The 2001 Alternative Investment Conference
IN PRINT ARCHIVE CIR Spring 2002
|In search of alpha:|
|The pension management industry is evolving at a rapid pace - faced with diminishing returns and higher volatility in global equity markets, plan sponsors are searching for ways to maximize alpha.|
|The First Annual Alternative Investment Conference|
At our first ever Alternative Investment Conference in November 2001, leading members of the plan sponsor, academic, custodial and money management communities gathered to explore alternatives to traditional investments such as equities and fixed income products. Working with our academic partner, the Richard Ivy School of Business, The University of Western Ontario, we covered a wide range of investment alternatives - from absolute return strategies to private equity to commodities.
This year's conference raised key questions about alternative investments and their role in an institutional portfolio - Do alternative investments constitute an asset class? What types of investments are considered "alternative"? What benchmarks can be used to track their performance? And, importantly, what role should these investments play in a pension fund portfolio?
The search for new sources of alpha requires a unique set of risk management protocols - that was the message given to us by Andrew Lo, our keynote speaker from The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). His groundbreaking work on "Risk Management for Hedge Funds" looks at alternative investments from the differing perspectives of both hedge fund managers and plan sponsors - and, as Lo points out, the gap between them is significant. The conference coverage that follows here takes you through the two-day conversation that took place in Niagara-on-the-Lake - it is filled with questions, but it provides some key signposts for a new and evolving investment landscape. -- Caroline Cakebread