Mercer Global Investment Forums

CHICAGO15 - 16 June 2017

Mercer Global Investment Forums – Chicago, 8-9 June, 2017

Forum Agenda

Contains links to related publications

JUNE 14, WEDNESDAY

16:00–16:45Asset Manager Session Registration

16:45–19:00Asset Manager Session

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

JUNE 15, THURSDAY

07:45–08:45Breakfast

08:45–08:55Welcome and Opening

Tom MurphyWealth Leader, North America

08:55–09:00MC

Travis PruitUS Proposition Leader for Endowment & Foundation Delegated Services

The global economy is starting to reflate, with stronger growth and higher inflation expected in 2017; we are also seeing the potential for increased volatility in financial markets. We believe investors must seek to identify and understand some of the key drivers of change in today's world. Global fragmentation, an abundance of capital, a shift from monetary to fiscal stimulus and understanding structural changes are four themes we believe will shape and influence the investment environment of 2017 and the years ahead. In this session, we explore how different types of investors can respond to these themes to seek practical investment opportunities, improve their portfolio outcomes and meet their objectives.

Deb ClarkeGlobal Head of Investments Research

Jessica PortisInvestment Leader, Not-for-Profit Client Segment

Gordon FletcherUS Delegated Defined Benefit (DB) Proposition Leader

Liana MagnerUS DC Investment Leader

09:40–10:10Creating Robust Reference Portfolios: Principles and Practicalities

Mercer advises more than 3,700 clients around the world — clients from different industries and different tax regimes, and clients with different beliefs, objectives constraints and preferences — and every client receives advice tailored specifically to meet its requirements. That advice, however, is always grounded in core Mercer best practice, from bottom-up manager research to top-down strategic advice and from operational risk management to sustainability. Much of what we consider best practice is captured within our reference portfolios. In this session, we outline what reference portfolios mean to us, how they reflect Mercer's best ideas and how they underpin our advice to clients.

Nick WhiteGlobal Director of Portfolio Construction Research

Jason BlackwellInvestment Consultant

10:10–10:20Mind Games — Navigating Alternate Realities I

Like Alice in Wonderland, the audience is transported through a looking glass to alternate futures. In this three-part interactive game, the audience is asked to create optimal portfolios based on different scenarios. After conferring with their tablemates, everyone in the audience submits a portfolio individually. All submissions are tabulated on a leaderboard. The person who submits the portfolio with the highest value after three rounds is declared the winner of Wonderland. The moderator briefly discusses the winning and optimal portfolio.

Geoff WilsonPortfolio Manager, Endowments, Foundations and Other Non-profit Organizations

10:20–10:50Networking and Coffee Break

10:50–11:50Keynote Address – Innovative State: Growth Opportunities in an Era of Digital Public/Private Collaboration

From President Obama's first full day in office to President Trump's new Office of American Innovation, the United States has directed a chief technology officer to foster a more open and innovative government. Aneesh Chopra served as the nation's first CTO and drawing from his 2014 book, "Innovative State: How New Technologies Can Transform Government," explores future possibilities for data innovation to improve key public challenges and provides insights on how organizations can apply similar approaches to develop new products and services to help people make better decisions about every stage of their life, at every stage.

Aneesh ChopraChief Technology Officer of the United States (2009-2012), Co-Founder & Executive Vice President, Hunch Analytics

Given the heightened level of economic and political uncertainty in the current environment, we believe investors need to re-assess the extent to which portfolios are likely to be robust in a wide range of scenarios. Historically, many investors have relied on nominal bonds to provide some degree of protection in periods of equity market stress. But does this approach remain valid in today's low yield environment? In this session, we explore other forms of defense that might improve the robustness of investor portfolios in the years ahead.

Phil EdwardsEuropean Director of Strategic Research

Given the current level of bond yields and equity market valuations, portfolios dominated by equities and bonds offer a relatively unattractive risk/return trade-off going forward. One important way investors are looking to address this challenge is by seeking a greater contribution from alternative asset classes across both liquid (for example, hedge fund) and illiquid (for example, private market) opportunities. In this session, we cover some of the interesting opportunities available to investors and explore how investors can build exposure to these alternative asset classes.

Michael ForestnerDirector of Private Markets

Dave McMillanChief Investment Officer for Hedge Funds

12:45–12:55Mind Games — Navigating Alternate Realities II

Like Alice in Wonderland, the audience is transported through a looking glass to alternate futures. In this three-part interactive game, the audience is asked to create optimal portfolios based on different scenarios. After conferring with their tablemates, everyone in the audience submits a portfolio individually. All submissions are tabulated on a leaderboard. The person who submits the portfolio with the highest value after three rounds is declared the winner of Wonderland. The moderator briefly discusses the winning and optimal portfolio.

Geoff WilsonPortfolio Manager, Endowments, Foundations and Other Non-profit Organizations

12:55–14:10Lunch

DB Exit Strategy: Preparing your Portfolio for Buyout

In this breakout session, we explore the growing market for annuity buyouts for defined benefit plans and, in particular, how to prepare your portfolio in an unpredictable world. We look at how portfolio planning for a buyout and the insurance appetite for in-kind transactions has evolved and our best thinking on the strategic approach for structuring a portfolio that optimizes the transition of assets, for both the transaction and the ongoing plan. A portfolio with alternative asset classes and illiquid investments needs special treatment, and we discuss the implications for a plan intending to execute an annuity buyout.

Jared DickowFinancial Strategist

Reid SmithInvestment Consultant

Achieving a Healthy Outlook: How to Survive and Thrive in This World of Individual Accountability

A lack of access to savings programs, as well as financial exclusion in many markets, has led to a global savings gap, which is exacerbated by rapidly aging populations. Consequently, savings policies are increasingly focused on ensuring that individuals have sufficient savings, regardless of employment status. However, this shift to individual responsibilities in creating financial retirement security presents new challenges. In this breakout session, we discuss the different approaches to global retirement system reforms, the implications of these changes and how it affects defined contribution and wealth management intermediary clients.

Stacy ScapinoSenior Investment Consultant

David HymanUS Wealth Management Segment Leader

The concept of diversity as a tool to improve the quality of decision-making is nothing new, but are we actually doing anything about it? In this breakout session, we look at different types of diversity and explore how we are using these in our manager research for our assessment of managers. We take one particular aspect — gender diversity — and discuss where the asset management industry is today in terms of women and what actions we can all take now to make a difference.

Pam JeffordsGlobal Sales Leader for MCG and When Women Thrive

Michael KinneySenior Research Specialist, Equity Boutique

The Evolution of Delegation: Real Accounts of Success and Failure

Delegation is a much-discussed topic whose prominence has grown in the last decade.  However, delegation can mean a lot of different things to different people, and a lot of different labels and structures are lumped under the term. In this breakout session, we discuss how delegation has evolved into the many forms it takes today. We explore situations where it has worked for clients (and where it hasn't), and review the considerations for investors when evaluating the type of delegation that is best for them.

John NussbaumerSouth Market Business Leader

Seamus BrittClient Portfolio Director

To understand the impact of long-term systemic risks like climate change on portfolio risk/return, practitioners naturally turn first to the historical record. However, doing so isn't straightforward since it is unclear to what extent markets are pricing these risks into current valuations and what potential large changes in policy, technology and the physical environment may unfold in coming years. In this breakout session, we examine current investment risk management frameworks and how investors can broaden their perspectives to consider and address long-term systemic risks like climate change.

Christine BradfordSenior Investment Consultant

Alex BernhardtHead of Responsible Investing

DB Exit Strategy: Preparing your Portfolio for Buyout

In this breakout session, we explore the growing market for annuity buyouts for defined benefit plans and, in particular, how to prepare your portfolio in an unpredictable world. We look at how portfolio planning for a buyout and the insurance appetite for in-kind transactions has evolved and our best thinking on the strategic approach for structuring a portfolio that optimizes the transition of assets, for both the transaction and the ongoing plan. A portfolio with alternative asset classes and illiquid investments needs special treatment, and we discuss the implications for a plan intending to execute an annuity buyout.

Jared DickowFinancial Strategist

Reid SmithInvestment Consultant

Achieving a Healthy Outlook: How to Survive and Thrive in This World of Individual Accountability

A lack of access to savings programs, as well as financial exclusion in many markets, has led to a global savings gap, which is exacerbated by rapidly aging populations. Consequently, savings policies are increasingly focused on ensuring that individuals have sufficient savings, regardless of employment status. However, this shift to individual responsibilities in creating financial retirement security presents new challenges. In this breakout session, we discuss the different approaches to global retirement system reforms, the implications of these changes and how it affects defined contribution and wealth management intermediary clients.

Stacy ScapinoSenior Investment Consultant

David HymanUS Wealth Management Segment Leader

The concept of diversity as a tool to improve the quality of decision-making is nothing new, but are we actually doing anything about it? In this breakout session, we look at different types of diversity and explore how we are using these in our manager research for our assessment of managers. We take one particular aspect — gender diversity — and discuss where the asset management industry is today in terms of women and what actions we can all take now to make a difference.

Pam JeffordsGlobal Sales Leader for MCG and When Women Thrive

Michael KinneySenior Research Specialist, Equity Boutique

The Evolution of Delegation: Real Accounts of Success and Failure

Delegation is a much-discussed topic whose prominence has grown in the last decade.  However, delegation can mean a lot of different things to different people, and a lot of different labels and structures are lumped under the term. In this breakout session, we discuss how delegation has evolved into the many forms it takes today. We explore situations where it has worked for clients (and where it hasn't), and review the considerations for investors when evaluating the type of delegation that is best for them.

John NussbaumerSouth Market Business Leader

Seamus BrittClient Portfolio Director

To understand the impact of long-term systemic risks like climate change on portfolio risk/return, practitioners naturally turn first to the historical record. However, doing so isn't straightforward since it is unclear to what extent markets are pricing these risks into current valuations and what potential large changes in policy, technology and the physical environment may unfold in coming years. In this breakout session, we examine current investment risk management frameworks and how investors can broaden their perspectives to consider and address long-term systemic risks like climate change.

Christine BradfordSenior Investment Consultant

Alex BernhardtHead of Responsible Investing

15:30–16:00Networking and Coffee Break

16:00–16:10Lightning Talk: Fire Drill – How to React to Extreme Events

Extreme events occur more often than predicted and are worse — or more extreme — than predicted. In this lightning talk, we look at potential extreme events for the pension and 401(k) saving plan industry, we penetrate to the core of how humans make effective decisions, and we illustrate why intelligence and preparations are the antidote for survival.

Peter GrantSenior Investment Consultant

16:10–17:05Globalization in a Fragile World: Is it Time for a Rethink?

In this session, we debate whether it is now time for a rethink on globalisation. Andrew Kirton and Anthony Brown go head-to-head and discuss the implications of globalization, covering topics such as geopolitics, economics and trade, technology, home country bias and the implications for investment today. We also encourage audience debate, and you decide where you stand on this topic.

Andrew KirtonGlobal Chief Investment Officer

Anthony BrownUS Director of Strategic Research

17:05–17:15Final Thoughts

Rich DabrowskiCentral Market Business Leader

18:00–21:35Cocktails and Offsite Dinner

Coach pick-up from the main hotel entrance at 5:30pm; Cocktail reception at the Field Museum starts at 6:00pm

JUNE 16, FRIDAY

09:00–09:05MC

Michael SchlachterUS Wealth Defined Benefit Segment Leader, Investments

09:05–10:05Investing in a Future that is Gray, Delayed, Small, and Female

Demography is destiny. And, tomorrow's future appears to be gray, delayed, small and female. An aging population is changing the marketplace and workplace. New products and services to serve the wants and needs of older consumers will be the foundations of an emerging $8 trillion longevity economy where many people live to a new normal of 100 years. Living longer is likely to mean working longer — making five generations of workers a management challenge for decades to come. Younger generations, particularly the Millennials, are not following the 'traditional' life stage models of the past — delaying the start of their own households, marriage, childbearing as well as many consumption patterns such as car and home ownership. The future is female. Women are the chief financial officers of their homes and the key influencers of younger and older households making them critical to shaping behaviors from retirement planning to healthy living as well as key purchase decisions. These demographic trends are more than just strands of demographic data, they converge to forge new consumer and employee values changing how we engage across the generations, choose to live tomorrow and how we envision the future of markets.

Joe CoughlinFounder and Director, MIT AgeLab

10:05–10:15Lightning Talk: Easy Wins: How to Leverage Human Behavior to Improve Member Outcomes

Opportunities now exist, courtesy of the digital revolution and developments in behavioral economics, to make financial decisions simpler and more intuitive. Although some employers have shied away from addressing employee financial health head-on, many are now seeing the benefits of addressing employees' financial stress, as it underscores the value of programs available and pre-empts workforce management issues. In this lightning talk, we set out how to use our natural human biases to create better outcomes for employees within defined contribution plans, and how to empower employees to take charge of their own financial health.

Katie HockenmaierInvestment Consultant

10:15–10:25Lightning Talk: The Evolving Landscape of Fintech

Is Fintech a fad or is it here to stay? And why should you care?

In this lightning talk, we define Fintech and examine trends within this rapidly expanding sector. We explore the theories behind disruptive technology change and whether incumbents can, or even should, try to keep up. After this lightning talk, you will have a better understanding of the unique factors to consider when working with Fintech companies, and why Fintech is an issue you cannot ignore!

Lindsey StaleyInvestment Analyst

10:25–10:55Networking and Coffee Break

The decision between active and passive management has never been an easy one. The use of factor-based analysis and investment strategies that fall between active and passive have given investors an additional tool to understand and target the exposures they want in their portfolio at a low cost.

The good news is that the environment has never been better for investors to get the investments they want at an attractive cost. However, the decision of what to do and how to do it has never been more complex. This session examines this evolution of investment management and provides insights into deciding how to allocate across the key management exposures: market, factor and skill.

Jay LoveUS Director of Strategic Research

Sean ChatburnResearch Specialist, Equity Boutique

In this session, we discuss the key elements in hiring and firing an investment manager. The manager ratings process is discussed, but more emphasis is placed on the investment factors we look for in hiring (or firing) managers and the nontangible aspects of the manager selection process. We explore why the combination of this approach provides a higher likelihood of success as we navigate an unpredictable world.

Stan MavromatesAmericas Chief Investment Officer (CIO)

11:55–12:10Mind Games — Navigating Alternate Realities III

Like Alice in Wonderland, the audience is transported through a looking glass to alternate futures. In this three-part interactive game, the audience is asked to create optimal portfolios based on different scenarios. After conferring with their tablemates, everyone in the audience submits a portfolio individually. All submissions are tabulated on a leaderboard. The person who submits the portfolio with the highest value after three rounds is declared the winner of Wonderland. The moderator briefly discusses the winning and optimal portfolio.

Geoff WilsonPortfolio Manager, Endowments, Foundations and Other Non-profit Organizations

12:10–12:20Concluding Remarks

Jacques GouletPresident, Health and Wealth

12:20–13:55Lunch

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