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Guest Posts

Too Big Too Frail 

Apr 23rd, 2018 | Filed under: Newly Added, What about beta?

By Bill Kelly, CAIA CEO The most intractable challenges in society, and life, sometimes subsist in a state of duality. The size and scale of the downside are enormous and almost paralyzing if allowed into our daily psyche. Sometimes however, especially in life, we have finely tuned coping mechanisms that we allow in to keep these thoughts in check. This mental recalibration can be a good thing, especially when put intoRead More


in-i-fish-uh nt (adj.) 

Apr 16th, 2018 | Filed under: Newly Added, What about beta?

By Bill Kelly, CAIA CEO In the good old days of bound books, a dictionary and thesaurus were de rigueur desktop accessories, no matter your stock-in-trade. It is hard to argue with the modern-day convenience of a Siri or Alexa who can define that certain word, or produce the ideal synonym, on-demand. The over-50 crowd, however, might remember and even lament the lost art of searching for the meaning of a word; when found, it was often accompanied by a descriptive picture that rendered the defining words to follow almost superfluous. IfRead More


The Giraffe in The Coal Mine 

Apr 9th, 2018 | Filed under: Newly Added, What about beta?

By Bill Kelly, CAIA Association What’s a few dead canaries amongst friends, or maybe miners? Historically, it has meant a highly toxic atmosphere and a time to immediately retreat to safer ground. In the autumn of years since the GFC, the financial markets have witnessed plenty of canary-like warnings, but most have been shrugged off under the TTID and FOMO Twitter hashtags. Well, when the canary has ceded the early warningRead More


Egg Day Segue 

Apr 2nd, 2018 | Filed under: Newly Added, What about beta?

By Bill Kelly, CAIA CEO According to the Gregorian Calendar today is Easter Monday. It is a holiday in many countries around the world and even for the non-celebrants, visual cues abound. In many regions the universal symbol is the decorated egg. While Hallmark may have made this into anRead More


So Much March Madness

Mar 26th, 2018 | Filed under: Newly Added, What about beta?

By Bill Kelly, CEO, CAIA Association What can the NCAA basketball tournament tell you about your investment portfolio? As it turns out, quite a bit. For those of you who simply don’t care about the annual bracket ritual, it is quite easy to get you up to speed. The bottomRead More


Trust But Clarify

Mar 19th, 2018 | Filed under: Newly Added, What about beta?

By Bill Kelly, CAIA Association CEO What’s going on here? Wasn’t it just a few short weeks ago that the SEC came out with a self-reporting initiative aimed at advisors who essentially fail to disclose lower fee share classes to their client? This amnesty program was put into place toRead More


Irrational Dissonance

Mar 12th, 2018 | Filed under: Newly Added, What about beta?

By Bill Kelly, CEO, CAIA Association Friday was March 9 and not a lot of discussion was had about the infamy of this date going all the way back to 2009. For the few in the market who have maintained some level of perspective, analysis and a concept of whatRead More


The Year of the (Sleeping) Dog

Mar 5th, 2018 | Filed under: Newly Added, What about beta?

By Bill Kelly, CEO, CAIA Association Welcome to Washington Chairman Powell… All eyes were on his inaugural address to the House Financial Services Committee this week, followed by semiannual remarks to the Senate Banking Committee, and by most accounts he passed with flying colors. Much of the discussion could beRead More


A Rhetorical Oracle?

Feb 26th, 2018 | Filed under: Fees, Hedge Fund Industry Trends, Newly Added, Risk Metrics and Measurement, Structure of the Hedge Funds Industry, What about beta?

By Bill Kelly, CEO, CAIA Association Warren Buffett cashed out his bet and the final numbers are in courtesy of the Oracle’s annual shareholder letter. Unfortunately, the most important investment lessons have been completely lost, as the media and the investment sage have mostly used this as an opportunity toRead More


A Cautionary Tale

Feb 20th, 2018 | Filed under: Newly Added, Other Topics in A.I., What about beta?

By Bill Kelly, CAIA Association CEO Shadow or not, the groundhog brought volatility out of its burrow on February 2nd, and it is safe to say that it will persist for a lot longer than the six weeks of additional winter in the Northeast part of the USA.  Along withRead More


What about beta?

Feb 5th, 2018 | Filed under: Newly Added, What about beta?

By Bill Kelly, CAIA Association CEO As the 2018 calendar turned to February, the long-anticipated volatility came back with a vengeance, but why were so many, so surprised.  As long-term investors, I point out what might be the obvious.  The first fissures of this new normal arrived on Friday Feb 2Read More


Rukaiyah Adams, CIO Meyer Memorial Trust – doing good and investing well

Dec 26th, 2017 | Filed under: Endowments & Foundations, Institutional Asset Management, Institutional Investing, Newly Added, Personalities in AI, Practitioners, Who's Who

By Charles Skorina The $90 billion Oregon Pension ranks among the top 15 in the US, but how many in the industry know the current board chair, Ms. Rukaiyah Adams? Ms. Adams was born in Berkeley, CA, grew up in diverse, northeast Portland, and returned to her home city afterRead More


Endowment costs: The secret history

Nov 6th, 2017 | Filed under: Endowments & Foundations, Institutional Asset Management, Institutional Investing, Newly Added

By Charles Skorina In early 2016 certain Congressional committees sent letters to 65 major private universities asking for information about their endowments.  They supposedly had an urgent need for this data and gave the schools just 30 days to respond. It was worded as a polite request, but it cameRead More


Outsourced assets under management up 18% year-over-year

Oct 18th, 2017 | Filed under: Consultants, Endowments & Foundations, Institutional Asset Management, Institutional Investing, Newly Added

By Charles Skorina With 76 firms heard from, we’re now reporting $1.62 trillion in full-discretion assets under management by outsourced chief investment officer firms. That’s a year-over-year jump of $292 billion – or 18 percent – since September, 2016. The number of reported RFPs is also rising as institutions seek better returnsRead More


Below the Black: A Review of Risk Reduction Strategies

Sep 13th, 2017 | Filed under: Commodities, Commodities, Hedge Fund Strategies, Hedge Funds, Investing in Commodities, Macro and Managed Futures Funds, Newly Added, Risk management, Risk Management & Operations, Risk Management Strategies & Processes, Risk Metrics and Measurement

Excerpted from the Alternative Investment Analyst Review, Volume 1, Issue 4 The Alternative Investment Analyst Review is the official publication of the CAIA Association. Access to the most current issue is an exclusive benefit of CAIA Membership while archived issues are available to the public in the Perspectives section atRead More


Paying the Top Guns of Institutional Investing

Sep 11th, 2017 | Filed under: Endowments & Foundations, Institutional Asset Management, Institutional Investing, Newly Added, Personalities in AI

By Charles Skorina Last month in Part One of this report we focused on relative performance.  We ranked 107 CIOs by trailing 5-year returns. Now, we focus on how much institutions pay these excellent people. The bare comp numbers lead us to the tricky and perennial question of whether their payRead More


Can We All Participate in The Next Unicorn?

Aug 28th, 2017 | Filed under: Crowdfunding, Emerging Alternative Investments, Newly Added, Other Topics in A.I., Retail Investing, The A.I. Industry

Excerpted from the Alternative Investment Analyst Review, Volume 6, Issue 1 The Alternative Investment Analyst Review is the official publication of the CAIA Association. Access to the most current issue is an exclusive benefit of CAIA Membership while archived issues are available to the public in the Perspectives section atRead More


Risk Parity: Is it a Strategy for a Sprint or a Marathon?

Aug 20th, 2017 | Filed under: Newly Added, Risk Management Strategies & Processes

Excerpted from the Alternative Investment Analyst Review, Volume 1, Issue 4 The Alternative Investment Analyst Review is the official publication of the CAIA Association. Access to the most current issue is an exclusive benefit of CAIA membership, while archived issues are available to the public in the Perspectives section atRead More


A Simple Approach to the Management of Endowments

Aug 7th, 2017 | Filed under: Allocating to A.I., Asset allocation, Asset Allocation Models, Endowments & Foundations, Institutional Asset Management, Newly Added

By Hossein Kazemi & Kathryn Wilkens, CAIA Endowments and foundations are tax exempt and charitable organizations that rely on permanent pools of capital to fund their activities. These pools of capital are owned by institutions such as colleges, universities, hospitals, museums, scientific organizations, charitable entities, and religious institutions. When well-fundedRead More


An Alternative Approach to Responsible Investing

Jul 31st, 2017 | Filed under: Newly Added, Other Topics in A.I., Socially responsible investing, SRI and Clean Energy

On May 18, 2017, CAIA’s Boston Chapter held a panel discussion at the InterContinental Boston on “An Alternative Approach to Responsible Investing.” Moderated by Bill Kelly, CEO, CAIA Association, panelists included leading ESG investing experts Tim Brennan, Treasurer & CFO, Unitarian Universalist Association; Jeff Finkelman, CFA, Research Associate, Impact Investments,Read More


Brief Thoughts on the Impacts of Autonomous Learning Investment Strategies on Investment Management and Employment

Jul 21st, 2017 | Filed under: Newly Added, Other Topics in A.I.

By Michael Weinberg, CFA In our thought piece, “The Intelligent Investor in an Era of Autonomous Learning,” we explained why we believe the investment world will be transmogrified by Autonomous Learning Investment Strategies (ALIS).  In this brief follow-up, we will address a question that many of our investors and othersRead More


The 100+ Top Guns of Institutional Investing

Jul 12th, 2017 | Filed under: Endowments & Foundations, Institutional Asset Management, Institutional Investing, Newly Added, Personalities in AI, Who's Who

By Charles Skorina This letter looks at the most recent five-year performance of over one hundred of the world’s best institutional investors. Endowment chief investment officers have an infinite investment horizon, a global playing field, and can invest in anything anywhere – within the broad policy limits set by theirRead More


Leading the charge into OCIO battlespace: 2 Harvardians invent an industry

Jun 7th, 2017 | Filed under: Endowments & Foundations, Institutional Asset Management, Institutional Investing, Newly Added

By Charles Skorina In 1973, two former Harvard roommates and budding entrepreneurs – Jim Bailey and Hunter Lewis – took on an assignment to review the investments held in their school’s endowment. Things were very different back then.  A treasurer of the Harvard Corporation with the wonderfully Bostonian name ofRead More


The Intelligent Use of Smart Beta     

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

This is the first of a series of articles on 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 clientRead More


EMANCIPATION FROM PARTICIPATION

May 15th, 2017 | Filed under: Newly Added

By Diane Harrison The mindset of “I’m OK, you’re OK” endorsed by today’s progressive parents who aim to reward their ‘precious snowflake’ children for every endeavor regardless of outcome  is a dangerous one to contemplate in investment management. In contrast, meritocracy is alive and well in alternatives. There are mostRead 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


THE Q&A THAT’S DOA (A.K.A. DEAD ON ARRIVAL)

Apr 10th, 2017 | Filed under: Investor Relations, Newly Added, Sales & Marketing in the AI Industry

By Diane Harrison Few offenses are more aggravating to investors In the investor/manager communication process than being misled. Who hasn’t been subject to the frustration of trying to ascertain a clear answer from an alternatives manager about an issue germane to the investor’s ultimate decision to invest or not toRead 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


Commit to Quit: Habits for Successful Fund Managers

Mar 20th, 2017 | Filed under: Investor Relations, Newly Added, Sales & Marketing in the AI Industry

By Diane Harrison What habit is as old as time itself? It has to be making all kinds of ‘do-better’ resolutions at the beginning of the year, only to see them falter before the birds start building their nests each spring. NBC News ran an article online in January discussingRead 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


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


CHANGE MANAGEMENT FOR FUND MANAGERS

Feb 8th, 2017 | Filed under: Investor Relations, Newly Added, Sales & Marketing in the AI Industry

By Diane Harrison Looking to the past as a way to gauge the likely direction of the future is a popular exercise in the first quarter of every year. It’s a natural desire for people to want to improve on their personal and professional lives; taking stock of where theyRead 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


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


LAME DUCKS HEADED FOR A CHANGE

Dec 19th, 2016 | Filed under: Newly Added

By Diane Harrison As 2016 winds down, U.S. investors and voters alike have embraced the concept of change. While we may not know how this will manifest in 2017, the twin fates of government and investment are moving into this unknown together, although perhaps not unafraid. Lethargy, exhaustion, languor, fatigue…allRead 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


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


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


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


THE NLRB AND THE HEDGE FUND—MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING?

Oct 3rd, 2016 | Filed under: Newly Added, Regulatory, Regulatory Environment

By Mark D. Schorr, Of Counsel,Crow & Cushing Maybe you thought that employers whose employees are not organized in unions or which are not involved in traditional labor activities like strikes, lockouts and picketing are outside of the jurisdiction of the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”).  If you did, you wouldRead 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


ATTACK MARKETING USING THE RULE OF 150

Sep 19th, 2016 | Filed under: Investor Relations, Newly Added, Sales & Marketing in the AI Industry

By Diane Harrison The Rule of 150, first posited in the 1990s by British anthropologist Robin Dunbar, refers to the maximum number of people with whom any person can build meaningful relationships.  While there appears to be a spirited debate over the actual figure (100? 150? 250?), the general assumptionRead 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


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


5 Reasons Why Emerging Managers are Worth a Look

Aug 8th, 2016 | Filed under: Industry Size & Managers, Newly Added, Sales & Marketing in the AI Industry, Seeding/early-stage, Structure of the Hedge Funds Industry, The A.I. Industry

By Diane Harrison Beware the industry naysayers who proclaim hedge funds aren’t worth their salt–fees/risk/terms/etc. Sweeping generalizations may make good headlines, but they are invariably proven false by the minority that refutes them through action/statements/results/etc. Investors who take the time and effort to look under the ‘hedge fund hood’ canRead 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


All About Alpha: Dawn of a New Decade

Jul 4th, 2016 | Filed under: Industry Size & Managers, Newly Added

By Chris Holt Today marks the dawn of a second decade for this venerable blog.  AllAboutAlpha published its first article almost exactly 10 years ago today, on July 4, 2016.  Since then, this website has published an article a day for 2,600 consecutive business days.  That’s about 1.3 million wordsRead More


Welcome to Low-Return World: Will Chief Investment Officers and Trustees be ready?

Jun 22nd, 2016 | Filed under: Infrastructure, Institutional Asset Management, Institutional Investing, Newly Added, Operationally Intensive Real Assets

By Charles Skorina For executive recruiters like us, that’s a question we’ll have to wrestle with as we present candidates to the boards of institutional asset managers. Two of our investment-management village elders–Bill Gross and Burton Malkiel–say we’re staring down the barrel of a low-return decade.  They’ve been around for aRead More


The hedge fund fee structure consumes 80% of alpha

Jun 20th, 2016 | Filed under: Fees, Hedge Funds, Newly Added, Structure of the Hedge Funds Industry, The A.I. Industry

By Andrew Beer Investors bear the risks and managers reap the rewards. The average hedge fund earns 1.67 per cent in management fees and is paid 18 per cent of investment profits annually. Over the past ten years, investors paid away half of pre-fee returns. Even more troubling is theRead More


Foresight is Better than Hindsight

Jun 15th, 2016 | Filed under: Investor Relations, Newly Added, Sales & Marketing in the AI Industry

By Diane Harrison The Lake Wobegon Effect—where, according to its creator, Garrison Keillor, ‘all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average’—relates to the tendency to overestimate one’s achievements and capabilities in relation to others. Lake Wobegon seems to be aliveRead More