Public Funds Roundtable 2019

Apr 29th - May 1st 2019
The Beverly Hilton
Los Angeles
Politics Are a Disaster. Markets Are Shaky. The Future is Uncertain. In Short: It’s Never Been a Better Time to Be a Public Pension CIO.

The current environment is one of high anxiety – socially and in many cases economically. The fabric of geopolitical unity is in tatters, equity markets act of their own volition, credit quality is of increased concern, emerging markets continue to be challenged, and the world prepares for slowed growth. All the while, U.S. public plans continue to fight an uphill battle against their funded statuses. 

However, that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for cautious optimism in public pension investing. 

Governance can be altered. Allocators can leverage relationships for mutual benefit. New paradigms of investment opportunity are emerging. As market cycles shift, there is an increased opportunity along with increased risk. 

In response, the 2019 Roundtable for Public Funds will address the means through which you can hack your portfolio, expose ascending and descending trends, and challenge conventional wisdom to gain an edge. 

View the 2019 Agenda


2019 Advisory Board

We thank our 2019 Advisory Board for their input into this year's agenda.

  • Marcus Frampton,  Chief Investment Officer, Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation
  • Derek Brodersen, Chief Investment Officer, Alberta Teachers Retirement Fund
  • Mark Steed, Interim Chief Investment Officer, Arizona Public Safety Personnel Retirement Systems
  • Mike Rosborough, Investment Director, CalPERS
  • Christopher J. Ailman, Chief Investment Officer, CalSTRS
  • Scott Chan, Deputy Chief Investment Officer, CalSTRS
  • Angela Miller-May, Chief Investment Officer, Chicago Public School Teacher’s Pension
  • David T. Veal, Chief Investment Officer, City of Austin Employees' Retirement System
  • Timothy Price, Chief Investment Officer, Contra Costa County Employees' Retirement Association
  • Alec Stais, Chief Investment Officer, Employees Retirement System of Rhode Island
  • Tom Tull, Chief Investment Officer, Employees Retirement System of Texas
  • Ashbel C. Williams, Executive Director & Chief Investment Officer, Florida State Board of Administrationn
  • Elizabeth Burton, Chief Investment Officer, Hawaii Employees' Retirement System
  • Daryn Miller, Chief Investment Officer, KCERA
  • Rodney June, Chief Investment Officer, Los Angeles City Employees' Retirement System (LACERS)
  • Andrew C. Palmer, Chief Investment Officer, Maryland State Retirement and Pension System
    • Mansco Perry, Executive Director & Chief, Investment Officer Minnesota State Board of Investment
    • Joseph M. Cullen, Chief Investment Officer, Montana Board of Investments
    • Jerome Burns, Chief Investment Officer, Municipal Employees' Retirement System of Michigan
    • David Hunter, North Dakota Retirement and Investment Office
    • Farouki Majeed, Chief Investment Officer, Ohio School Employees Retirement Systemn
    • Scott McIntosh, Executive Vice President and Senior Managing Director, Global Diversified Program, Capital Markets, Ontario Municipal Employees' Retirement System (OMERS)
    • David Kaposi, Chief Investment Officer, Ontario Power Generation
    • James C. Davis, Chief Investment Officer, OPTrust
    • Molly Murphy, Chief Investment Officer, Orange County Employees Retirement System
    • James H. Grossman, Chief Investment Officer, Pennsylvania Public School Employees' Retirement System
    • W. Bryan Lewis, Chief Investment Officer, Pennsylvania State Employees’ Retirement System
    • Amy McGarrity, Chief Investment Officer, Public Employees' Retirement Association of Colorado
    • Craig A. Husting, Chief Investment Officer, Public School & Education Employee Retirement Systems of Missouri
    • Steve Davis, Chief Investment Officer, Sacramento County Employees' Retirement System (SCERS)
    • Elizabeth Crisafi, Chief Investment Officer, San Diego City Employees' Retirement System
    • Farouki Majeed, Chief Investment Officer, School Employees Retirement System of Ohio (SERS)
    • Anthony Smith, Deputy Chief Investment Officer, Seattle City Employees' Retirement System
    • Matthew L. Clark, State Investment Officer, South Dakota Investment Council
    • Ashbel C. Williams, Executive Director & Chief Investment Officer, State Board of Administration of Florida
    • David Villa, Executive Director/Chief Investment Officer, State of Wisconsin Investment Board
    • Jerry Albright, Chief Investment Officer, Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS)
    • Michael Brakebill, Chief Investment Officer, Tennessee Consolidated Retirement Systemn
    • Casey Wolf, Chief Investment Officer, Texas County & District Retirement System
    • Bruce H. Cundick, Chief Investment Officer, Utah State Retirement Systems
    • Jon Spinney, Chief Investment Officer and VP – Quantitative Investing, Vestcor Investment Management Corporation
    • Gary Bruebaker, Chief Investment Officer, Washington State Investment Board
    • Sam Masoudi, Chief Investment Officer, Wyoming Retirement System
    2019 Agenda

    Public Funds: Culture & Comp

    The biggest challenge for a chief investment officer and executive directors isn’t always achieving risk adjusted return expectations. It’s often recruitment and retention – and both your institution’s culture and compensation structure are big pieces of that puzzle.

    Join this private conversation for asset allocators and investment consultants only to discuss the cultural and incentive components of keeping, growing, and empowering your team.

    Risk Mitigation through Culture

    An organization’s ability to nimbly manage risks – both inside and outside the portfolio – is a cultural effort as much as it is a tactical one.

    Hear how building a culture of empowerment, transparent risk awareness, and integrated structures can increase your ability to mitigate risk from all angles.

    Is It Time to Take Equity Exposure off the Table – And If You So, Where Do You Put it?

    Problem Statement: Despite positive economic indicators in the U.S., global growth has slowed, volatility has returned, and many asset allocators are more wary than any time in the past decade about what’s to come in the public markets.

    Is it time to reduce public equity exposure in your portfolio? And if so, where should risk be put on? Are there areas of the market where you can earn a return premium that is not pure equity beta?

    Engage with a discussion of various approaches to navigating the current – and imminent -- market environment from experts and peers.

    II Braintrust: Your Risk Framework, Your Portfolio, Your Team

    In small breakout discussion groups, delegates will have the opportunity to share their views on the prior presentations and conversations. To what extent do you agree – or disagree – with the views espoused? What approach are asset allocators taking – and what insights can their partners share?

    Delegates are also invited to discuss other topical areas of concern and collaborate on shared challenges, guided by table discussion leaders who have set the agenda.

    Fear and Loathing in Private Credit

    Limited opportunity is causing some credit investors to push the boundaries of the asset class – and some allocators argue that underwriting standards have meaningfully deteriorated. Has the time come for a more defensive strategy?

    Many others look to growth within private markets to have a meaningful positive impact on their risk-adjusted return – but is it too late to continue to allocate?

    Hear experts and peers discuss the issues surrounding credit quality, sourcing, and the credit cycle.

    For Whom the (Risk Premia) Bell Tolls

    The search for maximum diversification has led asset allocators, consultants, and the managers who serve them on a journey through Smart Beta, Risk Premia, and other forms of factor based approaches.

    As investors consider repositioning their portfolios across asset classes, what should they consider? Whatever flavor of factor based approach is your cup of tea, what are the implications on your alternatives portfolio as we approach the next market cycle?

    Hear experts and peers question current approaches.

    Brave New Energy Sector 

    Do current energy valuations take into consideration the geopolitical and competitive risks to the industry as a whole? How can investor’s best diversify their energy exposure? What will the universe of energy opportunities look like in the future? Can – or should – climate risk be integrated into the investment process for the energy sector? 

    Hear experts and peers as they address these questions and discuss the future of the energy sector – and its impact on your portfolio. 

    Real Estate Masterclass

    Where are we in the real estate market cycle – on the public and private side? What will be the impact of rising interest rates? Which real estate opportunities will withstand the next downturn? 

    Hear from experts and peers on the latest market developments that are impacting your real estate portfolio from all angles – direct, private, and public. 

    The Reality of the Private Equity Secondaries Market

    Given dry powder pressures and high multiples, questions have been raised as to the future of private equity as an asset class. Is the historical driver of private equity growth – namely, cheap multiples – sustainable going forward? What implications are in store for the growing private equity secondaries market? 

    Hear experts and peers question and defend the raison d’etre of the asset class – and draw your own conclusions. 

    Behavioral Hackathon

    The science of decision-making in both leadership and portfolio management is arguably your largest untapped asset. What behavioral tools can asset allocators leverage to maximize decision-making outcomes – and save time and cost while doing so? 

    Hear a wide-ranging discussion of the latest insights from the behavioral field. Learn what the application of base rates, use of pre-mortems, and minimization of variance in decision-making – to name a few – mean for your portfolio and your team. 

    Making the Case for Governance Change – And Making It Stick

    Critics endlessly lament the failure of American public fund governance – yet behind the cynicism, a select group of state and local pensions are actually making concrete strides towards reform.  

    Hear from chief investment officers and board members who have mastered the art of diplomacy, incrementalism, and stakeholder management. Are we seeing the beginnings of a sea-change in the American pension system? 

    II Braintrust: Markets Pressures, Opportunity Sets, Your Portfolio 

    In small discussion groups, delegates will have the opportunity to share their views topical areas of concern for public pension chief investment officers and their teams. How can – or should – asset allocators approach current market pressures and reposition their portfolios for 2019 and beyond?  

    Delegates are invited collaborate on solutions to shared challenges, guided by table discussion leaders who have set the agenda.

    Strategic Partnerships: American and Canadian Approaches 

    A full-fledged investment movement, the concept of the strategic partnership is approached uniquely in each organization. Hear from organizations that have both defined – or re-defined – the nature of partnership and widely influenced other to follow in their wake. What did each do differently? What approach is the best fit for you – and why? 

    Emerging Markets Down For the Count  

    After a disappointing year in the emerging market equites, how has your thinking or approach evolved in emerging market allocation? How should asset allocators position themselves in light in of the strong dollar? Do some expect a turn-around in emerging market equities and, if so, why?

    Hear experts and peers dive deep on Brazil, China, India, and more – and the implications to their portfolios. 

    The Demise of the Risk-Reward Trade-Off in Fixed Income?

    Interest rates are higher, the yield curve is flatter. Is the risk-reward trade-off changing for fixed income?

    In the current environment, the case for dynamic fixed income strategies is becoming more compelling.

    What avenues are asset allocators embracing in their fixed income portfolios beyond the tried and true?

    Hear from peers and experts on the best ways to maximize yield in the current environment. 

    ESG  and The Investment Process

    The holistic integration of ESG approaches into the investment process is gaining traction. Maybe it’s the terrifying UN climate report, the rise of authoritarianism globally, or the incredibly poor decision-making recently displayed by certain homogenous boards – or maybe the ESG movement has arrived. 

    How do you integrate the “E”, “S,” and “G” components into your investment process – as a tool not a mission? What is the measurable value of doing so? Hear from experts and peers on how to balance the strategic and tactical elements of considering ESG factors in the investment process in the public sphere. 

    The Return of Vol  

    Despite strong earnings and global growth at the end of 2018, volatility returned with a bang, surprising many and signaling to some that troubled waters lie ahead. What actions can or should asset allocators take in their portfolio to address volatility in 2019 and beyond? If you are drawing down public equity exposure, where are you allocating to maintain your risk profile? Will strategies that have thrived in a historically low volatility environment survive? Hear from practitioners on all sides. 

    Investing at the End of Globalism?

    Populism. Trade Wars. Nationalism. What do these trends spell for investors? Economists have famously predicted continuous globalism over time – for better or for worse – but has that trend reversed?  If so, should that change how we think about investing? 

    Challenging Asset Allocation Wisdom 

    Are we doing asset allocation all wrong? Is all the complexity of the public pension worth it? What impact does the size of a portfolio have on investment decisions? Hear these questions answered, and your answers questioned in this provocative and provoking conversation. 

    Hacking Public Plan Compensation

    As if a public fund investment offices’ mandate were not challenging enough, it is often executed with insufficient resources and human capital. 

    The tides are turning, however. 

    Public fund compensation is on the rise, and many chief investment officers have been able to staff up sufficiently. If your team is growing – or even if you are maintaining headcount – it is likely that a compensation redesign is on your mind.

    What is the idea public pension plan incentive model? How much leverage do you need to have in your bonus plan? What's the balance between the more qualitative and quantitative factors when assessing team performance? 

    The Quant Meltdown Post-Mortem – and A Return to Come? 

    Quantitative alternative strategies had a challenging 2018. Let’s dive deep into what happened – and what’s to come next. Where does quant uniquely add value – and   is a quant resurrection to come? 


    Institutional Investors

    Katarina Storfer

    Investment Consultants

    Carolyn Leven

    Asset Managers

    Lois Wilkins


    Registration is limited to investment executives from pensions funds. If you are a member of the Alternative Investor Institute, please register here, Institutional Investor Institute members should register here.


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    The Beverly Hilton

    9876 Wilshire Blvd
    Beverly Hills, CA 90210
    United States


    Opened in 1955 by distinguished hotelier Conrad Hilton, The Beverly Hilton, a Forbes Four-Star hotel, combines the excitement and entertainment of Hollywood with the prestige of Beverly Hills. Nestled at the crossroads of the iconic Wilshire and Santa Monica Boulevards, the hotel features 569 guestrooms designed to evoke the best of relaxed Californian living, including 101 suites with panoramic city views and inviting indoor-outdoor living spaces as well as nine private luxury suites within The Penthouse Collection.