consulting, including research and client servicing, portfolio reviews, manager searches and research projects.
Prior to joining Callan, Harshal was a Portfolio Manager within the private equity group at CalPERS, underwriting fund commitments, co-investments and assisting with various special projects. Prior to CalPERS, he was a Vice President at Strategic Investment Solutions, assisting clients in the development and implementation of their private equity programs. Harshal also worked at Fremont Investments and Wells Capital Management as a portfolio manager and research analyst, responsible for the coverage of the Telecommunications, Healthcare and Energy Sectors.
Harshal earned a BA in Finance from California State University, Fullerton and has earned the right to use the Chartered Financial Analyst designation.
Paul V. Shantic, Director – Inflation Sensitive Investments, California State Teachers' Retirement System, (CalSTRS)
As the Director of the Inflation Sensitive asset class for the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS), Paul Shantic is the lead for a team of 6 investment professionals responsible for the management and gathering of assets with a close linkage to inflation. Current commitments total $3.0 billion. Commodities, infrastructure, agriculture, timber and U.S. TIPS are part of that mandate.
Mr. Shantic has been with CalSTRS for over 20 years. He has served as Acting Co-Director of Fixed Income and also served as the Portfolio Manager for the $7.2 billion Investment Grade and High Yield portfolios along with a team of five trader/analysts. Mr. Shantic has also managed the System’s MBS and Liquidity Portfolios. He assisted with the start-up of the System’s Credit Enhancement Program and has worked as a public funds manager for a number of public agencies throughout the State of California.
Mr. Shantic holds advanced degrees in Business, Portfolio Management, Public Administration, Conflict Resolution, and Government. He received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Philosophy from the University of Redlands.
Richard Stensrud, Executive Director, School Employees Retirement System of Ohio
Richard Stensrud joined SERS as the Executive Director in 2017. He is the central point of accountability for SERS' overall affairs, investment performance, and operational and financial performance.
Before joining SERS, Stensrud served as CEO of the $8 billion Sacramento County Employees’ Retirement System (SCERS). Along with serving as CEO of SCERS, Stensrud has been the Chair of the Legislative Committee for the State Association of County Retirement Systems, representing over twenty retirement systems, for the past ten years.
This public service followed two years as CEO of the Merced County Employees’ Retirement Association. Additionally, Stensrud has held general counsel and senior policy advisor roles for the Missouri Consolidated Health Care Plan, Teachers’ Retirement System of Illinois, and Public School and Education Employees Retirement System of Missouri. He also has legislative experience as the general counsel/director of policy and planning for the Missouri State Treasurer and as assistant attorney general in the Missouri Attorney General’s Office.
Stensrud received a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology and a Juris Doctor from Indiana University.
Matthew Strube, Senior Portflio Manager, CSAA Insurance Group
Matt Strube - Senior Portfolio Manager for CSAA Insurance Group, a AAA Insurer, with $7.5 billion in insurance and pension plan assets. Matt oversees the company’s pension plan and covers managers across all asset classes for both the pension and insurance pools. Prior to AAA, Matt was the Head of Portfolio Solutions for Mesirow Advanced Strategies, a $13.5 billion fund of hedge funds where he was responsible for portfolio management of the firm’s custom portfolios. Previously, Matt served as the Director of Hedge Funds for The Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS), overseeing hedge fund strategy, due diligence, and portfolio construction for TRS’ $9 billion Hedge Fund allocation. Matt holds an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago-Booth School of Business.
Steve Woodall, CFA, CAIA, Portfolio Manager, Virginia Retirement System
Steve Woodall is a Portfolio Manager for VRS based in Richmond, Virginia. Since joining in 2005 Steve has focused on the sourcing, evaluation and implementation of externally managed debt-focused strategies that generally fall outside of traditional fixed income. He is responsible for investments spanning opportunistic credit, distressed debt, mezzanine debt, private lending, credit hedge funds, convertible bonds, and emerging market debt. VRS's Credit Strategies program has approximately $13 billion invested across such strategies.
Before VRS, Steve worked as a valuation analyst at Pretium Capital. Prior to finance, he spent six years in public service as a firefighter and EMT for the City of Huntsville, Alabama. Steve earned a BS in Finance at the University of Alabama, Huntsville, and an MBA at the University of Georgia.