Mercer Global Investment Forums 2018

CHICAGO14 - 15 June 2018

Forum Agenda

Contains links to presentations and related publications

13 JUNE, WEDNESDAY

15:45–16:30Asset Manager Session Registration

16:30–18:35Asset Manager Session

19:00–22:00Welcome Reception & Buffet Dinner

14 JUNE, THURSDAY

07:30–08:30Breakfast

08:45–08:55Welcome and Opening

Tom MurphyWealth Leader, US

08:55–09:00MC

Chris TauberSenior Investment Consultant

With the global economy in the midst of a widespread upswing in growth, what do the next few years hold in store? In this session, we set out our investment themes for 2018 and beyond, which we believe will present both challenges and opportunities as well as drive change in the investment landscape. We outline major issues impacting different investors around the world, and invite you to raise the key investment challenges you are facing for the panel to address.

Deb ClarkeGlobal Head of Investment Research

Phil EdwardsGlobal Director of Strategic Research

Jessica PortisNot-for-Profit Segment Leader

Nick DaviesUS Investment Consulting Leader

09:50–10:05Mind Games 2: Plotting a Digital Odyssey – Round 1

In 2017, Forum delegates participated in the Mind Games to achieve the highest portfolio returns based on asset allocation; 2018 will be about investing with style. In order to win, delegates must now understand the behaviour of risk premia as they evolve through time. Go on a digital odyssey to three scenarios set in the future and take up the challenge to invest successfully. The game involves table discussions and the chance to create new portfolios with an eye to getting to the top of the leaderboard and winning a surprise gift.

Geoff WilsonSenior Investment Consultant, Not-for-Profit Client Segment

10:05–10:35Networking and Coffee Break

10:35–11:35Keynote Address: Happiness – What Your Mother Didn't Tell You

Most of us think we know what would make us happy and that our only problem is getting it. But research in psychology, economics, and neuroscience shows that people are not very good at predicting what will make them happy, how happy it will make them, and how long that happiness will last. Why? One reason is that our "cultural wisdom" isn't very wise. For example, does money buy happiness? How about marriage? Or children? Most of us think we know the answers to these questions, but science suggests that most of us are wrong. Professor Gilbert explains why, when it comes to understanding happiness, you can't always trust your mom.

Dr. Daniel GilbertProfessor of Psychology, Harvard University

Advances in artificial intelligence have continued at an ever increasing pace over the past few years, and today the world's best chess and poker players are machines. Is it conceivable that before long the world's best investors will be machines, too? In this lightning talk, we explore the impact of technology developments on the investment industry and consider whether advances in big data and machine learning will mean that robots entirely take over from human stock-pickers in the future.

Carissa TepovichInvestment Consultant

The asset management industry is part of a wider savings and investment eco-system. In the eyes of many, this industry is malfunctioning. The charge is that it is increasingly remote from end savers (who are the ultimate providers of the capital), fraught with agency issues and failing in its central role as an effective allocator of capital. In this session we consider the key challenges facing the industry, and discuss what can be done to ensure the industry remains fit for purpose.

Rich DellGlobal Leader, Equity Boutique

Jay LoveUS Director of Strategic Research

12:25–12:35Mind Games 2: Plotting a Digital Odyssey – Round 2

In 2017, Forum delegates participated in the Mind Games to achieve the highest portfolio returns based on asset allocation; 2018 will be about investing with style. In order to win, delegates must now understand the behaviour of risk premia as they evolve through time. Go on a digital odyssey to three scenarios set in the future and take up the challenge to invest successfully. The game involves table discussions and the chance to create new portfolios with an eye to getting to the top of the leaderboard and winning a surprise gift.

Geoff WilsonSenior Investment Consultant, Not-for-Profit Client Segment

12:35–13:50Lunch

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 organisation. 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.

Alex BernhardtUS Responsible Investment Leader

Christine BradfordSenior Investment Consultant

Today there are 250 million migrants on the move, of which 65 million are refugees. Drawing on the World Economic Forum Global Risks report and Mercer climate change research, this lightning talk asks questions such as "Are we really understanding the connections between global social issues like migration on social and economic stability?", "Are investors at risk of having blind spots, not recognizing that social systemic issues are already impacting economies, governments and companies the world over?", "Do these issues impact sovereign risk and mean headwinds for equities?" We suggest that, as long-term investors, there are ways of assessing social issues and share ideas on tools and indicators for addressing them.

Karen LockridgeSenior Investment Consultant

Mercer Question Time: You Ask, We Answer

Here is a chance to ask a panel of Mercer investment consultants your questions on the major investment issues that you are facing. We start off by setting out our ideas and insights on some of the issues and challenges raised in the discussions during the 2018 Investment Themes and Practical Application session. We then open it back up to the audience for more questions.
Facilitator

Jay LoveUS Director of Strategic Research

Panelists

Paul CavalierGlobal Head, Fixed Income Boutique

Liana MagnerUS Delegated DC Leader

Bill MuyskenChief Investment Officer, Alternatives

Mythbusters: Alternative Risk Premia

Investors are looking to address the challenge of relatively unattractive risk/return trade-offs across traditional asset classes by seeking a greater contribution from alternative strategies. Some investors are considering whether alternative risk premia strategies could offer more meaningful diversification at a more attractive price. In this breakout session, we look at what alternative risk premia strategies are, their attractive features and associated risks. We also consider the outlook for these strategies and how they can be used in a portfolio context.

David ErhardtResearch Specialist, Hedge Fund Boutique

John JacksonGlobal Leader, Hedge Fund Boutique

A combination of rising discount rates, changing tax and regulatory rules and shrinking risk premiums are creating an environment urging action for DB plans. Whether seeking to reduce and/or transfer risk or even keeping a plan going, plan sponsors need to understand the opportunities and risks on offer today and many should act. In this breakout session we discuss the options available and what many clients are doing.

Scott DunbarSenior Investment Consultant

Chris EbersoleInvestment Consultant

We all focus a lot of time ensuring the investment portfolios we offer DC participants are well structured, have strong performance expectations and levy reasonable fees. But is this enough? This session explores what else needs to be focused on to enhance DC participant outcomes, and ultimately address the broad retirement funding gap. In particular, we highlight that it does not help to have great portfolios if participants aren’t participating, contributing enough or investing in those portfolios at the right time.

Neil LloydHead, US DC and Financial Wellness Research

Miriam TolbertSenior Investment Consultant

Mercer Question Time: You Ask, We Answer

Here is a chance to ask a panel of Mercer investment consultants your questions on the major investment issues that you are facing. We start off by setting out our ideas and insights on some of the issues and challenges raised in the discussions during the 2018 Investment Themes and Practical Application session. We then open it back up to the audience for more questions.
Facilitator

Jay LoveUS Director of Strategic Research

Panelists

Paul CavalierGlobal Head, Fixed Income Boutique

Liana MagnerUS Delegated DC Leader

Bill MuyskenChief Investment Officer, Alternatives

Mythbusters: Alternative Risk Premia

Investors are looking to address the challenge of relatively unattractive risk/return trade-offs across traditional asset classes by seeking a greater contribution from alternative strategies. Some investors are considering whether alternative risk premia strategies could offer more meaningful diversification at a more attractive price. In this breakout session, we look at what alternative risk premia strategies are, their attractive features and associated risks. We also consider the outlook for these strategies and how they can be used in a portfolio context.

David ErhardtResearch Specialist, Hedge Fund Boutique

John JacksonGlobal Leader, Hedge Fund Boutique

A combination of rising discount rates, changing tax and regulatory rules and shrinking risk premiums are creating an environment urging action for DB plans. Whether seeking to reduce and/or transfer risk or even keeping a plan going, plan sponsors need to understand the opportunities and risks on offer today and many should act. In this breakout session we discuss the options available and what many clients are doing.

Scott DunbarSenior Investment Consultant

Chris EbersoleInvestment Consultant

We all focus a lot of time ensuring the investment portfolios we offer DC participants are well structured, have strong performance expectations and levy reasonable fees. But is this enough? This session explores what else needs to be focused on to enhance DC participant outcomes, and ultimately address the broad retirement funding gap. In particular, we highlight that it does not help to have great portfolios if participants aren't participating, contributing enough or investing in those portfolios at the right time.

Neil LloydHead, US DC and Financial Wellness Research

Miriam TolbertSenior Investment Consultant

15:50–16:20Networking and Coffee Break

16:20–16:30Lightning Talk: Exploring Shareholder Value – Private and Public Equity

Private investments continue to grow as a more prominent asset class in the global market place and investors require a higher expected rate of return to invest in private markets. But what drives shareholder value for private equity and how does this differ from public equity? In this Lightning Talk, we discus some factors that are driving the growth of the private equity asset class and explore fundamental differences between private equity and public equity investments and how these differences affect investor returns.

Rohit NerurkarInvestment Consultant

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, Andrew Kirton 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.

Anthony BrownUS Director of Strategic Research

Andrew KirtonGlobal Chief Investment Officer

17:10–17:25Day 1 Closing Remarks

Rich DabrowskiSenior Investment Consultant

18:00–22:00Drinks and Offsite Dinner

15 JUNE, FRIDAY

08:00–09:00Breakfast

09:00–09:05MC

Katie HockenmaierInvestment Consultant

09:05–10:05Politics in the Age of Trump

Veteran political analyst Mara Liasson covers three broad topics – the latest news coming from Washington, a step back to look at polarization and hyperpartisanship, and the outlook for the coming mid-term elections. Mara draws from her decades of covering politics, the White House, Congress, and elections. She also discusses how we got to this disruptive time in US politics, the forces that contribute to intense polarization, and what they might lead to in November and beyond.

Mara LiassonPolitical Analyst, National Political Correspondent, NPR

Nearly a decade has passed since the financial crisis, potentially lulling investors into a false sense of complacency. However, an extended bull market has resulted in elevated equity valuations, suggesting lower expected returns from stocks. At the same time, rising interest rates and tighter monetary policy introduce risks into fixed income markets. Additionally, the geopolitical environment remains uncertain, which can lead to significant spikes in volatility as we saw earlier this year. How do investors balance risk and return in this environment? In this session, we explore various approaches to reducing risk and the tradeoffs associated with those approaches. Given market dynamics, we think it is appropriate to review risk management practices now rather than waiting until the next bear market to hit.

Jason BlackwellSenior Investment Consultant

Shaum ShrinivasSenior Investment Consultant

10:30–11:00Networking and Coffee Break

11:00–11:30Mindful Leadership

In a time when the pace of life is more hectic than ever, how does a leader remain emotionally consistent, calm, and able to make sound decisions grounded in clarity and foresight? How does a leader balance the need for mental agility with the need to be consistent, empathic and anchored in a strong values base? Experience and science tell us that mindfulness is not only an essential tool but also a framework to help leaders cultivate who they are and in turn lead their teams to achieve extraordinary things. In this session, Charlotte Thaarup, director of Mindfulness Clinic in Australia, shares the latest evidence on why mindfulness should be part of every leader's development agenda.

Charlotte ThaarupDirector, The Mindfulness Clinic

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.

Toby BuscombeGlobal Leader, Infrastructure

Allison YagerGlobal Leader, Real Estate Boutique

12:00–12:10Mind Games 2: Plotting a Digital Odyssey – Round 3

In 2017, Forum delegates participated in the Mind Games to achieve the highest portfolio returns based on asset allocation; 2018 will be about investing with style. In order to win, delegates must now understand the behaviour of risk premia as they evolve through time. Go on a digital odyssey to three scenarios set in the future and take up the challenge to invest successfully. The game involves table discussions and the chance to create new portfolios with an eye to getting to the top of the leaderboard and winning a surprise gift.

Geoff WilsonSenior Investment Consultant, Not-for-Profit Client Segment

12:10–12:25Plot a Route to Success in This Extended Cycle

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.

Travis PruitUS Proposition Leader, Not-for-Profit OCIO

12:25–12:30Closing Remarks

Rich NuzumPresident, Wealth

12:30–13:45Lunch

2017 Event highlights

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Members of some professional bodies may be able to claim continuing professional development credits for attending this event

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