Texas Institutional Forum Offers TEXPERS Members Free Access to Investment Insiders

A forum is being held in Austin on Nov. 18 to provide insights into selected areas of interest to the Texas institutional investment community. This year marks the event's eighth iteration.

Representatives from pension plans, foundations, hospital plans, and insurance companies attend the annual Texas Institutional Forum. The event is free to attend and offers TEXPERS members a cost-free way to gain investment industry insight.

The 8th Annual Texas Institutional Forum, presented by Markets Group, will be held Nov. 18 at the JW Marriott Austin, located at 110 E. 2nd St., Austin, TX 78701. Sessions include interviews, presentations, networking breaks, breakout discussions, and panel talks featuring investment industry thought leaders.

Click here to email your registration to forum organizer William Coba, Head of Institutional Relations, North America, with Markets Group.

TEXPERS members considering attending the event in person should expect to see 50 to 60 attendees throughout the day's event. The limit is to maintain COVID-19 protocols, says Coba, who is organizing the forum.

Also, Markets Group is asking those attending in-person to have received their COVID-19 vaccinations. Although in-person is the preferred attendance for the forum, Coba says Markets Group offers a hybrid option for those who cannot attend in-person.

Click here to email Coba a request for remote attendance to gain access to the forum's free networking app, allowing users to access the schedule and additional event materials, connect with other attendees and watch a livestream of the day's event.

The Forum Schedule

The forum opens with registration at 8 a.m. and ends with a reception at 4:30 p.m.

8:00 Registration, Networking & Welcome Coffee

9:00 Welcome Remarks and Keynote Address

Organizer: William Coba, Head of Institutional Relations, North America, Markets Group

Keynote Speaker: Brian Guthrie, Executive Director, Teacher Retirement System of Texas

Chair: Amanda Montgomery, Director, Senior Relationship Manager, Allianz Global Investors 

9:20 Interview: Fixed Income: Near or Next to Zero

For a global asset class totaling more than $100 trillion, fixed income is a capital market instrument often neglected. The historic stock surge of 2010-2019 overshadowed solid but unspectacular bond performance. The onset of COVID-19 and subsequent panic-stricken selloff challenged the perception of the bond market as a safe haven but offered exceptional opportunistic merchandise in corporate credit, government debt, even exchange-traded fixed income. Our panel will show how fixed income is fairing in a near-zero interest rate environment.

Interviewer: Leighton Shantz, Senior Managing Director, Employees Retirement System of Texas

Interviewee: Diana Chiu, Portfolio Manager, TwentyFour Asset Management

9:50 Presentation: What Path to Take in China?

As China’s weight within key global equity indices increases and as financial markets there mature and become more accessible, US institutional investors face a dilemma: Should they consider a dedicated China allocation or should they continue gaining their exposure to Chinese equities as they currently do, typically via international or emerging market (EM) allocations? And within a dedicated China allocation, should it be A-Shares or All-China (on-shore and off-shore)? We will discuss the approaches investors can take in China and what may be most suitable for different investors.

PresenterChristian McCormick, Director, Allianz Global Investors

10:20 Interview: Office Demand in a Post-Pandemic World

Efforts to suppress the spread of COVID-19 have included converting much of the nation’s office-using workforce into “telecommuters”, nearly overnight. As this broad work from home experiment unfolds, this panel will evaluate what office demand could look like in the coming decade and beyond. Will companies shift towards permanent remote working, partial remote working, or simply return to “business as usual” pre-COVID? If work from home arrangements accelerate, how will firms change their space needs? Will firms change their space layouts to be better prepared for future pandemics? These are some of the questions that will be considered during the panel discussion.

Interviewee: Adam Ruggiero, Managing Director and Portfolio Manager, Real Estate Equity, MetLife Investment Management

10:50 Morning Coffee Break – hosted by Mondrian Investment Partners

11:10 Interview: Technology Innovation and Disruption

Successful growth investing depends on the ability to identify and invest early in disruptive and innovative companies with long-duration growth potential. Today, many of these opportunities have exposure to the technology-driven structural trends—e.g., the digital transformation of the consumer and the enterprise as well as technology enablers—that are transforming industries globally. While these trends are not new, they were accelerated by the pandemic, which became a real-time experiment in mass adoption. This Investor Q&A will focus on how these trends are reshaping the market landscape and what that means for investors seeking long-term growth/excess returns.

Interviewee: Thomas Davis, Managing Director, Global Equity Portfolio Manager, Jennison Associates 

11:40 Interview: Portfolio Solutions for a Low Return World

A balanced portfolio of equities and bonds has served investors well. However, future returns from traditional investment approaches are expected to be lower and may come with greater uncertainty. Distilling investments into their constituent value drivers can help investors better understand trade-offs and design higher return portfolios with diversified risk and lower costs. Each investor has his or her own utility function when it comes to returns, risk, and fees. As fiduciaries, institutional investors have an obligation to their beneficiaries to be thoughtful in the quest for higher returns. This journey does not have to be overly complex, expensive, or require locking up capital. Our session will discuss alternative investment strategies and how it can assist institutional investors achieve their long-term goals.

Interviewer: Alex Ambroz, Director, Cleveland Clinic Investment Office

Interviewee: Amit Sinha, Senior Vice President, Head of Multi-Asset Design, Voya Investment Management

12:10 Networking Luncheon & Breakout Discussions - hosted by State Street Global Advisors

In the format of roundtables, small discussion groups are formed by topic. This is your opportunity to interact with some of our speakers and guests of the day, ask questions, and make connections.

Table 1: What Path to Take in China? - hosted by Allianz Global Investors

Table 2: Portfolio Solutions for a Low Return World hosted by Voya Investment Management

Table 3: Technology Innovation and Disruption hosted by Jennison Associates

Table 4:Office Demand in a Post-Pandemic World hosted by MetLife Investment Management

Table 5:Opportunities in Alternative and Structured Credit hosted by ArrowMark Partners

Table 6:Strategies to Mitigate Portfolio Riskhosted by Cboe Global Markets 

Table 7: The Tails We Must Face: Inflation / Recessionhosted by SLC Management

Table 8: Fixed Income: Near or Next to Zero – hosted byVontobel Asset Management

Table 9: Innovation in Biotechnology: Blending Public and Private Market Opportunities hosted by Janus Henderson

1:10 Interview: Opportunities in Alternative and Structured Credit 

As investors search for new and differentiated alternative strategies that align with their portfolio objectives, many have explored specialized segments of the credit markets to capture yield. Often, these strategies look to take advantage of less trafficked, more complex, and sometimes fewer liquid opportunities. Several challenges exist such as: fit within a broader portfolio, unique supply and demand dynamics across segments, vehicle structure, and inflation concerns top the list. The panelists will seek to address these points across various alternative and structured credit opportunities. Their discussion will touch on real-time examples of opportunities in today’s market.

Interviewer: Mike Nichols, Senior Investment Officer, Texas Tech University System

Interviewee: Timothy Beresford, Client Portfolio Manager, ArrowMark Partners

1:40 Interview: Innovation in Biotechnology: Blending Public and Private Market Opportunities

After a strong 2020 largely fueled by the sector’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the biotechnology sector has underperformed the broader market in the first half of 2021.  Despite this year’s slow start, rapid innovation and more reasonable valuation levels should provide a tailwind for the sector.  In this session, we review the thematic case for biotech and discuss the sector’s accelerating pace of innovation that should offer the opportunity for substantial growth for years to come.  In addition, we’ll outline the benefits of combining public equities and private placements in long-biased portfolio to maximize the opportunity set.

Interviewer: Premal Amin, Administrator, Austin Firefighters Pension Fund

Interviewee: Agustin Mohedas, Research Analyst, Biotechnology & Health Care, Janus Henderson Investors  

2:10 Panel: Strategies to Mitigate Portfolio Risk

What can institutional investors do to better prepare for another downturn? All institutional portfolios with significant return requirements (>5%) are oriented to do well in a growing economy, but poorly in recession. So what can be done to mitigate portfolio drawdowns in recession, while acting in the realm of the possible?

Moderator: Kelly S. Broadhurst, Global Client Services Team, Cboe Global Markets

Panelists: Ryan Lobdell, Consultant, Meketa, Mark Telschow, Director, Investment Management Division, Teacher Retirement System of Texas, Tim Jones, Director of Risk, University of Texas Investment Management 

2:50 Afternoon Networking Break 

3:10 Panel: The Tails We Must Face: Inflation / Recession

Economic growth is like an aircraft carrier that has enormous momentum but is difficult to turn or stabilize if it starts to list. Tail events that keep the Fed and politicians awake at night are the threats of inflation and recession. These tails are at the opposite ends of the spectrum but can ultimately result in a lack of confidence in the economic future, causing major challenges for portfolios that depend on projections and discounting of future cash flows. This panel will discuss these tails and portfolio management strategies to mitigate them

Panelists: Richard Familetti, Chief Investment Officer, U.S. Total Return Fixed Income, SLC Management 

3:50 Panel: Leadership Roundtable – Navigating the Aftermath of COVID-19

Being a senior investment officer has never been a cakewalk. But the stress, as well as complex risk profile of the role, have both turned monumental in the wake of COVID-19. In addition to asset allocation and portfolio management, stakeholder demand, member anxiety, and staff wellbeing all take on renewed significance. We ask our Roundtable panelists to discuss how the coronavirus pandemic changed their job description--for better and worse.

Panelists: Ian Toner, Chief Investment Officer, Verus Investments

4:30 Chairman’s Closing Remarks

Organizer: William Coba, Head of Institutional Relations, North America, Markets Group

Chair: Amanda Montgomery, Director, Senior Relationship Manager, Allianz Global Investors 

4:35 Cocktail Reception – hosted by Eastspring Investments5:35 Invitation-Only Dinner - hosted by Allianz Global Investors

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