Chicago 2015 Global Investment Forum

  1. Where have all the opportunities gone? One possible place to look is the alternatives. To explore this further, we take you to The Pitch Pit, where four top-shelf Mercer experts in alternatives investment put forth their best argument for Private Equity, Hedge Funds, Infrastructure and Real Estate to a panel of savvy and sophisticated potential investors of various client types. Presenters explain the merits of each strategy as they try to get the buy-in of potential investors

    Jay Love, Senior Investment Consultant (
    Mike Forestner, Co-CIO, Mercer Private Markets (
    Dave McMillan, Chief Investment Officer for Hedge Funds (
    Allison Yager, Global Leader, Real Estate Boutique (
    Toby Buscombe, Global Head, Infrastructure (
    Russell Clarke, Global CIO for Mainstream Assets, Pacific CIO (
    Rick Nelson, Principal, Syzygy Advisors, LLC
    Betsy Piper/Bach, Vice President and COO, NADART

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  2. Over the last five calendar years the S&P 500 has returned 15.5% annualized, leading global equity markets, while the Barclays Aggregate has returned 4.4% with very low volatility. Combined with the recent strength of the dollar, diversifying away from a traditional balanced portfolio has generally detracted from risk-adjusted performance, leading some investors to question the merits of diversification.

    Will a broader asset allocation be beneficial going forward? Will a global equity portfolio finally deliver? Should investors incorporate more nontraditional return drivers? This talk examines the long-term effects of diversification and assesses current market conditions to answer these questions.

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  3. Liquid Alternatives has become a hot topic in recent years. Investors who remember being trapped in illiquid assets during the 2008–2009 market crash have become savvier in the search for alternatives without illiquidity. At the same time, retail demand for alternatives has prompted the creation of mutual funds — some based on flagship hedge funds. Serving this audience requires evolution of both strategy and assessment.

    Accordingly, we must understand how liquid vehicles are being tailored to fit wealth management and defined contribution clientele. In this talk, we highlight some possible paths to success in this challenge.

    Peter Willett, Manager Researcher, Alternatives Boutique (

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  4. Investors are at an interesting and challenging juncture as they consider how to deal with the current market outlook and ongoing industry pressures. Adaptation is critical. Among other things, Mercer believes investors should consider further tilting from ”beta” to “alpha” return sources, investing where capital is scarce and adopting flexible investment structures that can respond to opportunities as these emerge. This session draws together the major themes of the Forum by examining how investors can respond to the challenges in today’s environment.

    Rich Nuzum, Investments Business Leader, North America

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  5. Concern about retirement adequacy is growing among multinationals. Many have invested in tools and communication exercises to help employees become more knowledgeable and make better decisions, only to be disappointed by the resulting changes in savings and planning behaviors. To help clients ensure that they can generate a better returns from adequacy and financial wellness investments, Mercer has developed a new methodology for identifying and targeting key employee groups. Partnering with our clients, we mine their HRIS and retirement plan data to identify distinct employee segments or clusters with unique needs and savings behaviors.
    In this session, we share personas we developed in actual client analysis to pinpoint the reality of “adequacy in the real world.” The presentation is followed by a workshop to generate specific ideas on how conventional investment products and other interventions need to be enhanced to address the real-world needs of the modern worker.

    Fergal McGuinness, GLobal Defined Contribution Leader (
    Annie Bruneau, Financial Strategist (
    Sabrina Bailey, US Defined Contribution Segment Leader (

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Chicago 2015 Global Investment Forum

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