Mercer Global Investment Forums 2019

2019

BOSTON22-23 October 2019

Forum Agenda

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MONDAY OCTOBER 21

3:00pm–4:00pmAsset Manager Briefing Registration

4:00pm–6:55pmAsset Manager Briefing

7:00pm–9:00pmWelcome Reception and Buffet Dinner

TUESDAY OCTOBER 22

7:30am–8:45amRegistration

7:45am–8:45amBreakfast

8:45am–9:00amWelcome and Opening

Christine MahoneyWealth Leader, US

9:00am–9:45amInvestment Themes, Reference Portfolios and Practical Application

In this session, we present our investment themes for 2019 and beyond, taking you from the white waters of the late cycle through winds of change in market participation and tectonic frictions in the global world order to sustainability gathering momentum. We believe these themes will present both challenges and opportunities as well as drive change in the investment landscape. We discuss how different investors, both locally and globally, can respond to these themes and how they can seek practical investment opportunities to improve portfolio outcomes.

Deb ClarkeGlobal Head of Investment Research

Nick WhiteGlobal Strategic Research Director

Jay LoveUS Investment Consulting Leader

Liana MagnerUS DC and Financial Wellness Leader

9:45am–9:50amMC

Geoff WilsonSenior Investment Consultant

9:50pm–10:20pmCapturing Late Cycle Opportunities for Defensive Portfolios

It has been a wonderful decade for defensive portfolios as they have benefited from the tailwind of falling interest rates, declining credit spreads, low inflation and solid economic growth. However, the forward-looking environment is fraught. Interest rates have plummeted to miniscule levels, credit quality has deteriorated and the economy is in its late cycle. Future returns on traditional defensive assets are likely to be very low, and they may not provide the downside protection that investors have relied upon during past downturns. Against this backdrop, this session looks at how to better structure defensive portfolios and examines different approaches for portfolio protection.

Shaum ShrinivasSenior Investment Consultant

Nicholas IselinSenior Investment Consultant

10:20am–10:40amGame of Later Life – Concept and Round 1

A healthy and happy retirement is the goal of retirees worldwide. The financial services industry is a critical component in achieving this, helping to provide retirees with the income they need to support their lifestyles. As the number of retirement savings products and investment options for defined contribution investors expands, providing an income for life becomes increasingly complex. The Game of Later Life puts you in the position of a retiree and asks you to match retirement savings products and investment options with your retirement goals. The aim of the game is not to have the highest level of income nor to make the most money from your investments but rather to have the healthiest and happiest retirement.

Julija KodInvestment Consultant

10:40am–11:10amNetworking and Coffee Break

11:10am–12:10pmKeynote Address: Inexpensive and Effective Techniques for Better Decision-Making

Most investors are familiar with the basic mistakes of behavioral finance but have not altered their decision-making processes to manage or mitigate these mistakes. This presentation provides concrete methods for improving decisions, including how to integrate base rates, the use of premortems, how to build and manage an effective team, the importance of documenting decisions and the importance of social context in decision-making. The goal of the discussion is to convey inexpensive and effective techniques for better decision-making.

Michael J. MauboussinInvestment Strategist and Author

12:10am–12:30amMastering the Elements: Navigating the DC Retirement Puzzle

The industry is in agreement: retirees are a growing part of the DC population, yet when it comes to retirement income there has been great interest but very limited action within DC plans. It has become clear that providing investment advice and solutions for retirees is a complex puzzle, with a number of interwoven issues that can seem difficult to overcome. We provide some illustrations of these challenges, we outline a process that can be used by plan sponsors to navigate these DC retirement challenges, and we highlight that some simple solutions can exist.

Kenny PitmanSenior Investment Consultant

Neil LloydHead of US Defined Contribution and Financial Wellness Research

12:30pm–12:40pmGame of Later Life – Round 2

A healthy and happy retirement is the goal of retirees worldwide. The financial services industry is a critical component in achieving this, helping to provide retirees with the income they need to support their lifestyles. As the number of retirement savings products and investment options for defined contribution investors expands, providing an income for life becomes increasingly complex. The Game of Later Life puts you in the position of a retiree and asks you to match retirement savings products and investment options with your retirement goals. The aim of the game is not to have the highest level of income nor to make the most money from your investments but rather to have the healthiest and happiest retirement.

Julija KodInvestment Consultant

12:40pm–1:55pmLunch

1:55pm–2:30pmSurveying the Asset Management Landscape: Trends and Portfolio Impacts

The investment industry is undergoing significant change as several key trends evolve and take shape. We hear firsthand from a panel of industry leaders about the key trends affecting asset owners, advisors, and asset managers, and we discuss the impact these trends may have on investment portfolios and decision-making. We aim to provide a diverse perspective on the key challenges facing the industry and discuss what can be done to ensure it remains fit for purpose and aligned to improve portfolio outcomes.
Facilitator

Keith MoteNot-for-Profit Business Leader, US

Panelists

Syed HaqueDirector of Public Markets, UPS Investments Group

Stuart OdellFormer Assistant Treasurer, Retirement Investments, Intel Corporation

Stephanie BramingGlobal Head of Investment Management, William Blair Investment Management

Rich NuzumPresident, Wealth

2:30pm–3:05pmCampfire Conversations – Round 1

Managed Accounts: What Value Do They Bring DC Plans?

Managed accounts are making inroads into Defined Contribution plans as plan sponsors are looking for ways to offer more customized participant asset allocations. While the uptick in utilization by participants is often low, offering managed accounts is a fiduciary decision, so regardless of the number of participants that utilize the service, you as a plan sponsor need to make sure your decision is well thought out and documented. Whether you currently have managed accounts, or are contemplating adding the solution, come hear how your fellow asset owners are working through the upfront analysis and ongoing monitoring, and determining the overall value they bring.
Facilitator

Jennifer FlodinSenior Investment Consultant

Panelists

Peggy FlynnPension and Post-Retirement Investment Manager, American Water

Dina RichardChief Investment Officer, Trinity Health

Hedge Funds: Are They a Feasible Allocation?

Institutional investors have been refining their use of hedge funds in portfolios, adjusting not just the allocation but also the composition of their hedge funds. This panel explores the ongoing and emerging trends in strategy preferences, allocations, and use in institutional portfolios, as well as the potential reasons behind the shifts in the use of hedge funds within those portfolios.
Facilitator

Texas HemmaplardhEndowments Segment Co-Lead, US

Panelists

John JacksonGlobal Leader, Diversifying Alternatives Boutique

Chris MooreChief Investment Officer, Not-for-Profit

Private Equity: Has it Peaked or is it Ready for Version 2.0?

We have recently experienced five years of record fundraising for private market funds. These dollars are to be invested in what has become a limited number of attractive opportunities and add-ons continue to represent the largest share of activity across the private equity landscape. Simultaneously, access to cheap debt and increasing pools of dry powder have kept investment activity elevated. Is the private equity world changing and how should asset owners navigate this extended cycle?
Facilitator

Beth JohnsonSenior Investment Consultant

Panelists

Michael ForestnerGlobal Co-CIO, Private Markets

Phineas TroySenior Investment Consultant

Applying ESG as a US Fiduciary

Demand for investment approaches that consider environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) factors in decision making is growing rapidly across the world. Fiduciaries in the US face a range of considerations in applying ESG in their investments, including the unique regulatory regime, participant and stakeholder demands, and even prevailing notions of market efficiency. This session features the perspectives of two experienced asset owners as they reflect upon ESG successes and challenges, and what the future holds for their respective institutions in terms of addressing ESG risks and capitalizing on opportunities.
Facilitator

Max MesservyResponsible Investment Consultant

Panelists

Kate MurtaghManaging Director, Sustainable Investing and Chief Compliance Officer, Harvard Management Co, Inc.

Michael NguyenInvestement Director, Virginia529 | ABLEnow

3:05pm–3:40pmCampfire Conversations – Round 2

Managed Accounts: What Value Do They Bring DC Plans?

Managed accounts are making inroads into Defined Contribution plans as plan sponsors are looking for ways to offer more customized participant asset allocations. While the uptick in utilization by participants is often low, offering managed accounts is a fiduciary decision, so regardless of the number of participants that utilize the service, you as a plan sponsor need to make sure your decision is well thought out and documented. Whether you currently have managed accounts, or are contemplating adding the solution, come hear how your fellow asset owners are working through the upfront analysis and ongoing monitoring, and determining the overall value they bring.
Facilitator

Jennifer FlodinSenior Investment Consultant

Panelists

Peggy FlynnPension and Post-Retirement Investment Manager, American Water

Dina RichardChief Investment Officer, Trinity Health

Hedge Funds: Are They a Feasible Allocation?

Institutional investors have been refining their use of hedge funds in portfolios, adjusting not just the allocation but also the composition of their hedge funds. This panel explores the ongoing and emerging trends in strategy preferences, allocations, and use in institutional portfolios, as well as the potential reasons behind the shifts in the use of hedge funds within those portfolios.
Facilitator

Texas HemmaplardhEndowments Segment Co-Lead, US

Panelists

John JacksonGlobal Leader, Diversifying Alternatives Boutique

Chris MooreChief Investment Officer, Not-for-Profit

Private Equity: Has it Peaked or is it Ready for Version 2.0?

We have recently experienced five years of record fundraising for private market funds. These dollars are to be invested in what has become a limited number of attractive opportunities and add-ons continue to represent the largest share of activity across the private equity landscape. Simultaneously, access to cheap debt and increasing pools of dry powder have kept investment activity elevated. Is the private equity world changing and how should asset owners navigate this extended cycle?
Facilitator

Beth JohnsonSenior Investment Consultant

Panelists

Michael ForestnerGlobal Co-CIO, Private Markets

Phineas TroySenior Investment Consultant

Applying ESG as a US Fiduciary

Demand for investment approaches that consider environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) factors in decision making is growing rapidly across the world. Fiduciaries in the US face a range of considerations in applying ESG in their investments, including the unique regulatory regime, participant and stakeholder demands, and even prevailing notions of market efficiency. This session features the perspectives of two experienced asset owners as they reflect upon ESG successes and challenges, and what the future holds for their respective institutions in terms of addressing ESG risks and capitalizing on opportunities.
Facilitator

Max MesservyResponsible Investment Consultant

Panelists

Kate MurtaghManaging Director, Sustainable Investing and Chief Compliance Officer, Harvard Management Co, Inc.

Michael NguyenInvestement Director, Virginia529 | ABLEnow

3:40pm–4:10pmNetworking and Coffee Break

4:10pm–4:40pmInvestment Decision-Making: A Discussion of the Merits of Different Governance Models

Retirement plan fiduciaries play a key role in driving retirement outcomes for their employees. While some plan sponsors directly take decisions around investment options offered in their retirement plans and the operational aspects of their investment programs, others have outsourced those responsibilities. We hear from two asset owner panelists who have employed different approaches around decision making. They share how their retirement plan design, oversight committee structures and retirement program goals have informed their respective governance models.
Facilitator

Katie HockenmaierDC Segment Leader, West Region

Panelists

Kimon AndreosChief Finance Officer, Bechtel Plant Machinery

Josh SavageDirector, Treasury – Debt Capital Markets, Investments, Risk Finance, The Coca-Cola Company

4:40pm–5:05pmThe Magnificent Seven: Surfing the Waves of Opportunity

After years of calm waters, markets are showing signs of a late-cycle swell. With slowing global growth, geopolitical tensions and central banks shifting toward tighter monetary policy, you may wonder about out-of-the-box opportunities for returns and diversification benefits for investors. In this interactive, quick-fire session, we introduce seven investment ideas outside the realm of what might be considered a "traditional" asset allocation. It will be up to you as the audience to identify which combination of ideas might fill an "opportunistic" portfolio allocation. Will you ride the waves of opportunity with the Magnificent Seven?
Host

Jill WalkerSenior Investment Consultant

Investment Opportunities

1.Sustainability-themed Equity

Nick ConantAsset Class Specialist, Equity Boutique

2.Frontier Markets

Maggie MuellerAsset Class Specialist, Equity Boutique

3.China Onshore Bonds

Conor FitzellAsset Class Specialist, Fixed Income Boutique

4.Secured Finance

Kenneth ZarskeInvestment Consultant

5.Insurance-linked Securities

Jessica ShamshuraInvestment Analyst

6.Commodities

Will DillardInvestment Consultant

7.Trend-following Strategies

Megan CoffeyAsset Class Specialist, Diversifying Alternatives Boutique

5:05pm–5:15pmGame of Later Life – Round 3

A healthy and happy retirement is the goal of retirees worldwide. The financial services industry is a critical component in achieving this, helping to provide retirees with the income they need to support their lifestyles. As the number of retirement savings products and investment options for defined contribution investors expands, providing an income for life becomes increasingly complex. The Game of Later Life puts you in the position of a retiree and asks you to match retirement savings products and investment options with your retirement goals. The aim of the game is not to have the highest level of income nor to make the most money from your investments but rather to have the healthiest and happiest retirement.

Julija KodInvestment Consultant

5:15pm–5:25pmDay 1 Close

Geoff WilsonSenior Investment Consultant

6:00pm–10:00pmDrinks and Offsite Dinner

WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 23

8:00am–9:00amBreakfast

9:00am–9:05amMC

Aruna JainSenior Investment Consultant

9:05am–9:15amOpening Remarks

Martine FerlandPresident and Chief Executive Officer

9:15am–9:45amInvesting in a Time of Climate Change – Ramifications for Portfolios

The Sequel to Mercer's 2015 Investing in a Time of Climate Change report was published in April. This report analyses the impact of climate-related physical damages and the transition to a low-carbon economy on long-term expected returns, and it provides examples of portfolio impacts between more- and less-climate-aware versions.

In this session, we discuss the influential drivers over both the short and the long term, we identify priority exposures and we discuss what steps can be taken to position portfolios for future resilience. The session focuses on implementation and includes an opportunity for active discussion.

Christine BradfordSenior Investment Consultant

Karen LockridgeSenior Investment Consultant

9:45am–10:15amTectonic Friction: Is the US or China the Best Place to Invest Going Forward?

East collides with West in the ultimate superpower showdown. China was once known as the Middle Kingdom and was regarded as the center of the world. It is now set to overtake the US as the world's largest economy. At the same time, Chinese capital markets are opening to foreign investment. How will the US fight back? See how the superpowers stack up against each other when they go head-to-head. In a world increasingly driven by trade wars and technology, where will you invest?

Anthony BrownUS Director of Capital Markets

Susan McDermottUS Strategic Research Director

10:15am–10:45amNetworking and Coffee Break

10:45am–11:20amThemes and Opportunities in Private Markets

Private market investing continues to be a growing area of importance for institutional investors seeking enhanced returns, better diversification, higher yield or increased exposure to inflation-sensitive assets. In this panel session, we discuss current trends and the opportunities and challenges of investing across the infrastructure, real estate, private debt and private equity markets.
Facilitator

Brad YoungGlobal Co-CIO, Private Markets

Panelists

Harry LeggatHead of US Private Equity, Alternatives

Raelan LambertGlobal Head of Private Debt, Alternatives

Allison YagerGlobal Head of Real Estate, Alternatives

Amarik UbhiGlobal Head of Infrastructure, Alternatives

11:20am–12:00pmBraving EM: Which is the Best Approach in this Late Cycle?

Emerging markets continue to intrigue, fascinate and sometimes frustrate institutional investors. But given where we are in the cycle, how should we be building exposure? Three of our asset-class specialists make separate but compelling arguments for EM equities, EM debt and EM infrastructure. You choose who gets your emerging market vote in this late cycle.
Host

Kelly HensonDC Segment Leader, East Region

Sessions

1.Emerging Market Equities

Mark StonerAsset Class Specialist, Equity Boutique

2.Emerging Market Debt

Linda KoAsset Class Specialist, Fixed Income Boutique

3.Emerging Market Infrastructure

Sid VittalAsset Class Specialist, Alternatives

12:00pm–12:10pmGame of Later Life – Final Destination

A healthy and happy retirement is the goal of retirees worldwide. The financial services industry is a critical component in achieving this, helping to provide retirees with the income they need to support their lifestyles. As the number of retirement savings products and investment options for defined contribution investors expands, providing an income for life becomes increasingly complex. The Game of Later Life puts you in the position of a retiree and asks you to match retirement savings products and investment options with your retirement goals. The aim of the game is not to have the highest level of income nor to make the most money from your investments but rather to have the healthiest and happiest retirement.

Julija KodInvestment Consultant

12:10pm–12:25pmBringing it All Together – Practical Application

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 ideas into your future investment plans to ultimately help brave the elements and surf the late cycle.

Chris MooreChief Investment Officer, Not-for-Profit

12:30pm–1:45pmLunch

Draft Agenda. Subject to change.
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