Institutional Investing

The Skorina Report: PIMCO’s Heir-apparent goes missing

Apr 10th, 2014 | Filed under: Asset allocation, Guest Posts, Institutional Investing, The Skorina Report, Today's Post

Charles Skorina looks at the implications of El-Erian "disappearing" from PIMCO.


Tell Me I’m Reading this Wrong: ‘Mobilize more personal pension savings for…’ Financing?

Feb 19th, 2014 | Filed under: Insolvency, Institutional Investing, Regulatory, Today's Post

Unless Reuters has been utterly misled, a recent report there suggests that Europe's greybeards are considering an astonishingly bad approach to the insolvency of their banking system: soak the pensioners.


Controlling your Inner Lobster: Climate Investment Update

Feb 11th, 2014 | Filed under: Conference report, Institutional Investing, Social investing, Today's Post

Roving columnist at-large Douglas Friedenberg reports on the Investor Summit on Climate Risk, NYC.


Deloitte to Hedge Funds: Emulate the Agility of a Skier

Feb 10th, 2014 | Filed under: Alpha Strategies, Alternative Mutual Funds, Hedge Fund Industry Trends, Hedge Fund Strategies, Institutional Investing, Performance, Analytics & Metrics, Risk management, Today's Post

Deloitte's pie graphs emphasize the degree to which both hedge funds and PE vehicles have become dependent upon institutions in general, and detached from the retail market. But Deloitte says that 2014 "will likely see additional efforts by alternative fund managers to engage the retail investor base by taking their alternative investment strategies mainstream."


The Skorina Report: The Ivy Leagues Prove Allocation Isn’t Destiny

Feb 6th, 2014 | Filed under: Alpha Hunters, Guest Posts, Institutional Investing, The Skorina Report, Today's Post

The Skorina Report looks at the returns of the Ivy Leagues, which show allocation is not destiny.


NCSE Data: Endowments Sticking with the Endowment Model

Jan 29th, 2014 | Filed under: Alpha Strategies, Endowments & Foundations, Institutional Investing, Today's Post

Higher-education endowments are sticking with the “endowment model,” that is, their asset allocations remain stable. For example, in 2012, the surveyed institutions had 15% of their total AUM in domestic equities, 16% in international equities. In 2013, those figures were only slightly higher, 16% and 18% respectively.


Women Running a Marathon Toward Alternatives

Jan 26th, 2014 | Filed under: Alpha Hunters, Alpha Seekers, Alpha Strategies, Hedge Fund Industry Trends, Institutional Investing, Today's Post

The latest in a series of annual reports from Rothstein Kass on women in the alternatives world adopts a somewhat less cheery tone than did that of last year. No longer is the dominant metaphor a "tipping point." Now it's a marathon.


AlphaMetrix: We did nothing wrong!

Jan 22nd, 2014 | Filed under: Commodities, CTA, Insolvency, Institutional Investing, Legislation/Court rulings, Retail Investing, Today's Post

In 2010 AlphaMetrix held a conference in Miami with Harry Markopolos as the keynote speaker. Markopolos' claim to fame is that he told the regulators about Madoff''s Ponzi Scheme, but his words fell on deaf ears. In 2013 AlphaMetrix, which claimed to the be the transparent antidote to Madoff stood accused by the CFTC of moving money in ways it ought not and in 2014, the principals of the firm are asking for a jury trial. It is indeed a tangled web and it is unlikely to be un-weaved any time soon.


10 Top Hedge Fund Industry Trends for 2014

Jan 6th, 2014 | Filed under: Alpha Seekers, Alpha Strategies, Hedge Fund Industry Trends, Hedge Fund Strategies, High-net-worth investors, Institutional Investing, Today's Post

Guest columnist Don Steinbrugge provides his thoughts on what the coming year will bring for hedge funds.


Cerulli on the Zombie Apocalypse in China

Dec 22nd, 2013 | Filed under: Emerging markets, Institutional Investing, Today's Post

The numbers of undead mutual funds in China has created a sharp disparity between the fund count and the AUM count. Since no one ever drops out, the fund count only goes up.


Consultants: Clients Want to Learn About LDI

Dec 5th, 2013 | Filed under: Institutional Investing, Liability Driven Investing, Socially responsible investing, Today's Post

For pension managers these days, decision making is about managing a glide path that doesn't become a fiery crash. In appealing to such clients, consultants shouldn't think of themselves as sales people selling particular products in separate boxes.


Mapping Investor Behavior

Nov 21st, 2013 | Filed under: Alpha Strategies, Behavioral finance, Institutional Investing, Retail Investing, Risk management, Today's Post

Guest columnists from Tesseract Asset Management look at investor behavior and risk management.


NCSE Data: Alternatives Falling Out of Fashion

Nov 17th, 2013 | Filed under: Endowments & Foundations, Institutional Investing, Today's Post

NACUBO President and CEO John D. Walda and his Commonfund Institute counterpart John S. Griswold said in a statement, “the data concerning alternative strategies will bear watching as more colleges and universities report their FY2013 results.”


The Market’s Celestial Navigation Sextant: Five Primary Factors Every Investor Needs To Know

Nov 7th, 2013 | Filed under: Institutional Investing, Retail Investing, Risk management, Today's Post

Guest columnist firm Tesseract on charting proper risk management in rapidly changing seas.


Forum Selection Bylaws Dispute in Delaware: To Fight Another Day?

Nov 5th, 2013 | Filed under: Institutional Investing, Legislation/Court rulings, Today's Post

Two institutional investors challenged the legality of a forum selection bylaw favoring the management of Chevron Corp. They have lost this battle in the Delaware courts. How significant is that loss?


Cerulli on Managers Who Are ‘Very Relevant to a Few’

Oct 22nd, 2013 | Filed under: Institutional Investing, Today's Post

Numbers indicate that specialist advisory firms manage nearly twice as many assets as the industry average. As Cerulli Associates observes in a recent issue of The Cerulli Edge, this "validates the strategy."


Institutional Market to Increase By 30%: How to Play That

Oct 20th, 2013 | Filed under: Alpha Strategies, Institutional Investing, Today's Post

The hedge portion of a liability-driven portfolio can be dominated by long-duration fixed income instruments. One of the points of a new Cerulli report is that by offering those, asset managers can get a valuable 'in' with the sponsors of DB plans, to whom LDI appeals.


Much ado about nothing..in other words, the JOBS Act is finally here

Oct 13th, 2013 | Filed under: Hedge Fund Industry Trends, Institutional Investing, Regulatory, Retail Investing, Timely Research, Today's Post

Guest columnist Diane Harrison looks at the U.S. JOBS Act for what it is...and isn't.


Clear Correlations Getting Blurry: News From Foundations

Oct 3rd, 2013 | Filed under: Alpha Seekers, Alpha Strategies, Institutional Investing, Private Equity, Today's Post

Comparing the 2011 and 2012 data, some correlations that seemed clear in the former year either disappeared entirely, or become a good deal blurrier, in the 2012 data.


Beyond Becalmed Swensen: The Next Generation Model

Sep 30th, 2013 | Filed under: Alpha Strategies, Institutional Investing, Today's Post

The David Swensen inspired "Endowment Model" came under heavy criticism in 2009-10. More recently, opinion has mellowed, and now comes a project, the Portfolio Whiteboard Project, in which the participants view Swensen in a spirit as collegial as it is critical.


Social Media Strategy & the Ultra-High-Net-Worth Market

Sep 22nd, 2013 | Filed under: High-net-worth investors, Institutional Investing, Today's Post

Guest columnist David Friedman looks at social media as a strategy for reaching the ultra-high-net-worth market.


The Risk-On, Risk-Off Teeter-Totter: How Managers Adapt

Sep 17th, 2013 | Filed under: Hedge Fund Industry Trends, Institutional Investing, Today's Post

Cerulli reminds us that risk-on/risk-off environments now alternate with dizzying speed. Even within the course of 2013 there has been a swing from cautious optimism to just-plain cautious.


SEI: How PE Firms Can Draw Out That Dry Powder

Sep 12th, 2013 | Filed under: Institutional Investing, Private Equity, Today's Post

All that dry powder on the sidelines means good news and bad for PE GPs: first, that there is room for a lot of new demand for their services (the good news); second, that investors remain hesitant – they have deliberately kept that powder in the horn and many will likely continue to do so (the bad news).


Surfing the sustainable investing L-curve: A noble way to lose money?

Aug 26th, 2013 | Filed under: Institutional Investing, Socially responsible investing, The Skorina Report, Today's Post

Guest columnist Charles Skorina looks at sustainable investing and asks the question: Is it sustainable?


Cautious Commonfund White Paper Defends Hedge Fund Role

Aug 22nd, 2013 | Filed under: Hedge Fund Industry Trends, Institutional Investing, Today's Post

Commonfund doesn't seem to have its heart in the project of defending hedge funds specifically as winners of alpha. Rather, its new white paper offers other, non-alpha, defense of the hedge fund as an institution.


After the Bottom Fell Out of Copper: A Private Equity Story

Aug 21st, 2013 | Filed under: Commodities, Institutional Investing, Private Equity, Today's Post

An opinion by Chief Judge Lynch, of the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals, should have private equity managers in that Circuit reviewing their portfolios, and thinking in a more expansive way about their potential ERISA liabilities for companies they control.


The Skorina Report: Fees vs. performance: Jeff Hooke tilts at the public pension windmill

Aug 18th, 2013 | Filed under: Institutional Investing, Investment Management Fees, The Skorina Report, Today's Post

Guest columnist Charles Skorina looks at pension funds and fees and finds....


The Case for Investing in Green-Field Projects

Aug 14th, 2013 | Filed under: Infrastructure, Institutional Investing, Today's Post

Pension fund managers and insurers have long been less than thrilled by the idea of risking their assets in long-term, illiquid, infrastructure projects. EDHEC-Risk makes the case that their wariness, though not irrational, may be excessive.


Overwhelmed Investment Committees’ Solution: Outsourcing

Aug 13th, 2013 | Filed under: Institutional Investing, Today's Post

A new white paper from the Commonfund Institute tells us that the growth of the Outsourced CIO model, especially for non-profits, is a consequence of the increasing complexity of the investment environment.


East Asian Chickens Come Home to Roost

Jul 17th, 2013 | Filed under: Institutional Investing, Liability Driven Investing, Today's Post

In east Asia, savings rates have long been high and constant, and cannot plausibly be expected to get much higher. Indeed, they may in certain respects be too high. Thus, progress in addressing the pension/demographic crunch has to come on the asset management side.


Christmas in Cambridge: HMC gives themselves a raise

Jun 20th, 2013 | Filed under: Institutional Investing, The Skorina Report, Today's Post

Charles Skorina looks at compensation at the big endowments.


Natixis on Investing by ‘Road Maps:’ Institutional Cartographic Confidence

Jun 16th, 2013 | Filed under: Alpha Seekers, Alpha Strategies, Asset allocation, Institutional Investing, Today's Post

Eighty-nine percent of the respondents in a newly released Natixis survey of institutions said they expect they will be able to meet their future obligations. But they aren't as optimistic about the fate of individuals in their own countries who are now trying to save for retirement.


How Hedge Funds Need to Adapt Part II

Apr 21st, 2013 | Filed under: Hedge Fund Industry Trends, Hedge Fund Operations and Risk Management, Hedge Fund Strategies, Institutional Investing, Performance, Analytics & Metrics, Today's Post

Part II of a new SEI report on hedge funds and adapting to survival.


US Debt Deadlock: A Big Fat Tail

Apr 8th, 2013 | Filed under: Institutional Investing, Today's Post

The respondents in the Commonfund survey have changed their view of the most pressing tail risks from last year to this. A year ago, 32 percent of the respondents saw an EU crisis as the most significant risk going forward. No longer.


Improving the Health of Healthcare Endowments

Feb 24th, 2013 | Filed under: Alpha Strategies, Asset allocation, Institutional Investing, Today's Post

The obvious reason for the allocation preferences of healthcare endowments is that they believe they need to remain very liquid. Jarvis, in this white paper, points out that the liquidity preference comes at a cost in performance.


Average hedge fund fee significantly lower than reported

Feb 14th, 2013 | Filed under: Hedge Fund Industry Trends, Institutional Investing, Today's Post

Guest columnist Don Steinbrugge looks at hedge fund fees.


Japan’s Largest Banks Invest in the Solar Industry, Expecting a Huge Boom in 2013

Feb 12th, 2013 | Filed under: Alternative energy investing, Institutional Investing, Timely Research, Today's Post

Charles Kennedy of Oilprice.com looks at how Japanese banks are investing in solar energy.


College Endowments: Bad News and a Slender Silver Lining

Feb 7th, 2013 | Filed under: Alpha Strategies, Institutional Investing, Today's Post

For the alternative-investment industry the takeaway from the NACUBO-Commonfund Study this year may be that there is a long-term trend among endowments toward increased allocations to alternative strategies, and that this trend continues. The overall such allocation increased by one percentage point from 2011 to 2012: to 54 percent.


Pensions: Public Choices and Investor Caution

Feb 5th, 2013 | Filed under: Institutional Investing, Regulatory, Today's Post

The great political problem (what economists these days call a 'public choice' problem) is that politicians worldwide have every incentive to defer or avoid decisions about pension reform, however urgent or necessary that reform. Investors should be aware, and be wary.


Investing in Britain’s Infrastructure: With and Without Guarantees

Jan 28th, 2013 | Filed under: Infrastructure, Institutional Investing, Today's Post

The bottom line of EDHEC's study is that there is no need to create new public sector liabilities to get private sector institutions to invest in infrastructure.


Women and Alternatives: A Long-Deferred Tipping Point

Jan 16th, 2013 | Filed under: Alpha Strategies, Hedge Fund Industry Trends, High-net-worth investors, Institutional Investing, Performance, Analytics & Metrics, Today's Post

If you are managing the portfolio of an institution that invests in hedge funds, you might want to ensure that some sizable portion of the HF-allocated assets go to funds managed by women-led firms. In this, you will have company.


Drucker: In search of responsibility

Jan 10th, 2013 | Filed under: Institutional Investing, The Skorina Report, Today's Post

Charles Skorina looks at the pension fund situation and what's changed over the years and what hasn't...


Funds of Hedge Funds May Be Down, But Don’t Count Them Out

Dec 6th, 2012 | Filed under: Alpha Strategies, Guest Posts, Hedge Fund Industry Trends, High-net-worth investors, Institutional Investing, Today's Post

Away from the bleak headlines, the funds of hedge funds industry is quietly reinventing itself.


Ernst & Young on Investor/Manager Splits

Nov 25th, 2012 | Filed under: Hedge Fund Industry Trends, Institutional Investing, Today's Post

Only a sliver of investors (2 percent) believe that regulation is effective in preventing the next crisis. Indeed, even the number of those who are neutral on that point is smallish, because a full 85 percent see regulations as ineffective for this purpose, though skepticism is not quite so intense on the matter of the value of regulations in protecting investor interests.


Investing in, Not Gambling Within, the Casino

Nov 20th, 2012 | Filed under: Hedge Fund Industry Trends, Hedge Fund Strategies, Institutional Investing, Timely Research, Today's Post

Ineichen, the author of AIMA's updated roadmap to hedge funds, addresses some of the hot-button issues of investor/management interaction, including fees, leverage, and style drift. Although investors are naturally inclined to see style drift as a bad thing, they should be cautious about demanding that managers stay within a tightly-defined core area of expertise.


Asset Management and the Future Global Pension Crisis

Nov 6th, 2012 | Filed under: Editorial, Institutional Investing, Today's Post

Shane Brett looks at the future of global pensions and what he sees isn't pretty.


Preliminary Data: Endowments Losing Money on Portfolios

Nov 5th, 2012 | Filed under: Institutional Investing, Today's Post

Among the endowments for institutions of higher learning tracked by NACUBO-Commonfund, the allocation to alternative investments [defined to include hedge funds, private equity, global venture capital, and private equity real estate investments] has been on the rise for a decade now, especially among the larger cohorts. The preliminary data for 2012 indicates that this trend continues. It also indicates that these endowments on average are losing money on their portfolios.


The Skorina Report: Corporate pension performance: Some great investors no one noticed…and some surprising losers

Oct 25th, 2012 | Filed under: Institutional Investing, Today's Post

Charles Skorina looks at corporate pension funds and finds....


Pension Reform: It’s Not Just About Delaying Retirement

Oct 16th, 2012 | Filed under: Institutional Investing, Today's Post

Recent suggested reforms in an EC white paper on pensions all sound reasonable enough, but they don't speak to the issue of the practices of pension fund managers. The demographic challenges in the Eurozone and the debate it has set off should surely call forth bigger Big Picture thinking than this.


The Politics of Alpha: Europe, China, and the U.S.

Oct 3rd, 2012 | Filed under: Alpha Strategies, Institutional Investing, Today's Post

Richard Weil, the CEO of Janus, offered introductory remarks for a panel discussion on the day of the first Presidential debate. “We’re more and more … disconcerted by messages we hear from the press” pressing politics – domestic and international – onto the attention of investors, asking: “what happens if Europe melts down” or if there is a hard landing in China, etc. The panel would discuss both of those issues. But the panelists' thoughts would keep returning to America.