Public Funds Summit East 2019

Newport Marriott, Newport, RI
July 22, 2019 - July 24, 2019

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Opal Financial Group’s annual public funds conference addresses issues that are critical to the investment success of senior public pension fund officers and trustees in the new millennium. Concerns of funding liabilities for beneficiaries in a world of declining returns yet maintaining a balance between the risk/reward paradigms is center in the mind of many trustees and representatives of pension plans around the country. The exchange of ideas both in and out of the session halls are key in educating and identifying viable alternatives that will address these concerns. We will discuss how surplus returns should affect employee benefit plans; closely examine the processes for selection and evaluation of investment managers. Beyond the investment sphere we also address legal issues facing pension plans, ethic regulations and the importance of on-going education for plan sponsors and their fiduciaries. Although attendance is not limited to those in the public sector, the conference takes aim at topics that are of particular relevance to public pension funds. By focusing on an atmosphere of education rather than sales or marketing, the Public Funds Summit provides a unique environment in which members of the public sector can exchange ideas and learn from other delegates, money managers and consultants. Opal will kick off the event with its Annual Regatta Cup, in which attendees will have the opportunity to work with a professional sailing charter crew while competing against industry peers.

This conference will exclusively feature dialogue driven panel discussions led by consultants and pension funds/plan sponsors. Power Point presentations are prohibited during the sessions but may be made available on our mobile app. Please send in PDF or PowerPoint format if you would like to have presentation included on App. Only Standalone Speakers will be allowed to use PowerPoints, but cannot pitch products or advertise anything with their firms.

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Opal Charity Partner: Portfolios with Purpose

Opal has partnered with Portfolios with Purpose to support their mission of shaping the next generation of business leaders. PwP provides a free online financial education to students of any age, promoting financial capability and preparing students for a career in the business sector. Together we are working towards an equitable, inclusive, and values driven community of Professionals with Purpose.

Join one of PwP's global Investor Challenges or learn more about the PwP Academy here!

Current as of


America’s Regatta Cup Networking Event


Exhibitor Setup


Conference Registration Desk Opens


Closed Door Pre-Conference Workshop and Luncheon (Investors ONLY)

Part 1: Emerging Markets – Who Knew? – The Sequel

Presented by

Mark Foust, Senior Portfolio Specialist, DuPont Capital Management

Part 2: Is it Time to Look at Public Equities through a Different Lens?

Presented by

Lode Devlaminck, Managing Director, Equities, DuPont Capital Management


Welcoming Remarks

Russ Kamp, Managing Partner, Kamp Consulting Solutions, LLC


State of the US Retirement System: What are the challenges pensions are facing and what does the future look like?


  • DB plans need to be protected. What can we do differently to insure that they will be available to the next generation of workers?
  • Unfunded liabilities have grown despite strong markets for bonds and equities. Why?
  • Do you know what your promise (liabilities) looks like?
  • Should the ROA or a plan’s liabilities drive asset allocation?
  • Should plans with stronger funded ratios get more or less aggressive?
  • The role of the Federal Gov’t. on the US pension systems.

Russ Kamp, Managing Partner, Kamp Consulting Solutions, LLC


Eric Newman, CPA, CGMA, Treasury Manager, City of Stamford (Conn)

Mark Kordonsky, Principal, Sageview Advisory Group

Daniel Ryan, Project Coordinator, Illinois Public Pension Fund Association (IPPFA)

Kurt Winkelmann, CEO, Navega Strategies, Senior Fellow, University of Minnesota

Leonard Gilroy, Senior Managing Director, Pension Integrity Project, Reason Foundation


Exploring How Gold Can Help Pension Funds Address Short and Long-Term Challenges

Juan Carlos Artigas, Director, Investment Research, World Gold Council


Keynote Presentation


CISA and the Cyber Threat to the Financial Sector

John Felker, Director, National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center, Department of Homeland Security


Refreshment Break


Opportunistic Alternative, Emerging and Niche Strategies – Diversification in a Late Market Cycle Environment


  • Defining today’s niche strategies and how niche can become mainstream
  • Investing early to build relationships for successor funds
  • Finding scalable niche and emerging opportunities
  • Seed and acceleration economics
  • Underwriting newer firms, additional diligence steps: terms, team, track record, infrastructure
  • Crypto Currencies
  • Blockchain
  • Cannabis / Hemp Stocks
  • Accessing the Implied Volatility Risk Premium Through the Writing of Index Options
  • Disruptive Technology
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • How do emerging managers play into your portfolio allocation? Benefits?

Jeff Johnson, Trustee, Municipal Employees’ Annuity and Benefit Fund of Chicago


Cian Desmond, AVP | Wilshire Alternatives Research, Wilshire Associates Incorporated

Matthew Moran, Vice President, Cboe Global Markets

C. LaRoy Brantley, Principal, Consultant , Meketa Investment Group


Risk Management: Key Considerations and Tools


  • Overview of the Transformation from an Asset Allocation-Centered Process to a More Comprehensive Risk Allocation-Based Process
  • Using technology to monitor your portfolio and manage risk
  • Top Pension Risks we should be Most Wary of
  • Risk Parity
  • Tail Risk Hedging
  • Risk – do you adjust depending on how well funded the plan?
  • Drawdown Risk
  • Transparency and Liquidity Risk – Basing it on a Cost/Benefit Evaluation
  • What’s the Best Approach to Liquidity Risk as it applies to Meeting Future Cash Flow Obligations?
  • Leverage Risk – what are the Best Approaches to keep these Risks within Acceptable Parameters?
  • Derisking the liability of side of the balance sheet
  • Managing political risks

Harry Griffin, Trustee, San Antonio (TX) Fire & Police Pension Fund


Max Giolitti, Chief Risk Officer, Verus Investments

Thomas Forma, Senior Vice President - Senior Institutional Consultant, The Forma Group - Morgan Stanley

Bob Williamson, Vice President, Battea - Class Action Services, LLC

Adam Schenck, CFA, FRM, Principal, Managing Director, Head of Fund Services, Milliman

John Phinney, CEO, Convergence Inc.


Explaining Managed Custody Accounts (MCAs) & How to Use Them to Enhance Alignment of Interest and Performance


  • What is an MCA?
  • How does an MCA improve alignment of interest with an asset manager?
  • How do MCAs impact fees and expenses?
  • How does fee netting work?
  • What is the governance structure for MCAs?
  • How do plan fiduciaries get comfortable with MCAs?
  • Do MCAs impact contracting costs?
  • What is the impact of MCAs on MFN clauses?
  • Do managers benefit from using MCAs?

James Perry, Head of Institutional Investor Solutions, Maples Group


Tom Hickey, Partner & Chair of Fund Formation, Foley & Lardner

Mark Steed, Chief Investment Officer, Arizona Public Safety Personnel Retirement System

Will Forde, CAIA, Senior Consultant, NEPC, LLC

Frank Jordan, Managing Director, Head of Client Partnership Group, Crestline Investors, Inc.


Investment Officers’ Roundtable: A Conversation with Pension CEOs, CIOs and Executive Directors


  • Are you considering changes to your plan’s asset allocation?
  • If yes, what is driving that decision?
  • Highlight your most successful and least successful investment decision.
  • Do you use your plan’s funded status to make asset allocation changes?
  • Discuss how your fund approaches ESG/Sustainability/Diverse manager investing

Eileen Neill, CFA, Managing Director, Senior Consultant, Verus Investments


Alec Stais, Chief Investment Officer, Employees' Retirement System of Rhode Island

Blair Richards, CEO, Halifax Port ILA/HEA Pension Plan and Trust Funds

Gary Draghi, Chief Investment Officer, Hartford Municipal Employees' Retirement System

Gerry Fleury, Executive Director, Manchester Employees' Contributory Retirement System


Cocktail Reception

Sponsored by: DuPont Capital Management


Breakfast in Exhibit Hall


Conference Registration Desk Opens


Welcoming Remarks


Equity Investing Strategies and Their Role in Today’s Pension Portfolio


  • In looking at the current landscape for US and International Equities, what do you see as the greatest opportunity or threat? What should a plan sponsor do to take advantage of this insight?
  • Does it make sense to invest by geographies or globally?
  • Equity markets continuously move through cycles, such as growth/value, large /small, etc. What style(s) do you see leading the way forward?
  • Factors (smart beta) used to be sources of alpha and now they are betas, do they have a role in a diversified equity portfolio, and if so, who should be responsible for their implementation?
  • Are there opportunities to use ETFs within a diversified institutional portfolio?
  • Active versus Passive
  • If plan sponsors are skittish about using active managers because of recent underperformance, why not use performance-based fees instead of paying a manager full freight w/o a promise of delivery?

Jack Frost, Trustee, West Palm Beach (FL) Police Pension Fund


Chuck Bryant, Trustee, The Public School and Education Employee Retirement Systems of Missouri (PSRS/PEERS)

Darryl Walker, Trustee, Alameda County Employees Retirement Association


Finding Fixed Income Yield and Income Now that Rates have Plateaued/Stalled/Peaked


  • Given where we are in this cycle (late), how should plan sponsors be thinking of structuring their fixed income and credit assets? Differentiated approaches like flexibility in duration.
  • Where are the (risks and) opportunities over the next 24 months?
  • Exploiting inefficiencies in the credit markets (where are they today?)
  • The importance of manager flexibility (what are your asks?)
  • Benefits of a long-term strategic allocation to the high yield asset class and EMD (Should entry today be delayed given where we are in the cycle?).
  • How to De-Risk a Pension with bonds
  • Liability Beta Portfolio as the core bond portfolio (pros and cons)
  • Legislation for the rescue of multi-employer plans to reduce risk
  • Is there room for illiquid debt in fixed income allocation buckets? If so, what kind and with what qualities? How should this be sized? If not, why not?
  • How would you allocate to fixed income sectors today given full discretion and why? How would you structure the portfolio along the yield curve?
  • Exploiting inefficiencies such as “explosions” in BBB issuance and covenant-lite – implications for plan sponsors. Impact on HY market?

Greg Knoll, Executive Director, Illinois Professional Firefighters Association


William Beck, Vice President, Wilshire Manager Research, Wilshire Consulting

Michael Salice, Director of Research, Sky Harbor Capital Management, LLC

Mark Foust, Senior Portfolio Specialist, DuPont Capital Management


How New Technologies Will Create Investment Winners and Losers in Every Sector

Edwin C. Davison, CFA, Ph.D., Associate Portfolio Manager and Senior Equity Analyst, DuPont Capital Management


Refreshment Break


Real Estate Markets and your Pension System: What should you be looking for?


  • In looking at the current landscape for Real Estate, what do you see as the greatest opportunity or threat? What should a plan sponsor do to take advantage of this insight?
  • Where are we in the Real Estate Cycle
  • Where can upside potential be found
  • What are the biggest risks
  • U.S. versus non-U.S.
  • Technology and the commercial real estate landscape
  • New administration effect on commercial real estate

Dean Crombie, Trustee, New Hampshire Municipal Retirement System


Henry Wilson, MPA, Vice Chairman, Wayne County Employees' Retirement System

Joe Yiu, Managing Principal, Elmtree Funds

Steve Hagenbuckle, Founder and Managing Partner, TerraCap Management, LLC

Mike Acton, Head of AEW Research, AEW Capital Management, L.P.


Public Pensions in Puerto Rico’s Landmark Restructuring

Robert Gordon, Partner, Jenner & Block LLP


Keynote Presentation


Navigating a Volatile World: How Public Policy Can Inform Your Investments

Anthony Scaramucci, Founder & Co-Managing Partner, Skybridge Capital, LLC


Networking Luncheon


Keynote Presentation


Funding Government Pensions and Risk Taking

Chester Spatt, Pamela R. and Kenneth B. Dunn Professor of Finance, Carnegie Mellon University


Opportunities, Strategies, Risks & Rewards for Investing in Real Assets


  • Assets: How do real assets fit into a pension fund’s portfolio?
  • Risks involved
  • Infrastructure
  • Oil and Gas investing
  • Natural Resources – Energy, Water, Timber
  • Gold
  • Direct vs. indirect investments
  • Impact of oil prices and outlook for the year to come

Guy Pinkman, Trustee, Lincoln (NE) Fire & Police Retirement System


Matthew Mark, Director, Asset Owners, World Gold Council

Julian Regan, Senior Vice President, Segal Marco Advisors

Doug Watler, Trustee, Broward Firefighters Health Trust


Extracting Alpha with Private Equity and Venture Capital


  • In looking at the current landscape for Private Markets, what do you see as the greatest opportunity or threat? What should a plan sponsor do to take advantage of this insight?
  • There seems to be a lot of money chasing opportunities within private equity, how does this impact returns for these vintage years?
  • Is bigger better or can you make money with smaller firms/asset bases?
  • Do you need a robust IPO market to capture private equity returns?
  • Are there opportunities in sectors outside of technology? If yes, provide examples.
  • Do fund of funds make sense anymore?

Mark Eisner, Chairman, Daytona Beach Police and Fire Pension Fund


Shawn Quinn, Managing Director, Wilshire Private Markets

Dana Callow, Managing Partner, Boston Millennia Partners, and Trustee and Former Chair of Investment Committee, Tufts University

Haydar Haba, Managing Partner, Andra Global

Kai Schmitz, Senior Investment Officer, International Finance Corp. - World Bank Group


Investing in Private Debt and Direct Lending (or Opportunities in Credit Investing)


  • In looking at the current landscape for Private Debt, what do you see as the greatest opportunity or threat? What should a plan sponsor do to take advantage of this insight?
  • Investment opportunities across the credit spectrum – BDCs, CLOs, Private Credit Funds, Mezz Funds, Broader Strategies
  • Trends in the credit market
    • Regulated Banks, Non-Regulated Arrangers, Direct Lenders
    • Credit quality – structures, covenants, “Adjusted” EBITDA
    • Supply and Demand
  • Risk Adjusted Returns for Credit vs PE, Mezz, Public Markets
  • Macro Outlook
    • The broader economy – Impact on credit
    • The Credit Cycle – Where are we now?
    • Expected impact from Tax Reform & Interest Deductibility
    • Fat-tailed world – What are the current worries?

Will Buividas, Chairman, Arizona Public Safety Personnel Retirement System (PSPRS)


Mark Johnson, Senior Managing Director, Cliffwater

John Morabito, Managing Director, Portfolio Manager, Entrust Global LLC

Timothy Conway, Head of Private Credit, First Eagle Investment Management

Ken Kencel, President & CEO, Churchill Asset Management LLC


Role of Treasurers in State and Local Pensions


Suzanne Taylor, Chairperson, Old Saybrook Retirement Board


Curtis Loftis, Jr., State Treasurer, State of South Carolina

Michael Fitzgerald, State Treasurer, State of Iowa


Summer Social Networking Bash


Thank you to our Sponsors!

  • TerraCap Management, LLC
  • World Gold Council

Breakfast in Exhibit Hall


Conference Registration Desk Opens


Welcoming Remarks


The Role of a Consultant – Past, Present, and Future


  • Do they use the same approach for every asset class?
  • Due diligence and attribution
  • Consideration of fees
  • How can considering Diversification and Risk Independently help Investors Build More Efficient Portfolios?
  • Prognosis for markets, near and longer-term.
  • Targeted asset allocation strategies moving forward: what asset classes are they looking at today and moving forward?
  • Active vs. Passive Management
  • Performance and Benchmarking
  • How to measure success of your consultant
  • Consultants role in finding the right managers
  • Fiduciary roles consultants play
  • How can managers get their foot in the door?

John Agenbroad, Chairman, Inter-Local Pension Fund


Kevin Nichols, CAIA, CIMA, Senior Investment Management Consultant & Vice President, Morgan Stanley Consulting Group & Institutional Services

Marcia Peters, CIO, Portfolio Evaluations

Don Shannon, Director, StepStone Group

Nadine Pfeifer, Consultant, Chartwell Consulting


Learning from Actuaries: Actuarial Science and your Pension Plan


  • How do actuaries decide on whether return and inflation assumptions are reasonable?
  • What horizon should be used for investment return forecasts when setting the return assumption? Short-term (0-5 yrs), mid-term (10-20 yrs) or long-term (30+ yrs)
  • What is the difference between the geometric expected mean and the arithmetic expected mean? Which is more appropriate for annual actuarial valuations?
  • Which comes first: Return assumption or asset allocation?
  • What can actuaries bring to the table on enterprise risk management?
  • How will the new Actuarial Standard of Practice (No. 51) regarding risk disclosure affect public plan actuarial valuations?
  • How does the current low inflation forecasts affect our expected return and salary increase assumptions?
  • Generational mortality vs. static mortality tables
  • Withdrawal liability
  • Entry Age Normal – As a funding method
  • What is the Pension Objective?
  • Is the ROA a calculated number based on the funded status?
  • If the plan earns the ROA, will it be fully funded?
  • Since Assets and liabilities both use the ROA as the projected growth rate wouldn’t projected contributions grow at the
  • ROA rate too?
  • Should projected benefits be reduced by contributions in calculating the Funded Ratio?
  • If interest rates go UP as a trend… would that enhance the Funded Ratio?

John Girard, Trustee, Boca Raton Police and Firefighters’ Retirement System


Ronald Ryan, CEO, Founder, Ryan ALM, Inc.

Jim Rizzo, Senior Consultant & Actuary, Gabriel, Roeder, Smith & Company

Peter Gerlings, CFA, CAIA, Senior Vice President, Implemented Investment Consulting, Segal Marco Advisors


Non-Investment Challenges: 20+ questions facing pension plans and how to handle them


  • What is a significant administrative challenge with managing Plan membership?
    • Specifically: New Members/ Beneficiary Designations/ Contact Information/
    • Breaks in Service/ Re-employment of Retirees/ Closed Plan Issues/
    • Changes in Departments/Bargaining Units
  • How does your Plan service Retiree Payroll Issues – Direct Deposit?
  • How does your Plan manage member and retiree “Life Changes” (e.g., Death, Divorce)?
  • How does your Plan administer earnings limitations/offsets on disability pensions?
  • What is the best way to provide information to your members (e.g. newsletters, webpage)?
  • How do Plans treat the taxation of pension benefits?
  • What types of retirement/financial planning sessions do Plans conduct for members?
  • How do Plans protect the confidentiality of records?
  • How do your various benefit plans (defined contribution plans, defined benefit plans, deferred compensation plans, health care plans, etc.) interact with respect to administration, investments, benefit coordination, etc.?
  • What have Plans experienced with respect to psychiatric disabilities?
  • Do many Plans have fiduciary liability insurance policies and who provides coverage?
  • What types of audits do Plans conduct? Purpose? Scope? Frequency?
  • What types of service credit purchases do Plans allow and how is it administered (cost, verification of prior employment, etc.)?
  • Are there any computer programs or other technology which administrators find essential?
  • How do Plans deal with retirees returning to employment?
  • What problems have Plans experienced with disability re-exams?
  • How do Plans handle tax levies, garnishments, income withholding orders, etc?
  • What are the best methods of monitoring retiree data (beneficiary, address, death, etc.)?
  • What experiences do Plans have on recouping overpayments to retirees/beneficiaries?
  • Has anyone had any problems with trustee elections?
  • Balancing the Pension Board vs Union Board relationship

Robert Grden, Executive Director, Wayne County Employees Retirement System


Joe Andriole, President, Rhode Island State Association of Fire Fighters

Jim Smith, Trustee, San Antonio (TX) Fire & Police Pension Fund

Daniel Miller, Deputy Executive Director, Board of Education Retirement System of the City of New York

Darryl Mabini, Assistant Vice President, Growth & Stakeholder Relations, Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (HOOPP)


Practical Tools to Improve Governance, Fiduciary Responsibility & Avoid Conflicts


  • Db plan vs DC plan Responsivities
  • Restrictions on food & drink and disclosure requirements
  • Importance of process as a fiduciary
  • Fundamental expectations for board meetings
  • Importance of investment beliefs; facilitating board members to a shared set of beliefs
  • Governance & Decision making “dashboards”: focus board on highest order tasks and decisions
  • Risk Management approaches & frameworks
  • Avoiding conflicts of interest (real & perceived): approaches?
  • Board composition: “portfolio of viewpoints”, continuity vs. new perspectives
  • Governance scorecards/benchmarking
  • Freedom of Information
  • Open Meetings statutes
  • What is a Fiduciary and how do you monitor your board/committee?
  • How often do you review the investment policy statement (IPS)?
  • Do you regularly review your assets versus the plan’s liabilities (the promise)?
  • Do you have a de-risking strategy in place?
  • How do you monitor potential conflicts of interest?
  • Education is paramount. How often do you provide educational opportunities for your

Lily Cavanagh, Treasurer, Redford Township Police & Firemens Retirement System


Tom Herek, County Commissioner, Bay County Employee's Ret. System, Bay County (MI)

Kathryn Pizzi, Sr. Investment Consultant, Fiduciary Investment Advisors, LLC

Adam Frankel, Trustee, City of Delray Beach General Employees Retirement Fund

Matthew Lay, Trustee, Oklahoma Firefighters Pension & Retirement System


Concludes Concludes

Newport Marriott, Newport, RI
25 America's Cup Avenue, Newport, Rhode Island 02840 USA

Rooms Rates
King $359
Double beds $359
*Exclusive of 13% tax & $1.00 Newport Tourism Assessment per night.

• Rooms are available only to those participants who are registered conference attendees.
• Rooms will not be guaranteed without a credit card.
• Rooms are allocated on a first come first serve basis. Room types/rates are subject to availability.
• The name on the form will be the name of the guest room.

Registration Pricing

Standard Rate
Managers/Service Providers $2,895
Plan Sponsors, Pension Trustee & Staff, Non-Discretionary Consultants, Endowments, and Foundations can be verified for complimentary access* (must be allocators to 3rd party fund managers) Complimentary*

*Subject to Opal Group’s verification and approval. Only individuals who are solely investing on their own behalf can be verified for a complimentary pass. Solution Providers or Fund Providers to third parties will not be able to receive complimentary access. As investment portfolios/strategies are constantly changing, we reserve the right to re- verify past delegates for future complimentary passes.

Sponsorship, Exhibition & Speaking Opportunities 212.532.9898

CISA and the Cyber Threat to the Financial Sector

Presented by

John Felker, Director, National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center, Department of Homeland Security

Funding Government Pensions and Risk Taking

Presented by

Chester Spatt, Pamela R. and Kenneth B. Dunn Professor of Finance, Carnegie Mellon University

Navigating a Volatile World: How Public Policy Can Inform Your Investments

Presented by

Anthony Scaramucci, Founder & Co-Managing Partner, Skybridge Capital, LLC

  • Pension Outlook: The State of the U.S.Retirement System
  • New Styles and Strategies for Investing
  • Asset Allocation best Practices
  • Ongoing Education for Plan Fiduciaries and Participants
  • Challenges facing Public Pension Plans
  • Risk Management
  • Manager Selection
  • Equity Investing
  • Securities Lending
  • Hedge Funds
  • Private Equity/Venture Capital
  • Real Estate
  • Real Assets – precious metals, timber, infrastructure, agriculture, managed futures, etc.
  • Emerging and Frontier Markets
  • Choosing the right advisor/consultant
  • …and many more!
  • Pension Rep – Trustee, Administrators, Commissioners, Staff
  • Consultants
  • Attorneys
  • Taft Hartley Reps – Trustee, Administrators, Commissioners, Staff
  • Accountants
  • Hedge Funds
  • Fund of Funds
  • Real Estate Managers
  • Equity Managers
  • Venture Capitalists
  • Private Equity
  • Insurance Companies
  • Benefit Companies
  • Public Service Administrative Providers

Manager vs. Investor Breakdown

    Investor Breakdown