Mercer Global Investment Forums 2019

2019

BOSTON22-23 October 2019

Forum Agenda

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MONDAY OCTOBER 21

15:00–16:00Asset Manager Briefing Registration

16:00–18:55Asset Manager Briefing

19:00–21:00Welcome Reception and Buffet Dinner

TUESDAY OCTOBER 22

07:30–08:45Registration

07:45–08:45Breakfast

08:45–09:00Welcome and Opening

Christine MahoneyWealth Leader, US

09:00–09:45Investment 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 LoveDirector of Strategic Research, US

Liana MagnerDC Leader, Delegated Solutions, US

09:45–09:50MC

Geoff WilsonSenior Investment Consultant

09:50–10:10Mastering the Elements: How to Structure Income-Producing Portfolios

There are many reasons to need or want a portfolio that produces an income, from an institution looking to meet its liabilities to an individual trying to match personal spending needs. Given the contrasting objectives of these individuals and institutions, you cannot take a one-size-fits-all approach. This session focuses on how to enhance income in a portfolio to suit different goals and objectives.

Paul StaplesDC Segment Leader

Kenny PitmanInvestment Consultant

10:10–10:30Game 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

10:30–11:00Networking and Coffee Break

11:00–12:00Keynote Address

Michael MauboussinInvestment Strategist and Author

12:00–12:30Capturing 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.

Nicholas IselinSenior Investment Consultant

Shaum ShrinivasSenior Investment Consultant

12:30–12:40Game 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

12:40–13:55Lunch

13:55–14:30Surveying the Asset Management Landscape: Trends and Portfolio Impacts

Facilitator

Keith MoteNot-for-Profit Business Leader, US

Panelists

TBC

14:30–15:05Campfire Conversations: A Fireside Chat with Mercer Clients – Round 1

(DC) Managed Accounts: Good for Participants or an Overpriced Target Date Fund?

Facilitator

TBC

Clients

To Be Announced

Hedge Funds: Are They a Feasible Allocation?

Facilitator

Texas HemmaplardhCo-Lead, Endownments

Clients

To Be Announced

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

Facilitator

Beth JohnsonSenior Investment Consultant

Clients

To Be Announced

Applying ESG as a US Fiduciary

Facilitator

Max MesservyResponsible Investment Consultant

Clients

To Be Announced

15:05–15:40Campfire Conversations: A Fireside Chat with Mercer Clients – Round 2

(DC) Managed Accounts: Good for Participants or an Overpriced Target Date Fund?

Facilitator

TBC

Clients

To Be Announced

Hedge Funds: Are They a Feasible Allocation?

Facilitator

Texas HemmaplardhCo-Lead, Endownments

Clients

To Be Announced

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

Facilitator

Beth JohnsonSenior Investment Consultant

Clients

To Be Announced

Applying ESG as a US Fiduciary

Facilitator

Max MesservyResponsible Investment Consultant

Clients

To Be Announced

15:40–16:10Networking and Coffee Break

16:10–16:40Investment Decision-Making: A Discussion of the Merits of Different Governance Models

Facilitator

Katie HockenmaierSenior Investment Consultant

Clients

To Be Announced

16:40–17:05The 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?
Facilitator

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.Absolute Return Strategies

Alex JohnsonInvestment Consultant

5.Insurance-Linked Securities

Jessica ShamshuraInvestment Analyst

6.Commodities

Will DillardInvestment Consultant

7.Trend-Following Strategies

Megan CoffeyAsset Class Specialist, Hedge Fund Boutique

17:05–17:15Game 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

17:15–17:25Final Remarks

Geoff WilsonSenior Investment Consultant

18:00–22:00Drinks and Offsite Dinner

WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 23

08:00–09:00Breakfast

09:00–09:10Opening Remarks

Martine FerlandPresident and Chief Executive Officer

09:10–09:15MC

Aruna JainSenior Investment Consultant

09:15–09:45Investing 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.

Alex BernhardtHead of Responsible Investment, US

Christine BradfordSenior Investment Consultant

09:45–10:15Tectonic 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 Strategic Research

Susan McDermottChief Investment Officer, Institutional Advisory

10:15–10:45Networking and Coffee Break

10:45–11:20Opportunities in Private Markets and How They Fit into Your Portfolio

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, private debt and private equity markets. We also discuss how these asset classes can fit within your wider portfolio.
Facilitator

Brad YoungGlobal Chief Investment Officer, Private Markets

Panelists

Harry LeggatHead of Private Equity and Private Debt, US

Raelen LambertGlobal Alternatives Leader, Private Debt

Allison YagerGlobal Alternatives Leader, Real Estate

Amarik UbhiGlobal Alternatives Leader, Infrastructure

11:20–12:00Braving 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 HensonEast market DC Segment Leader

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

12:00–12:10Game 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

12:10–12:25Bringing 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

12:30–13:45Lunch

Draft Agenda. Subject to change.
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