Browsing: Allocating to A.I.

Allocating to A.I.

The Intelligent Use of Smart Beta     

May 25th, 2017 | Filed under: Allocating to A.I., Newly Added, Other Topics in A.I., Smart Beta

By Scott Opsal, The Leuthold Group Understanding Factor Returns And Market Conditions Quantitative investing has become an integral component of professional investment management, and smart beta funds have become popular vehicles for advisors as they assemble actively-managed client portfolios. Not only have quantitative firms grown in stature, but many fundamentalRead More


State Pensions and Complex Investments

May 14th, 2017 | Filed under: Allocating to A.I., Alpha & Beta, Institutional Asset Management, Institutional Investing, Newly Added

A recent report from the PEW charitable trusts discusses the degree to which the pension funds of the states of the United States are increasing their use of “complex investments.” It also speaks to the consequences of this move. The term “complex investments” is used here to describe any departureRead More


SWFs: Growth Slows but Continues

May 4th, 2017 | Filed under: Allocating to A.I., Institutional Asset Management, Institutional Investing, Newly Added

Preqin’s new Sovereign Wealth Fund Review makes the point that total assets under the management of SWFs continue to grow, but the rate of growth is notably slowing. This graph, measuring in US$ trillions, illustrates the growth trend since the financial crisis. Although the space grew by $.76 trillion betweenRead More


What makes a great Chief Investment Officer?

May 1st, 2017 | Filed under: Endowments & Foundations, Family Offices, Institutional Asset Management, Institutional Investing, Newly Added

By Charles Skorina All professional investors want to make money.  The question is, how and for whom? In the for-profit world of Wall Street asset managers and retail mutual funds, the differences among managers reflect investor appetites, time horizons and risk tolerances.  They must all serve their customers, or theRead More


Longevity Risk Transfer Markets: Limits to Growth

Apr 30th, 2017 | Filed under: Allocating to A.I., Finance & Economics, Financial Economics Theory, Institutional Asset Management, Institutional Investing, Newly Added

It was a fairly routine item about an accomplished executive changing jobs in the asset management industry, but it caught my eye. A March 2017 news item said that Andrew Reid, until recently the head of corporate pension origination at Deutsche Bank, had left that post to work with InsightRead More


Credit Suisse Finds that Institutions Remain Committed to Hedge Funds

Apr 11th, 2017 | Filed under: Allocating to A.I., Hedge Funds, Newly Added, Structure of the Hedge Funds Industry

A new Credit Suisse report about hedge fund investors’ appetites, titled “shifting tides,” comes to the somewhat re-assuring conclusion that, in some respects at least, the shift isn’t what one might fear. The report begins with the simple observation that 2016, a year that began with unexpected swings in manyRead More


A Look at Sustainable Investment around the World

Apr 6th, 2017 | Filed under: Allocating to A.I., Industry Size & Managers, Other Topics in A.I., SRI and Clean Energy

The Global Sustainable Investment Alliance, a collaboration of green investment-oriented entities, has released its latest Global Sustainable Investment Review, looking at the state of SRI investments. This is the third in a series of reports “presenting results from Europe, the United States, Canada, Asia, Japan, and Australia and New Zealand.”Read More


Some Granularity on the Mexican Pension Industry

Apr 4th, 2017 | Filed under: Allocating to A.I., Institutional Asset Management, Newly Added, Operationally Intensive Real Assets, Real Assets

BlackRock has published a research report about pension funds in Mexico, a report produced as part of its broader research project looking into the state of the pension fund industry around the globe.  It shows that the cause of alternatrive investments as a group is the cause of diversification forRead More


Sovereign Wealth Funds: Just Like You and Me?

Apr 2nd, 2017 | Filed under: Allocating to A.I., Institutional Asset Management, Institutional Investing, Newly Added

Sovereign wealth funds, however invulnerable and leviathan-like they may seem to outsiders, have the same concerns as other institutions in the current environment. On the one hand, bond yields remain at historic lows, with $13 trillion of fixed-income securities now commanding negative interest rates. On the other hand, the globalRead More


Survey Respondents: Market Volatility is the Gravest Threat Just Now

Mar 26th, 2017 | Filed under: Allocating to A.I., Alpha & Beta, Institutional Asset Management, Institutional Investing, Newly Added

Natixis Global Asset Management is out with its annual survey of institutional investors and their views about alternative investors. The survey included institutions around the world and of many distinct classes: corporate and public pension funds, insurance funds, sovereign wealth funds, endowments/foundations, managing amongst them $15.5 trillion. The break-down ofRead More


Foundation CIOs and the American Dream: A Conversation With Carnegie’s Kim Lew

Mar 22nd, 2017 | Filed under: Endowments & Foundations, Institutional Asset Management, Institutional Investing, Newly Added

By Charles Skorina This month we focus on the venerable foundations of New York City and one of their most accomplished investment pros: Kim Y. Lew, chief investment officer of the Carnegie Corporation. We have an in-depth conversation with Ms. Lew on her career in foundation investing and the future of womenRead More


Factor Investing And The Importance Of Market Cycles

Mar 15th, 2017 | Filed under: Allocating to A.I., ETFs, Newly Added, Other Topics in A.I., Smart Beta

By Scott Opsal, CFA Director of Equities, The Leuthold Group The widespread popularity of smart beta ETFs demonstrates that factor-based investing has advanced from the province of academia to rank among the most popular investment strategies for institutional and retail investors. Originally of interest to researchers looking to test, andRead More


BlackRock: Smart Beta Strategies Have Room for Growth

Mar 5th, 2017 | Filed under: Allocating to A.I., Alpha & Beta, ETFs, Liquid Alternative Investiments, Liquid Alts, Newly Added, Other Topics in A.I., Smart Beta

A recent Columbia Business School research paper looks into the transaction costs associated with smart beta strategies in order to estimate the capacity of each strategy. The three authors of the report are all affiliated with asset manager BlackRock Inc. They are: Ronald Ratcliffe, Paolo Miranda, and Andrew Ang. RatcliffeRead More


The Principal-Agent Problem and Smart Beta

Mar 2nd, 2017 | Filed under: Allocating to A.I., Alpha & Beta, Institutional Asset Management, Newly Added

Economists  devote a good deal of attention to what they call the “principal-agent problem,” defined to include the whole nest of conflicts of interest and moral hazards that arise when one party agrees to work for and make decisions on behalf of another, especially when the goal is to  optimizeRead More


Why Do Alpha Seekers Find It In the Small Caps?

Feb 21st, 2017 | Filed under: Allocating to A.I., Alpha & Beta, Finance & Economics, Financial Economics Theory, Newly Added

The median performance of active fund managers with a small-cap mandate is uniformly better than the performance of their colleagues with a large cap mandate against their respective benchmarks. Fewer than 40% of large-cap managers outperform U.S. large-cap equity. More than 60% of their small-cap counterparts do so. The patternRead More


A conversation with UTIMCO’s Bruce Zimmerman

Feb 13th, 2017 | Filed under: Endowments & Foundations, Institutional Asset Management, Institutional Investing, Newly Added

By Charles Skorina Bruce Zimmerman joined UTIMCO as Chief Executive Officer and chief investment officer in June of 2007, six months before the official start of the “great recession” in December 2007 (US National Bureau of Economic Research).But despite a 13% drop in the endowment in UTIMCO’s 2009 fiscal yearRead More


DC Sponsors and PE General Partners: A Good Marriage?

Feb 7th, 2017 | Filed under: Allocating to A.I., Institutional Asset Management, Institutional Investing, Newly Added, Other Issues in Private Investments, Private Investments

The British Private Equity & Venture Capital Association, in a new paper, contends that private equity has a valuable part to play in the portfolios of defined contribution schemes, for the simple reason that the PE world offers high returns in an era of low interest rates. To make thatRead More


Texas Turmoil: UTIMCO picks a new path through a political minefield

Jan 30th, 2017 | Filed under: Allocating to A.I., Asset allocation, Asset Allocation Models, Endowments & Foundations, Institutional Asset Management, Institutional Investing, Newly Added

By Charles Skorina Endowment returns took a beating last year and the turnover in chief investment officers tells the tale. Among the big names to make an exit in 2016 was Bruce Zimmerman, longtime CEO of The University of Texas Investment Management Company (UTIMCO). We wrote about endowment turnover in ourRead More


Pension Institute on the Herding Tendency of Pensions as Investors

Jan 29th, 2017 | Filed under: Allocating to A.I., Asset allocation, Asset Allocation Models, Institutional Asset Management, Institutional Investing, Newly Added

A new paper by the Pension Institute looks at the investing behavior of UK defined-benefit plans over the past 25 years, and finds a degree of correlation that should be worrisome to plan sponsors. The sponsors might want to design an improved incentive structure “that can better motivate pension fundsRead More


Big Data is Old Hat: Machine Learning is Hot

Jan 26th, 2017 | Filed under: Algorithmic and high-frequency trading, Allocating to A.I., Benchmarking & Performance Attribution, Business News, Finance & Economics, Newly Added

A year ago, in a report on Big Data and investment management, Citi Business Advisory Services predicted that “with the improved volume, velocity and variety of data inherent in the big data approach, the innovation seen in systematic trading models over the past decade could accelerate.” One of the platformsRead More


Hedge Fund Performance: A Multi-Factor Model

Jan 22nd, 2017 | Filed under: Allocating to A.I., Benchmarking & Performance Attribution, Hedge Funds, Newly Added

Dimitrios Stafylas, of Aston University, Aston Business School, in Birmingham, England, has proposed a “holistic” model of hedge fund performance attribution with three key features: Irrespective of underlying fundamentals, it is only during good times that hedge funds as a class deliver significant excess return to their investors; Also duringRead More


Cash Management Strategies for Private Equity

Jan 10th, 2017 | Filed under: Allocating to A.I., Asset allocation, Asset Allocation Models, Newly Added, Other Issues in Private Investments, Private Equity, Private Investments

Private equity investors have a distinctive cash management question: what do they do with the money that has yet to be drawn or called? Keeping cash in pillow cases is, here as always, less than the optimal solution. One of the defining features of a PE firm is that anRead More


Another Take on ‘A Modest Proposal’

Jan 9th, 2017 | Filed under: Allocating to A.I., Asset allocation, Hedge Funds, Newly Added

By Diane Harrison Jonathan Swift, one of the great satirists of all time, published a disturbing and provocative essay, ‘A Modest Proposal,’ in 1729 suggesting a unique and terrible solution to Ireland’s famine crisis. In his piece, Swift recommended cannibalism as a wholesale solution to Ireland’s struggles with overpopulation, starvation,Read More


OECD Report on Insurer Portfolio Investment Strategies

Jan 8th, 2017 | Filed under: Allocating to A.I., Asset allocation, Asset Allocation Models, Institutional Asset Management, Newly Added

A paper by Helmut Gründl and two associates, discussed at the June 2016 meeting of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and published “on the responsibility of the Secretary-General” thereof, proposes that the regulators of insurers active in the various member countries should see their role not as theRead More


PGIM:  Not All Alternatives Are Alike

Jan 2nd, 2017 | Filed under: Allocating to A.I., Alpha & Beta, Asset Allocation Models, Institutional Asset Management, Institutional Investing, Newly Added

A new report from PGIM Institutional Advisory looks at an old question: what role should alternative investments play within the portfolio allocation decisions of institutions? The question is especially pressing at the beginning of 2017 because US broad equity indexes have done quite well for years, ever since the marketsRead More


Natixis asks 500 institutional investors to look into the future

Dec 20th, 2016 | Filed under: Allocating to A.I., Emerging markets, Finance & Economics, High-net-worth investors, Institutional Asset Management, Newly Added, The Global Economy & Currencies

Natixis Global Asset Management has released the results of a survey of 500 institutional investors, asking them their views on prospects for 2017. The surveyed institutions expect that political and economic developments could cause an increase in volatility in the year to come, and active managers have to reset theirRead More


AIMA and KPMG on Managed Accounts

Dec 15th, 2016 | Filed under: Allocating to A.I., Institutional Asset Management, Newly Added

AIMA’s new managed accounts guide tells us that an investment manager considering the use of managed accounts should consider certain disadvantages that come with this product, and may want to negotiate around these difficulties with investors. For smaller investment managers in particular, the increased regulatory and operational requirements can beRead More


Private Equity Placements in China

Dec 8th, 2016 | Filed under: Allocating to A.I., Benchmarking & Performance Attribution, Currencies, Emerging markets, Newly Added, Private Equity, Private Investments, The Global Economy & Currencies

A new paper by G. Nathan Dong and two other scholars investigates private equity placements in China and their consequences for the issuing firms. The study works from a natural experiment that resulted from regulations created by the PRC ten years ago. In 2006, the China Securities Regulatory Commission issuedRead More


Amy Falls: Meeting Harvard’s plan B

Dec 5th, 2016 | Filed under: Endowments & Foundations, Institutional Asset Management, Institutional Investing, Newly Added

In late July, Stephen Blyth stepped down as head of Harvard Management Company; then things happened fast. By mid-September, a hire seemed imminent and HMC was said to have winnowed the field down to just two: Narv Narvekar of Columbia and Amy C. Falls of Rockefeller University. Mr. Narvekar, whoRead More


Global Pension Funds: Process and Best Practices

Dec 4th, 2016 | Filed under: Allocating to A.I., Asset allocation, Asset Allocation Models, Newly Added

A new white paper from PwC, sponsored by AMAFORES, La Asociación Mexicana de Administradoras de Fondos para el Retiro (The Mexican Association of Retirement Fund Administrators) , looks at the best practices for the pension fund industry in the wake of the global financial crisis of less than a decadeRead More


PE Buyout Funds: Finding or Building a Proxy

Nov 17th, 2016 | Filed under: Allocating to A.I., Asset allocation, Asset Allocation Models, Newly Added, Other Issues in Private Investments, Private Investments

Alexandre Coupe, associate director, Pacific  Alternative Asset Management Company, head of PAAMCO’s asset allocation research, and formerly of Green Street Advisors, has written a fascinating review of private equity funds. She looks at what proxies work (and which don’t work) in assisting portfolio managers who have to make asset allocationRead More


Energy Infrastructure: The Midstream Sector

Nov 10th, 2016 | Filed under: Allocating to A.I., Endowments & Foundations, Institutional Asset Management, Newly Added, Regulatory Environment, The A.I. Industry

Is it a stream or is it a sea? They seem to have gotten their hydrological imagery mixed up. But no, the “sea” in question is a literal sea, though the “stream” in question is a mere bit of imagery, so clichéd as such that no one sees it asRead More


Pension Funds, Hedge Funds, and Allocations

Nov 8th, 2016 | Filed under: Allocating to A.I., Alpha & Beta, Institutional Asset Management, Institutional Investing, Newly Added

A new scholarly paper addresses the puzzle: which institutional investors are best informed? Zhe Chen, of the University of New South Wales, David Forsberg, Macquarie Graduate School of Management, and David R. Gallagher, UNSW Australia Business School,  compare hedge funds, mutual funds, pension funds, and private banking firms to determineRead More


Outsourced CIO assets grow to $1.3 Trillion

Nov 7th, 2016 | Filed under: Consultants, Institutional Asset Management, Newly Added, The A.I. Industry

By Charles Skorina With 74 firms reporting in, total outsourced CIO assets (managed with full discretion) have grown by $240 billion to $1.367 trillion since we published our last list in 2014.  That’s an increase of over 19 percent in two years, implying an annual growth rate of about 9Read More


Judge Rose: Libya’s SWF Heads Knew What They Were Doing

Nov 1st, 2016 | Filed under: Allocating to A.I., Institutional Asset Management, Institutional Investing, Legislation/Court rulings, Newly Added, Regulatory Environment, The A.I. Industry

The economic historians of posterity have their work cut out for them here. There are doctoral dissertations in the works already, no doubt. And in time several scholarly careers will hang on this.   Those scholars will have to make sense of the political developments in late-Qaddafi Libya, of the roleRead More


Eurekahedge: Exodus from the Event-Driven Funds YTD  

Oct 23rd, 2016 | Filed under: Allocating to A.I., Commodities, Equity Hedge Funds, Event-Driven Hedge Funds, Hedge Funds, Newly Added, Relative Value Hedge Funds

The event-driven hedge fund space is the most troubled in a generally troubled time for the industry. According to the new Eurekahedge report, the event-driven strategy “has seen US$14 billion investor redemptions over the past nine months,” and $10.7 billion over just the past six months. The first nine monthsRead More


BLEAK HOUSE–OR THE OUTLOOK ON HEDGE FUNDS NOW

Oct 19th, 2016 | Filed under: Allocating to A.I., Endowments & Foundations, Family Offices, Hedge Fund Industry Trends, Hedge Funds, High-net-worth investors, Institutional Asset Management, Institutional Investing, Investor Relations, Newly Added, Sales & Marketing in the AI Industry

By Diane Harrison Charles Dickens’ Bleak House spins a tale of mystery, intrigue, family dynamics, and irony in the Victorian age that had readers gripped by its indictment of the English court system. While the novel is packed with intricate plot twists and turns, the main story line centers onRead More


Islam, Western Pensions, and Real Assets

Oct 18th, 2016 | Filed under: Allocating to A.I., Institutional Asset Management, Institutional Investing, Intellectual Property, Natural Resources and Land, Newly Added, Operationally Intensive Real Assets, Real Assets

A recent academic discussion of the much-vexed question of Islamic finance (including the always at least implicit query, how does it fit into the broader usually non-Islamic global picture?) focuses on the role in Islam of real assets, understood as tangible objects such as land, buildings, machinery, and commodities. TheRead More


Harvard gives Narv the nod

Oct 17th, 2016 | Filed under: Academic Foundations, Endowments & Foundations, Institutional Asset Management, Institutional Investing, Newly Added, Personalities in AI, Who's Who

By Charles Skorina As all the world now knows, Harvard has selected Columbia’s Nirmal P. “Narv” Narvekar as the new head of Harvard Management Company. His name had been bandied about as a prime candidate for weeks.  We discussed it ourselves in our Aug. 29 newsletter. Reportedly, a few big-endowment CIOsRead More


From UMIFA to UPMIFA: Taking Stock 10 Years Later

Sep 29th, 2016 | Filed under: Endowments & Foundations, Institutional Asset Management, Newly Added

Ten years ago, thus before the global financial crisis, the Uniform Law Commission promulgated the Uniform Prudent Management of Institutional Funds Act (UPMIFA), a successor to an earlier uniform act, the UMIFA. One of the big changes from UMIFA to UPMIFA was the elimination of the concept of “historic dollarRead More


The Harvard Management Company to Big to Hail?

Sep 28th, 2016 | Filed under: Allocating to A.I., Endowments & Foundations, Institutional Asset Management, Institutional Investing, Newly Added

In asset management, as in other endeavors, size really does matter. Bigger is better.  But growth in AUM drives growth in headcount and complexity; and that can overwhelm existing structures and challenge management. A few weeks ago in “Crunch Time for the Harvard Endowment” we referred to HMC’s hunt for aRead More


Northill: In Defense of Active Management

Aug 27th, 2016 | Filed under: Allocating to A.I., Alpha & Beta, Benchmarking & Performance Attribution, Newly Added, Performance, Analytics & Metrics

Northill Capital, a London-based asset manager, has released a report defending active asset management from the common charge that it cannot, after costs, beat the passive managers. That is an old and familiar subject for debate. What cannot be debated, because it is a simple matter of definition and arithmetic,Read More


Sovereign Credit Swaps: Europe’s Sovereigns and Regime Changes

Aug 16th, 2016 | Filed under: Allocating to A.I., Asset allocation, Asset Allocation Models, Credit Derivatives, Newly Added, Regulatory Environment, Structured Credit Products, Structured Products, The A.I. Industry

Andrea Consiglio and two of his colleagues have developed models for the management of risk in the sovereign credit swaps market, and they have successfully back tested these models against recent European history. Consiglio is a professor at the University of Palermo, in Italy. Sovereign CDS’ are contracts that offerRead More


Crunch Time for the Harvard Endowment

Aug 14th, 2016 | Filed under: Endowments & Foundations, Institutional Asset Management, Institutional Investing, Newly Added, Personalities in AI

By Charles Skorina The hunt is underway for a new CEO at the Harvard Management Company.  And chairman Paul Finnegan and his board intend to get it right this time. Counting interims, they’ve now had six CEOs at their shop since Jack Meyer departed in 2005, and mostly mediocre returns to show for it. AfterRead More


New Paper Tackles Basic Questions About Alternative Investments

Aug 11th, 2016 | Filed under: Allocating to A.I., Alternative Investments in Context, Asset allocation, Asset Allocation Models, Newly Added, The A.I. Industry

RCM Alternatives, a Chicago-based asset manager specializing in managed futures products, has published a new white paper asking the naive-seeming question, “Why Alternatives?” The paper begins with the observation that many alternative investors look to this field for an answer to a specific problem:  hedging the long position in equitiesRead More


Active vs. Passive: A 3-Club Headwind

Aug 10th, 2016 | Filed under: Allocating to A.I., Alpha & Beta, Benchmarking & Performance Attribution, Newly Added, The A.I. Industry

By Scott Opsal Relative Performance Actively managed funds have recently underperformed passive indexes. As a result, fund inflows and deposits have favored passive funds. Active Vs. Passive Return Patterns Are Cyclical Our research suggests relative returns between active and passive are cyclical, depending on the market environment. We examine severalRead More


Study Says Pensions May Be Looking for Returns in the Wrong Places

Aug 7th, 2016 | Filed under: Allocating to A.I., Alpha & Beta, Newly Added, Private Investments, Real Estate Equity Investments

Alex Beath, senior research analyst at CEM Benchmarking, the Toronto-based pension research firm, has produced a white paper on the pension fund performance in the U.S. since 1998, and the news he brings is not good (for pension funds themselves, or for the hedge funds to which they have allocatedRead More


The Harvard Management Co.: Time for some creative destruction?

Jul 18th, 2016 | Filed under: Endowments & Foundations, Institutional Asset Management, Institutional Investing, Newly Added

By Charles Skorina It’s been 10 years now since Jack Meyer stepped down as head of Harvard Management Company, while David Swensen – now in his 31st year – has carried on at the Yale Investment Office. Each endowment has pursued its own distinctive management model: HMC with its “hybrid” internal/external approach,Read More


ESG Issues: The Material and the Immaterial

Jul 12th, 2016 | Filed under: Allocating to A.I., Alternative energy, Benchmarking & Performance Attribution, Newly Added, Other Topics in A.I., Socially responsible investing, SRI and Clean Energy

Activists pressing for corporate change on environmental, social, and governance issues often focus on issues that are, from the point of view of firm valuation, immaterial. Three scholars associated with the Harvard Business School recently quantified the materiality versus immateriality of shareholder proposals on ESG topics and discussed some ofRead More


Managing Expectations: The Rise of the Separately Managed Account

Jul 11th, 2016 | Filed under: Family Offices, Hedge Fund Industry Trends, High-net-worth investors, Newly Added, Sales & Marketing in the AI Industry, Structure of the Hedge Funds Industry

By Diane Harrison The line between wealth management and fund management continues to blur for the alternative asset managers who serve the high-net-worth investor community. Driven by a growing desire on the part of these investors to maximize control over their investment portfolio, managers who are emerging or who operateRead More