As the post-global financial crisis cycle enters its tenth year against a benign economic backdrop, the primary risk to investor optimism would seem to be the pace and scale of any shift from easing to tightening by central bankers. Market expectations of an extremely gradual approach to "normalization" may be tested by the emergence of inflationary pressures as many developed economies reach secular lows in unemployment rates. The recent period of extremely low market volatility will ultimately be challenged either by “internal” economic forces, including technological developments, or “external” political events. Increases in volatility will create both risks and opportunities for investors.
Success will mean very different things to different investors. For this reason, a clear articulation of an investor's beliefs, objectives, and constraints is essential to effective governance and decision-making. For long-term investors, beliefs should extend beyond traditional risk and return considerations to include stewardship and ESG issues. Mercer’s 2018 Not-for-Profit and Private Wealth Investment Summit considers both the wider market forces as well as investor-specific issues that we think will help investors plot a course towards long-term success.
You’re invited! Join us at a special volunteer event in honor of September 11th National Day of Service.
Clients and colleagues are invited to help Mercer give back at the St. Louis Area Foodbank on Tuesday, September 11th from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm.
Please RSVP when you register for the event.
September 11th National Day of Service and Remembrance promotes community service on 9/11 as an annual and forward-looking tribute to the 9/11 victims, survivors, and those who rose up in service in response to the attacks.
Committee members and staff from university endowments, charitable foundations, health care organizations, family offices, and other non-profit institutions from across the country will join our Mercer investment consultants to meet and discuss issues around this year’s theme is Plot a Route to Success in This Extended Cycle. The conference begins with a volunteer event at the St. Louis Foodbank the afternoon of September 11 from 1-4 pm followed by a welcome reception featuring our keynote speaker, Kevin Duffy, Marine Corps Aviator and former Pilot for Marine One. The full agenda includes ample time to network with your peers and share best practices.
Join us and be part of the conversation. We look forward to seeing you in September!
Ritz Carlton St. Louis
100 Carondelet Plaza
St. Louis, MO 63105
Tel: + 1 314 863 6300
The Ritz-Carlton, St. Louis is located in the posh neighborhood of Clayton, a charming oasis in the city of St. Louis. Guests will experience true Midwestern warmth and hospitality in this arts and garden district, home to a thriving culinary scene, the beautifully landscaped Forest Park and an array of museums and boutiques within a short distance of their hotel. Relax in their newly enhanced luxury guest rooms- among the largest in the city, explore their elegant meeting spaces or savor their four in-house dining options including a Sushi bar or signature cocktails in The Lobby Lounge. Gather with friends in The Cigar Club or dine in The Grill, a delight for the senses. Guests can recharge in our expansive Fitness and Massage Center with exclusive ESPA products and indulge in their Senses of Missouri experiences.
The special rate for the hotel has now expired. Should you require hotel accommodation, please contact Maura Cozza at email@example.com.
Founder and Portfolio Manager
Bloom Tree Partners
Alok Agrawal is the founder and Managing Member of the General Partner and the Investment Manager. Agrawal started out at Tiger Management LLC as an analyst and was later promoted to co-portfolio manager. While at Tiger Management LLC, Agrawal analyzed and invested in companies in a wide range of industries including, but not limited to, energy, technology, internet, telecom, building materials, industrials, financial services and metals. Prior to joining Tiger Management LLC, Agrawal served as an Associate at Bessemer Venture Partners. Agrawal began his professional career at Oracle Corporation where he led a development team, started a new product group, and oversaw a product management team. Agrawal is a graduate of the Harvard Business School where he was elected a Siebel Scholar and Baker Scholar. Agrawal earned his MS in Computer Science from the University of California, Berkeley and a Bachelor or Technology in Computer Science from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, where he was awarded the President of India Gold Medal for distinguished academic achievement.
Senior Investment Consultant
Christine is a Principal and senior investment consultant in Mercer’s Investments business. Based in Mercer’s Norwalk, Connecticut office, Christine brings more than 25 years of financial investment experience as an investment consultant, corporate plan sponsor, and investment manager. She has 17 years of investment consulting experience after her time as a principal and senior investment consultant at Evaluation Associates. She is also a member of the Endowment & Foundation Investment Committee, which is responsible for approval of asset allocation and manager selection decisions for Mercer’s discretionary endowment and foundation client portfolios as well as setting strategic guidance and developing Intellectual Capital to assist all endowment and foundation clients.
Christine currently manages relationships with a diverse group of clients, which include endowments, foundations, church plans, and high-net-worth trusts. She specializes in working with clients, both advisory and OCIO, with mission-based and responsible investing mandates. Her focus is on client education, asset allocation, and manager implementation.
Director of Strategic Research
Anthony is a Partner and serves as a US Director of Strategic Research for Mercer's Investment Consulting business. He is responsible for generating investment strategy research and leads the US dynamic asset allocation efforts. In addition, he is the portfolio manager for a fund offered by Mercer Global Investments. Anthony joined Mercer with the acquisition of Hammond Associates in 2011. He joined Hammond Associates in 1996 and served as the firm's Chief Investment Officer. He was primarily responsible for developing and maintaining the firm's asset allocation models, assisting clients with investment strategy and preparing the firm's quarterly research report.
Anthony has a bachelor's degree in finance with a minor in Economics from the University of Missouri. He is a CFA charterholder and a member of both the CFA Institute and the St. Louis Society of Financial Analysts. Anthony has written more than a dozen articles, one of which was published in the Winter 2000 edition of the Journal of Investing. A second article, co-authored with Dennis Hammond, was published in June 2001 NACUBO Business Officer.
Marine Corps Aviator and former Pilot of Marine One
Kevin Duffy is a proven and award-winning leader with an extensive background in team-building, leadership, and program management. He served this nation as a Marine Corps Officer and aviator and has a 20+ year career defined by leading people, directing dynamic global operations, advising senior leaders and managing risk.
Kevin has an exceptional track record of creating and leading high-performance teams in demanding, sophisticated and high-risk global environments to accomplish goals that would not be attainable without the combined collective effort of the team. Some of his accomplishments include being a pilot for Marine One, executing operations in combat, establishing an international crisis response force or orchestrating international disaster relief and humanitarian assistance efforts in the wake of historic natural disasters.
Kevin most recently served as a Strategist and Program Manager for the Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon in Washington DC.
Global CIO of Mercer Private Markets
Michael is the Global CIO of Mercer Private Markets (MPM) and serves on the firm's Alternative Investment Committee and the MPM Investment Committee. His duties include portfolio management and manager selection across private equity, private debt, and natural resources investments. He is also responsible for secondary and co-investment activities. Michael also serves as portfolio manager for the Mercer Private Investment Partners series of multi manager private market funds.
Prior to joining Mercer, Michael spent two years as Managing Director of EndPoint Capital, LLC, an SEC-registered investment advisor managing in-kind stock distributions from venture capital partnerships for private equity investors. Prior to EndPoint, Michael worked for four years as a Principal Trust Analyst at Southern Company Services, where he was responsible for overseeing private equity and fixed income strategies as well as other trust assets. Prior to his positions at Southern Company Services, he was an Equity Analyst/Trader for Equity Investment Corporation, a mid-cap value equity money manager.
He earned both his BBA and MBA degrees from the University of Georgia, with an emphasis in finance. He has received his Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation, and is a member of the CFA Institute.
Senior Investment Consultant
Beth is a Senior Investment Consultant at Mercer. She currently services 6 endowment, foundation and family office clients with over $6 billion in aggregate assets under advisement. For these clients, Beth focuses on projects relating to asset allocation, investment manager selection, performance evaluation, and fund operations and governance. In addition, Beth is a voting member of Mercer's Endowment and Foundation Investment Committee.
Beth’s prior professional experience includes work as an Investment Director for Vanderbilt University’s then $2.2 billion endowment, where she was responsible for investments across traditional equities and bonds, marketable alternatives, oil and gas and private equity. She started her investment career as an Investment Analyst at Duke Management Company, managing investment projects across all asset classes for Duke University’s then $4 billion endowment office.
Beth attended the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill where she completed the coursework and exams of the Ph.D. program in Economics. She holds a BA in Economics, Mathematics, Computer Science, and German from Transylvania University in Lexington, Kentucky. Beth has also earned the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA) designations. She is a member of the CFA Institute and a past board member of the CFA Society of St. Louis and the Nashville Society of Financial Analysts. Throughout her career, Beth has remained active in her community, sitting on several not-for-profit boards of directors, previously serving as the Investment Committee Chair and then Chair of the Board for the Missouri Foundation for Health, a $1 billion healthcare foundation in St. Louis. In 2008, she received the Foundation and Endowment Money Management’s Non-Profit Consultant of the Year Award.
Manager Research Consulting Senior Manager
Paul is a Principal within the manager research division of Mercer and is located in Atlanta. His primary responsibilities include analysis, research and due diligence of US real estate private equity investment strategies. In particular, he focuses on high-risk strategies utilizing both debt and equity structures. Paul provides recommendations on investment managers to Mercer's US Property Ratings Review Committee. Additionally, he is a voting member of both Mercer's North American and Global Property Ratings Review Committees. Paul also contributes to Mercer's Dynamic Asset Allocation process and produces intellectual capital on the US real estate market in addition to supporting Mercer's global consultants and clients with their real estate needs.
Prior to joining Mercer, Paul worked for a global real estate investment and development firm in asset management and corporate strategy and also for a real estate brokerage firm in its financial consulting group underwriting and analyzing real estate transactions.
Paul earned a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Georgia and a Master of Business Administration in Real Estate from Emory University. He is a Certified Property Manager, ARGUS Valuation Software Certified, and licensed real estate salesperson in the state of Georgia.
US Foundation Segment Leader
Russ enjoys working with a select group of endowment and foundation clients in addition to his role as the Senior Director of Foundations at Mercer. For the past 21 years Russ has served as a lead or co-lead advisor on numerous client engagements, focusing on committee education, asset allocation, portfolio construction, and manager selection.
Prior to its acquisition by Mercer in 2011, Russ served as the President of Hammond Associates, where he had held various consulting roles sine 1996. During that time, the firm experienced rapid growth in clients and staff size, and Russ guided the development of many institutional processes across the firm, including the development of the firm’s OCIO capabilities.
Before joining Hammond Associates, Russ spent eight years with Boatmen's Trust Company (now Bank of America), where he was actively involved with performance measurement as the Investment Performance System Manager for all of the Trust Company's accounts, with assets totaling in the billions.
He received his MBA in Finance from Washington University and graduated summa cum laude from DePauw University with a BA degree in Economics, where he was elected to the Phi Beta Kappa society. Russ is a Certified Employee Benefits Specialist (Wharton School of Business) and has earned the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA) designations. He is a member of the CFA Institute, the CFA Society of St. Louis, and the CAIA Association. He has served on the boards of various non-profit organizations over the past 20 years.
Founder and Chief Executive Officer
R. Neil Malik is the Founder and a Managing Partner at K1 Investment Management. He is responsible for managing the firm’s strategy, governance and investment activities.
Previously Mr. Malik founded the growth equity practice at Kayne Anderson Capital Advisors where he focused on growth equity and buyout investments. Mr. Malik also previously worked in the private equity groups of Brentwood Associates and Olympus Partners where he focused on investments in lower middle market companies. Mr. Malik started his career in the mergers and acquisitions group of J.P. Morgan Securities.
Mr. Malik is a graduate of the Harvard Business School, where he received an MBA, and of the University of Pennsylvania, where he received a BS in Finance from the Wharton School and a BAS in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from the school of Engineering and Applied Sciences, magna cum laude.
Mr. Malik is actively involved in the professional development of K1’s team and portfolio company executives. Since 2000, he has overseen over 130 completed transactions and serves on the boards of numerous K1 portfolio companies.
Mr. Malik is an alumnus and board member of Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO) and a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO).
CIO — Hedge Funds
Dave is Mercer’s Chief Investment Officer for Hedge Funds. He serves on the firm's Alternative Investment Committee and the Hedge Fund Ratings Review Committee. In addition, he is the portfolio manager for several funds offered by Mercer Investment Management, Inc.
In 1999, Mr. McMillan joined Hammond Associates, which was acquired by Mercer in 2011. He served as Director of Hedge Funds and was responsible for the creation and management of the firm's hedge fund research and consulting efforts. Mr. McMillan designed the firm's hedge fund manager due diligence and post-investment manager monitoring processes and shaped Hammond's hedge fund portfolio construction philosophy.
During his career, Mr. McMillan has constructed more than 40 multi-manager hedge fund portfolios, including customized direct programs and commingled funds. Previously, Mr. McMillan was responsible for Hammond's traditional manager research efforts. Mr. McMillan has over 20 years of experience in the financial, banking, and investment advisory industries, including more than 15 years dedicated to hedge fund research and investing.
Mr. McMillan has been a featured speaker at various industry conferences on the subjects of manager selection, hedge fund investing and hedge fund risk monitoring. He received a BS/BA degree in Finance from The Ohio State University and holds the CFA designation. Mr. McMillan is a member of the CFA Institute.
Senior Investment Consultant
Max Messervy joined Mercer in February 2018 and is a Senior Associate in the North American Responsible Investment team. Max has a strong background in environmental, social and governance (ESG) themes, as well as a recognized expertise in the re/insurance sector. Max provides advice on sustainable investment strategies, integration of ESG factors, and sustainability trends throughout investment processes. Max is responsible for advising institutional investors and provides advice to a broad range of clients, including pension funds, endowments, insurers and other stakeholders in the investment value chain.
Prior to joining Mercer, Max spent nearly four years working in the Insurance practice at Ceres in Boston, a leading non-profit sustainability advocacy organization. In that role, he worked with a range of stakeholders across the industry in making the business case for the sector to address climate and ESG risks and opportunities both as underwriters of weather risk and investors in physical infrastructure. This involved engagement with re/insurers, regulators, non-re/insurer investors and NGOs. Previously, Max worked in various capacities with Canadian federal and provincial governments, and with other environmental and sustainability entities as an independent consultant.
Max holds a Master of Public Policy from the Luskin School of Public Affairs at UCLA, and an Honors Religious Studies degree from McGill University.
US Wealth Leader
Tom Murphy is a Senior Partner at Mercer and Head of our US Wealth business. Mercer’s US Wealth business provides a range of investment, retirement and financial wellness services to over 3,000 institutional clients including public and private corporations, government and state bodies, not-for-profit organizations and financial service intermediaries.
Tom has been with Mercer since 1997. Prior to his current role, Tom successfully led Mercer’s US DC and Financial Wellness business. Between 2011-2015, Tom lead Mercer’s US Delegated Investments businesses and from 2006-2011, Tom lead Mercer’s European Delegated Investment business. During his time with Mercer, Tom has worked in Ireland, the UK and the US and is currently based in Boston. Tom is a member of Mercer’s US Executive Leadership Team.
Tom graduated from University College Dublin with a degree in Economics and Statistics and subsequently qualified as a Fellow of the Institute of Actuaries. Tom also has an MBA from the Smurfit School of Business, Dublin Ireland.
President - Wealth
Rich is President of Mercer’s Wealth Business, and a member of Mercer’s Executive Leadership team. Rich is responsible for Mercer’s delivery of investment consulting, open architecture manager-of-managers investment management, and retirement actuarial consulting services and solutions globally. During the past 25 years Rich has provided investment advice to clients in more than 20 countries, including many of the world’s largest institutional investors.
In prior roles, Rich was the President and Global Business Leader for Mercer’s investment management business, global Chief Investment Officer for Mercer’s investment management business, and held a variety of other leadership roles while based in Tokyo, Singapore and later New York.
Rich holds an MBA with High Honors in Analytic Finance and Accounting from the University of Chicago, and a BA with Honors in Mathematical Sciences and Mathematical Economic Analysis from Rice University. Rich also did graduate work in international economics at Tokyo University. Rich is a Chartered Financial Analyst and a member of the CFA Institute.
Rich has repeatedly been named to CIO Magazine’s annual list of the world’s most influential investment consultants, and received CIO Magazine’s 2017 Industry Innovation Award as “Consultant of the Year”.
Chief Executive Officer and Portfolio Manager
O'Shaughnessy Asset Management
Patrick O’Shaughnessy is the Chief Executive Officer at O’Shaughnessy Asset Management (OSAM). Patrick oversees the day-to-day business of the firm, directing OSAM’s initiatives in the areas of research and portfolio management, investor education, and investor relationships. He also serves as a Portfolio Manager. Prior to his role as CEO, Patrick spent 11 years on OSAM’s Research & Portfolio Management team, working to improve the firm’s investment strategies.
Patrick is the author of Millennial Money: How Young Investors can Build a Fortune, published by Palgrave Macmillan, and a contributing author to the Fourth Edition of What Works on Wall Street. Patrick’s podcast “Invest Like the Best,” which is a series of conversations with leading investors across asset classes, recently passed 3 million listeners. It was named among “5 Investment Podcasts You Should Listen To” by The Wall Street Journal. Patrick is an equity owner in OSAM and a member of the firm’s Executive Committee. Patrick holds a B.A. in Philosophy from the University of Notre Dame and is also a Chartered Financial Analyst. He lives with his wife and two children in Greenwich, Connecticut.
Leader, Not-for-Profit Investments Segment
Based in St. Louis, Missouri, Jessica is the Not-for-Profit Investments Segment Leader and is responsible for the development and delivery of investment related services for our non-profit client base in the US. Prior to taking this role, Jessica served as a consultant where she was responsible for advising non-profit clients on asset allocation design, investment manager selection, and strategy implementation.
Prior to joining Mercer, Jessica was with Summit Strategies Group for 15 years serving in a number of capacities. Most recently, she was the Director of Consulting and also served as a lead investment consultant for the firm. As a member of the investment consulting team for nearly a decade, Jess was actively involved in the daily management and administration of client relationships. Her clients included non-profits, corporations, and public pension funds. Before joining the consulting team, she was a valued member of the firm’s Manager Research group, where she was responsible for conducting manager due diligence for both domestic and international equity asset classes.
Jessica received her BS in Accounting with honors from the University of Missouri–St. Louis, and she is a CFA charterholder. She is a member of the CFA Institute and the CFA Society of St. Louis. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of both the Hawthorn Leadership School for Girls and the Visiting Nurses Association. Jessica was previously the chair of the Investment and Audit Committee for the St. Louis Area Foodbank and served on their Board of Directors for six years.
Senior Investment Consultant
Austin is a Principal in the St. Louis office of Mercer’s Wealth business with more than twelve years of industry experience helping defined benefit and defined contribution plan sponsors with all aspects of their retirement benefit strategy. He focuses on improving participant outcomes and helping plan sponsors meet their fiduciary obligations. He advises plan sponsor clients on investment policy development, asset allocation, investment selection, participant demographic analysis, investment menu structure, and administrative oversight. Austin is a specialist in 403(b) plan oversight and governance, speaks frequently on 403(b) litigation and trends, and has authored a white paper on the 2016 litigation against higher education plan sponsors. He has also worked extensively in defined contribution plan design, participant education, and enrollment. Austin is a member of Mercer’s Stable Value Strategic Research Team, Mercer’s Higher Education Vertical Team, and the Central Market Leadership Team.
Prior to joining Mercer, Austin was a DB and DC plan specialist for four years with Northwestern Mutual and began his career as a financial advisor with Edward Jones. Prior to working in the financial industry, Austin was a high school teacher.
Austin holds a bachelor’s degree in Philosophy from Millikin University and a bachelor’s degree in English from Southern Illinois University.
Senior Investment Consultant
Jerry is a Principal within Mercer’s Not-for-Profit Consulting practice. He has experience working with clients in both a traditional advisory relationship and OCIO (outsourced CIO) framework. In addition to his client responsibilities, he sits on Mercer’s equity — focused strategic research team, which helps to ensure Mercer’s research agenda remains at the forefront of the industry. Prior to his time with Mercer, Jerry’s professional experience includes serving as a Senior Consultant at Hammond Associates, as a performance analyst with Boatmen’s Trust Company and as an equity analyst for Edward Jones. Jerry also spent eight years as a Portfolio Manager with A.G. Edwards Trust Company working with high net worth and institutional clients.
Jerry holds an MBA and BS degree in Finance from Saint Louis University. He has earned the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation and is a member of the CFA Institute as well as the Saint Louis Society of Financial Analysts. He has also earned the Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA) designation.
Jerry formerly served as Chairman of the Advocacy Committee for the St. Louis Society of Financial Analysts.
CIO — Investments, Not-for-Profit Segment
Ken Shimberg joined Mercer in 2015 as Chief Investment Officer of the Not-for-Profit client group. He leads the delegated (OCIO) investment process and the portfolio management team. As Chair of the Endowment & Foundation Investment Committee, Ken oversees asset allocation and manager selection decisions that drive delegated client portfolios and provide direction to advisory client relationships.
Prior to joining Mercer, Ken was a Managing Director at the Brown University Investment Office. During fiscal year 2013, Ken served as Interim Chief Investment Officer and led the 19-member investment office team managing the University’s $3 billion endowment. He managed marketable securities and private investment portfolios and recommended strategic asset allocation and tactical adjustments for the endowment. He joined Brown in 2001 as its first director of private investments and led the development of the University's private equity portfolio.
Before joining Brown, Ken was a principal at the Princeton University Investment Company and Nassau Capital, an independent firm that was responsible for Princeton’s private investment portfolio. Prior to his work at Nassau Capital, Ken worked as a vice president at J.P. Morgan & Co. where he served in the corporate finance and structured finance groups.
Ken is a member of the Board of The Wheeler School and serves as Chair of its Investment Advisory Committee. He is also a Board member of Rhode Island Public Radio. Ken is a former investment committee member of Lifespan Hospitals.
Ken earned a B.S. in Management Science with a concentration in Finance from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is a CFA Charterholder and member of the Boston Security Analysts Society.
Senior Investment Consultant and Portfolio Manager
Shaum Shrinivas is a Principal and Senior Investment Consultant and Portfolio Manager at Mercer. He works with Endowments, Foundations and other non-profit organizations on all aspects of their investment portfolio, including investment policy creation, asset allocation and manager selection.
Shaum is also a member of the firm’s global investment strategy research team. In that role, he serves on the firm’s Capital Markets, Multi-Asset, Endowment and Foundation, and Custom Target Date committees. These committees are responsible for overseeing the portfolio construction process for delegated clients. Additionally, he is a member of manager rating review committees, which are responsible for oversight of the manager research process. Shaum helps publish the firm's Market Environment and Dynamic Asset Allocation Reports, which provide analysis and commentary on the current macroeconomic and capital market environment. He is also responsible for developing and maintaining Mercer’s capital market assumptions and related toolkits. Additionally, Shaum leads the economic and market discussion during the firm's weekly internal meetings.
Shaum graduated summa cum laude from Saint Louis University with a BSBA in Finance. He has received the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation and is currently a Level II CAIA candidate. Shaum previously served as Treasurer for the CFA Society of St. Louis. Prior to joining Mercer, he worked at Hammond Associates in various research and consulting roles of increasing responsibility. He started his career working within several different roles at Edward Jones.
Senior Investment Consultant
Based in Mercer’s Boston office, Elizabeth is a Senior Investment Consultant serving US not-for-profit clients. She primarily advises endowments and foundations on asset allocation, portfolio construction, investment manager selection and diligence, and governance.
Prior to joining Mercer, Elizabeth spent nearly a decade at Cambridge Associates where she had an emphasis on supporting endowment and foundation clients as well as on alternative assets. In addition to portfolio advisory and special client projects, Elizabeth made material contributions to research, co-authoring research publications and presentations, conducting ad hoc manager diligence, and generating topical content. Before working at Cambridge Associates. Elizabeth oversaw the investment and operational due diligence and served on the executive committee for a fund of funds. Immediately following business school, Elizabeth worked at Wasserstein Perella and Merrill Lynch on merger and acquisitions transactions.
Elizabeth received her MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, concentrating in Finance and Strategy and being elected as a head of Wharton Women in Business. She earned her BA at Brown University, majoring in Classics and History.
Senior Investment Consultant
Geoff is a Principal and Senior Investment Consultant at Mercer. He works with Endowments, Foundations and other not-for-profit organizations on all aspects of their investment portfolio. Within Mercer, Geoff is a voting member of the Endowment & Foundation Investment Committee, which is responsible for approval of asset allocation and manager selection decisions for Mercer’s discretionary E&F client portfolios as well as setting strategic guidance and developing Intellectual Capital to assist all E&F clients. Additionally, he is a member of Mercer’s Alternatives Strategic Research Team. Geoff joined Mercer in 2011 through the acquisition of Hammond Associates, an institutional consulting firm primarily focused on not-for-profit clients. Prior to joining Hammond Associates in 2006, Geoff worked as a Research Coordinator for a financial planning firm in St. Louis and a research assistant at a small-cap equity management firm in St. Louis.
Geoff received his bachelor's degree in Finance from Saint Louis University and has earned the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation and the Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA) designation. He currently serves as a member of the St. Louis Zoo’s Investment Committee. He is also a volunteer lecturer for the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis’ financial literacy program, which delivers personal finance lessons to diverse classrooms across the St. Louis region. He previously served as a Director on the CFA Society of St. Louis’ Executive Committee for four years.
The Path of Leadership
Kevin Duffy, Marine Corps Aviator and former Pilot for Marine One
All of us have experienced turmoil that placed us at a crossroads requiring decision and action under stress. How do you handle those situations? This talk will be an authentic conversation on resilience with a proven leader with deep experience tackling risk, crisis and disruption. Kevin will present consequential moments from his 23 year career as a Marine Corps aviator that illuminate important lessons learned from his experiences and synthesize his insights with the audience into real strategies to embrace complexity, perform, lead, and thrive in today's volatile world.
Optional Breakfast: New Committee Member Boot Camp
Russ LaMore, US Foundation Segment Leader
Committee turnover is healthy and inevitable, but there must be a better way to assimilate new members than the “sink or swim” approach used so widely today. In this session we will arm new committee members with basic tools and, more importantly, key questions to become effective quickly. We also provide reference materials and a suggested approach so that committee chairs or CFOs/CIOs can improve their orientation process.
Adaptation in Asset Management
Patrick O’Shaughnessy, Chief Executive Officer and Portfolio Manager, O’Shaughnessy Asset Management
Across 100 conversations with investment leaders of all types, Patrick has explored the idea of how to earn better returns on invested time, energy, and money. In this presentation he summarizes the largest and most common lessons he has learned along the way, and how anyone can apply these potent ideas to improve their businesses, portfolios, and lives.
Hot Spots: Opportunities in Hedge Funds
Dave McMillan, Chief Investment Officer — Hedge Funds
In this session we highlight specific opportunities in hedge funds that are particularly well-suited for this extended cycle. From reducing risk to enhancing return, the space offers compelling tools to tilt not-for-profit and private wealth portfolios and enhance the likelihood of favorable outcomes.
The Long and Short of Stock-Picking
Alok Agrawal, Founder, Bloom Tree Partners
In this session, Bloom Tree Partners will discuss their framework for generating alpha from equities, an asset class where short-term volatility overwhelms long-term expected return. Alok will discuss their framework for picking longs and shorts and structuring a portfolio, and how that framework has resulted in strong alpha generation over the past decade. Specific stock ideas will be covered to illustrate the framework.
This is 403(b) Jepardy!
Austin Roberds, Senior Investment Consultant
Defined contribution plan management is a multi-faceted process requiring expertise in many disciplines. Plan sponsors must become experts in: investments, plan design, administration, employee education, regulatory issues, and governance practices. Many plan sponsors have retained experienced consultants to guide them to fiduciary best practices, and some plan sponsors have become masters of the many elements of DC plan management. Join us as we test a panel of experts to see just how much they know. With the looming threat of litigation, who will prove they are prepared, and who will be in … Jeopardy?
Stewardship in the 21st Century - Creating Sustainable Long-Term Growth
Max Messervy, Senior Investment Consultant
Christine Bradford, Senior Investment Consultant
In this session, we explore what Good Investment Stewardship or Responsible Investment means, and how asset owners can work out which way forward is most appropriate for their organization. While there is no "one size fits all" approach, we outline some key components of a robust investment stewardship strategy, as well as examples and indicators of best practice. We also investigate some of the common pitfalls or challenges of implementing an investment stewardship program and how asset consultants, investment managers and other service providers can provide practical support along the journey.
The 7 Deadly Sins of a General Partner
Neil Malik, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, K1 Investment Management
Neil Malik, CEO and Founder of K1 Investment Management discusses his insights, gained over his 25 year career, into the 7 common pitfalls plaguing private equity firms today. Specifically these are strategic decisions that many GPs generally find distasteful in managing and growing their firms. And yet many firms to do not consciously opine on these issues which can have significant implications for the longevity and long term performance of their platforms.
Lightning Talk: Governance Case Study
Elizabeth Warren, Senior Investment Consultant
In this session, we will discuss how properly structured, thoughtful policy enhances efficiency in decision-making, provides natural checks and balances to pre-empt or minimize the impact of negative events, mutes the inevitable behavioral influence during adverse events, and provides clear authority – as well as accountability. We expect that, going forward, the importance of governance will only grow as portfolios have increased in complexity – a trend that is expected to continue in a low-return environment for equities.
Panel Discussion: Opportunities in Private Real Estate and Real Assets
Moderator: Beth Johnson, Senior Investment Consultant
Paul Kolevsohn, Research Consultant - Real Estate Boutique
Mike Forestner, Chief Investment Officer - Private Markets
Real assets have the potential to enhance a range of investor portfolios in a material way. This session examines recent trends and the outlook for real estate and infrastructure, providing a global outlook for these asset classes along with specific investment opportunities in these areas. The session also discusses the advantages of adding real assets to your portfolio as well as the challenges including implementing and management. We discuss how these challenges can be measured and overcome. The session seeks to draw out what investors can reasonably expect from a real estate or infrastructure allocation, and examines whether these promises have been met historically.
Debate: Is Inflation Ever Coming Back?
Anthony Brown, US Director of Strategic Research
Ken Shimberg, NFP Chief Investment Officer
Our annual debate is back! Older members of the audience may recall the chaotic inflation of the '70s, when rampant price rises around the world decimated living standards and left investors with substantial losses across most asset classes. However, since 1980 inflation has been on a steady downtrend and post the GFC, deflationary threats have replaced inflation as central banks' main preoccupation. Will structural disinflation prevail, or is inflation likely to return to haunt markets? Our customary protagonists, Ken Shimberg and Anthony Brown will attempt to persuade you of the merits of their respective view points on this topic, whose resolution may have a profound impact on asset class returns.
Plot a Route to Success in this Extended Cycle
Geoff Wilson, Senior Investment Consultant
In this session, we bring together the various themes and topics highlighted over the course of the Forum. We put forward suggestions for how you as investors can build these into a fiduciary calendar for the year and ultimately help you plot a route to success in this extended cycle.