Déjà New – from hindsight to foresight 

Join us at Mercer’s United States Global Investment Forum in June to explore what we can learn from recent history and the key themes that are likely to shape markets and investment practices. Key stakeholders, industry consultants and other influential thinkers come together for an insightful look at the forces affecting the investment industry.


The Forum offers one and half days of main-stage sessions, dedicated content streams for different asset pools, keynote addresses, and networking time. Some of the topics that will be covered in the agenda include the latest themes and opportunities, sustainable investing, private markets, liquidity, diversification and more. Download a PDF version of the agenda.

Monday, June 5 

We invite asset owners attending the Forum to join us and Asana Partners for an offsite tour of The Krog Street District, one of the largest urban redevelopment projects in the country. The tour will also pass by several local historic sites including Ebenezer Baptist Church and Martin Luther King Jr’s birthplace and will end at Brew Dogs for drinks and networking.

All attendees.

Tuesday, June 6 

Tony Wagman, US Wealth Southeast Zone Leader

Jo Holden, Global Head of Investment Research and Consulting
Rich Nuzum, Executive Director, Investments and Global Chief Investment Strategist
Amy Ridge, Investment Director – Private Markets
Annabell Siem Mathiesen, Global Head of Sustainable Investment

This opening session sets the scene for the Forum by illuminating the current investment landscape through the prism of our global and US thought leaders. We discuss the risks, opportunities and challenges for investors over the next couple of years and speculate on where investors across the US are likely to focus.

Jason Bull, CIO, University of Georgia Foundation
Jonathan Glidden, Managing Director, Pension, Delta Airlines
Jay Love, US Chief Investment Strategist (Moderator)
Nick Martowski, Chief Investment Officer, MagMutual

A panel of investors representing different asset pools respond to our 2023 Themes and Opportunities, focusing on how inflation, monetary policy, geopolitics, and resource transition impact portfolio decisions and modern diversification.

Jo Holden, Global Head of Investment Research and Consulting

Defined contribution: The many flavours of delegation
Joseph Park, Director, Benefits, Simon Property Group
Miriam Tolbert, Defined Contribution Segment Leader – Southeast (Moderator)
Shonna Turner, Senior HR Director, North America, Riskonnect, Inc.

Defined contribution (DC) clients and Mercer experts discuss different models of delegation within DC plans, including the process for delegation, the appeal of different models, and the impact on members and HR colleagues.

Defined benefit: The end is just the beginning: Investing through a plan termination
Dave Cantor, Senior Investment Consultant
Chris Ebersole, Co-Chair, Defined Benefit Investment Committee

With plan funded statuses at 15-year highs and plan terminations accelerating, sponsors and their investment consultants/managers need to be prepared to design appropriate investment strategies. Although current hedging techniques are well known and employed, each plan termination requires a unique solution. In this session, we introduce a framework and discuss a case study in which the approach was successfully deployed.

E&F and Healthcare: Old issues, new questions: Alternatives in endowment portfolios
Gurjeet Dosanjh, Private Markets Consultant
John Jackson, Global Leader Hedge Funds Research
Kenny Pitman, Alternatives Investment Director

Each market cycle raises new questions about old issues: liquidity, rates and the evolution of capital markets. In this breakout, we explore the ramifications of the latest trends on the use of alternative investments in endowment portfolios.

Wealth management: Managing portfolios in a changing economic landscape
Jason Blackwell, Chief Investment Strategist, The Colony Group
Steve Doorn, SVP, Director of Portfolio Management, Legacy Trust
David Hyman, Senior Wealth Management Leader (Moderator)
Brian Pollak, Partner, Portfolio Manager, Evercore

The past decade, ending in 2021, was one of the best on record for traditional 60/40 portfolios. Investors now face elevated levels of inflation, higher interest rates and increased market volatility. Additionally, investors are rethinking globalisation and considering ESG more thoughtfully. Ensuring portfolios are well diversified both across and within asset classes — as well as by geography, sectors, factors, investment styles and nontraditional market beats — remains critical.

Defined contribution: Mercer’s new defined contribution investment structure: The consultant and asset manager perspective
Jennifer Archer, Head of Institutional Defined Contribution & Consultants Sales, JP Morgan
Holly Verdeyen, US Defined Contribution Leader

Mercer’s new objectives-based defined contribution (DC) investment menu provides the backdrop for a debate about active versus passive in US large-cap equity, lifetime income implementation and the core DC menu options.

Defined benefit: Higher rates, higher stakes: How are you setting your hedging strategy?
Julia Kotchetkov, Senior Pension Strategy and Solutions Consultant
Erin Lefkowitz, Senior Fixed Income Portfolio Manager, OCIO

With the significant rise in interest rates during 2022, we find ourselves in a very different rate environment than we’ve seen in recent history. We discuss what that means for DB plan liability-hedging portfolios, covering the rules of the road for setting hedging strategy, how those rules may have changed in this new environment and what you should be thinking about from an implementation perspective.

E&F and Healthcare: Higher learning: What the NACUBO survey really says
Geoff Wilson, Senior Investment Consultant
Texas Hemmaplardh, Not-for-Profit Business Leader

At the end of every fiscal year, the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO) surveys higher-education institutions on the investment management practices of their endowment portfolios. In this session, Mercer discusses some of the not-so-obvious insights and trends presenting important lessons for endowment fiduciaries.

Wealth management: Differentiating wealth management firms with an alternatives investment programme
Toussaint Bailey, CEO/Founder, Uplifting Capital
Molly Bennard, CEO, Connectus Wealth Advisers
Andrew Snyder, Director, Product & Research, CAIS Group
Casey Wamsley, Senior Investment Consultant (Moderator) 

We focus on the best practices for building out robust alternatives programmes within wealth management, including reducing risk, lowering costs and achieving better client outcomes. This session outlines clear strategic plans for outlining institutional approaches to alternatives programmes, including hedge funds, private equity, private debt and real estate. Avoiding the “flavour of the day,” this panel discusses how focusing on governance and strategy delivers differentiated outcomes for clients.

Defined contribution: Taking diversification to the next level
Kelly Henson, Senior Investment Consultant
Hugh Merkel, DC OCIO Portfolio Management Leader 

As American retirement savings continue to shift from defined benefit (DB) to defined contribution (DC) plans, many DC plan sponsors are facing an increasingly complex challenge. Tasked with providing their employees with access to best-in-class retirement benefits, they’re also navigating an ever-changing legislative landscape and an increasingly litigious environment. As a result, plan sponsors are focusing on offering robust investment options for their participants’ portfolios. These sponsors seek to include less-traditional asset classes to improve participant outcomes via greater net-of-fee risk-adjusted returns. In this session, we discuss how DC plan sponsors can take diversification to the next level for the benefit of their participants while also complying with new legislation and navigating fiduciary governance concerns.

Defined benefit: Rethinking the return seeking portfolio for a new environment
Neeraj Baxi, US Defined Benefit Investment Research Director
Stephanie Lane, US DB OCIO Asset Allocation Leader 

This session explores how to build a more effective return-seeking portfolio for a changed economic environment in which public equity is no longer the obvious solution. We tackle some of the hurdles plans face and explore how to overcome barriers to building the optimal portfolio.

E&F and Healthcare: Annual check-up: Taking the vitals of not-for-profit healthcare investment portfolios
Chris Cozzoni, Healthcare Practice Leader
Chris Kuhlman, Senior Investment Consultant 

Many hospitals and healthcare systems are experiencing shrinking margins due to soaring costs for labour, goods and services. As a result, healthcare allocators are ensuring their investment portfolios have ample cash and liquidity to support the shortfalls from operations. At the same time, they need to generate returns to compensate for declining margins. In this session, we discuss how healthcare investors are positioning portfolios in the face of mounting operational challenges and volatile markets.

Wealth management: Balance sheet strategies
Thomas Hettinger, Strategic Advisory Leader, Guy Carpenter
Chris Tschida, Head of US Insurance

Guy Carpenter and Mercer experts discuss the benefits of holistically managing risk and capital for insurance companies. By aligning underwriting and investment risk through an enterprise view, insurance companies can improve the stability and growth of company value over time.

Defined contribution: DEI within DC plans
Jennifer Flodin, Central Region DC Leader
Tamara Larsen, US ESG Investments Practice Leader Keisha Olinger, Atlanta Office Leader (Moderator)

Using the tools of plan design, demographic analysis/personas and investment strategies, we examine ways to apply a DEI lens to retirement savings.

Defined benefit: Are alternative assets the ‘secret sauce’ your corporate defined benefit plan needs?
Nick Davies, Large Client Leader
Amy Ridge, Investment Director – Private Markets 

Worried about complexity and cost in your defined benefit plan? Thinking about de-risking and possible pension annuity buyouts or plan termination? Concerned that alternative assets are expensive and illiquid? This session addresses these issues and discusses how to get the best out of alternatives to mitigate the cost while managing your pension plan risk. In the process, we sort the facts from the myths of investing in alternative assets.

E&F and Healthcare: Portfolio liquidity: What is it good for?
Chris Kuhlman, Senior Investment Consultant
Don Wehrmann, Senior Investment Consultant

Not-for-profit investors are reexamining their liquidity needs amid a rapidly evolving operating and market environment. As allocations to illiquid investments increase, institutions are searching for an efficient balance between maximising returns and maintaining sufficient liquidity. In this session, we discuss how investors should evolve their portfolio liquidity needs.

Insurers: Private markets for insurers
Nelson Pereira, Alternatives Investment Director
Stephanie Thomes, Senior Insurance Investment Consultant 

Insurers across various liabilities and size continue to allocate to the private markets to improve returns and grow surplus. Sustained growth in this area is unsurprising following a decade of low interest rates and the creation of more capital-efficient structures for US insurers. As a result, allocations to private markets have become a vital component of insurance companies’ investment strategies.

Doris Kearns Goodwin, Presidential Historian and Pulitzer Prize-winning Author
Jen Kruse, US OCIO Leader

World-renowned presidential historian and Pulitzer-prize-winning author Doris Kearns Goodwin reflects on America’s history through its presidents and how leaders shape the character of the nation and the people they lead.

Sylvia Diez, US Wealth Central Zone Leader

Wednesday, June 7

Jay Love, US Chief Investment Strategist

The investment world, while ever evolving and unpredictable, has become even more uncertain over the past few years, with COVID, the war in Ukraine, inflation, bank crises, and the growing pressure and actions to preserve our climate. Investment decision-making groups are having to react faster and faster to new information and make impactful decisions on ever-shorter timeframes.

Our Crisis Management series explores how groups make decisions with limited information and diverse viewpoints. Hear from industry leaders and Mercer consultants on their experiences and what enables successful decisions. Through a simulated crisis, each table has the opportunity to see these dynamics in action. We also take a deeper look at the challenging choices to be made in the climate arena. We believe there are some fundamental actions all decision-making bodies can take to enable better decisions. Mercer leaders share our practical views.

Mellody Hobson, Co-CEO and President Ariel Investments
Jay Love, US Chief Investment Strategist (Moderator)

Nick Davies, Large client leader
Texas Hemmaplardh, Not-for-Profit Business Leader
Kelly Henson, Senior Investment Consultant
Susan McDermott (Moderator), US Strategic Research Director

Dele Kuti, Global Head, Oil and Gas, Standard Bank
Max Messervy, Head of Sustainable Investment, Americas (Moderator)
Nick White, Global Strategic Research Director
Han Yik, Senior Adviser to the ED/CIO – Stewardship, NYSTRS

The global community is making halting and, in some cases, negative progress on addressing climate change. European regulators are taking robust action to push investors and companies to manage their climate-related risks. In the United States, however, circumstances are quite different at present. What should asset owners know about positioning their portfolios for transition, and are there opportunities many investors may be missing out on entirely? Join a panel of expert practitioners as they share insights and case studies about actions global investors are taking.

Admiral James Stavridis (Ret.)
Stan Mavromates, US CIO (Moderator)

Admiral James Stavridis (Ret.) shares lessons from his time as Supreme Allied Commander of NATO and an overview of the current geopolitical landscape, along with present and future tension points, and connects them all to how investors should weigh geopolitical risks against global opportunities.

Jo Holden, Global Head of Investment Research and Consulting (Moderator)
Nicole Rodriguez, Senior Investment Consultant

Marc Cordover, US Retirement and Investments Leader

Meet the speakers 

Each Forum features top thought leaders from within Mercer and the investment community and renowned consultants shaping the way we think.

Keynote Doris Kearns Goodwin

Doris Goodwin is a world-renowned presidential historian, public speaker and Pulitzer Prize-winning, New York Times #1 best-selling author. Ms Goodwin will reflect on how better hindsight can lead to clearer foresight, and what history can teach us about our future.

Location and Hotel 

We look forward to welcoming clients and asset managers in person in Atlanta. 

Venue: Loews Atlanta Hotel

1065 Peachtree Street NE

Atlanta, Georgia, 30309

+1 404 745 5000 loewshotelsreservations@loewshotels.com

Hotel website

Situated in invigorating midtown Atlanta, Loews provides the perfect blend of modern design and southern hospitality. This iconic Atlanta hotel is walkable to Piedmont Park, the Beltline, Fox Theatre, The High Museum, and more.


The Loews Atlanta is now sold out for Monday & Tuesday nights. For your convenience we can recommend the following hotels that are within walking distance of the Loews and of a similar standard:

·      Hyatt Centric Midtown (3 min walk)

·      Epicurean Atlanta, Autograph Collection (8 min walk)

·      AC Hotel Atlanta Midtown (8 min walk)

Register now 

Which attendee are you? 

For the purposes of the Forum, an asset owner is a client or contact of Mercer who is an executive, board member or other key decision-maker of a retirement plan, wealth management firm, insurer, endowment, foundation, government agency or similar entity. Invited asset owners do not have to pay registration fee.

The asset manager registration fee for this event is $16,000 (USD) for one attendee. Registration includes attendance at the asset manager briefing, attendance at the networking opportunities, main presentations and breakout sessions, one 40 minute Learn, Share, and Connect session, up to five 30 minute one-to-one sessions, opportunities to make new professional connections with hundreds of other attendees and all session materials after the event.

Global members have a secured seat at all five events. If you have purchased a global membership for the Global Investment Forums 2023 programme, you can register as a global forum member. Please contact us if you are not sure of your status or click here to sign up for a global membership.