... it's a matter of time
Mercer’s 2020 Vision: Themes and Opportunities highlights the actions investors can consider to better protect portfolios in adverse environments or to capitalize on emerging trends. Our Global Investment Forums 2020 reflect on these themes in the context of the current economic environment and highlight where we think opportunities exist to help position portfolios for a brighter future. Investors need to be clear on their timeframe, be prepared for business as unusual and position for climate change.
The question is not whether current economic, political, social and environmental trends will impact portfolios, but rather how and when. It’s a matter of time.
While we cannot yet be certain about what government policies will be in force and about local common practice in terms of social distancing, for 26-28 October in Chicago, our intent is to maximize the opportunity for participants to learn, share and connect. We plan to deliver according to this intent while complying fully with applicable government policies and local common practice at the time of the Chicago Forum.
Accordingly, we plan to deliver the AMB in Chicago as an in-person event on 26 September (Monday) with the option for attendees who prefer not to attend in person to join virtually. The three-and-a-half hour briefing includes plenary presentations and two rounds of boutique breakouts. Depending on attendance preferences, and the relevant social distancing guidance at the time, we may need to cap the number of attendees in the room for this event.
The Forum Plenary Session takes place on 27 October (Tuesday). Mercer attendees, asset owners, and asset managers are invited to the three-hour virtual session, which includes presentations, panel discussions, breakouts, and a keynote address. There will also be numerous micro breakouts called Table Topics, which are intended to allow for informal discussions and small-group networking around very specific areas of interest.
These agenda components have historically provided an effective means for participants to learn, share and connect. This year, we will need to rely on virtual alternative forms of engagement, as we will be unable to offer these agenda components given current guidance on social distancing.
Throughout the year, Mercer hosts “Learn, Share and Connect” sessions with various asset managers. We anticipate these sessions can work well in the virtual format of the London Forum this year. Accordingly, each asset manager attendee will have the opportunity to host a 55-minute “Learn, Share and Connect” session for program participants and Mercer Investments colleagues. While you can address any topics you think relevant for participants, we would anticipate that many managers will use this opportunity to discuss views on trends that are creating opportunities or threats for clients, and investment strategies and other ideas and innovations for how to address these.
Normally, participants have the opportunity to meet informally in one-to-one sessions with Mercer attendees or other participants during the course of the Forum. To try to deliver a similar virtual experience, many of our Mercer colleagues will be making themselves available for “open hours” during the Forum. Each manager attendee will be allotted eight 30-minute time slots that can be used to schedule a One-to-One session with a Mercer consultant. Attendees are free to invite one or two additional representatives of their firm to join them for their session.
The LSC and One-to-One sessions will take place over the course of three days, 26-28 October. We are putting in place an electronic scheduling process through which each registered manager will have the opportunity to declare their preferences regarding time slots and potential Mercer attendees.
Members of some professional bodies may be able to claim continuing professional development credits for attending Mercer's Global Investment Forums.