The NASP Institute 2018

THE NASP INSTITUTE (TNI) – Monday June 4, 2018 
The NASP Institute is a robust educational forum exclusively for members of the pension plan, foundation, and  endowment community. The specific courses are designed to serve a wide range of skill levels and are in an  instructional style format. 

Incorporating ESG into the Investment Decision Making Process  
ESG is transitioning from solely being a feel-good topic to a paradigm that allows us to better understand the risks and opportunities that are presented across the investment universe.  For example, some asset owners may have a social agenda they’re seeking to accomplish while others view the evolution of energy production as an interesting investment opportunity.  We’ll detail key trends in ESG and how are these factors can be used to make investment decisions and for risk management.  
 
Using Factors to Make Asset Allocation and Manager Selection Decisions  
The quality of investment program or portfolio has historically been assessed based solely on performance.  However, continuous technological development across the investment industry has given us the ability to better understand the true drivers of return and risk that are embedded in an investor’s asset allocation and contained within an individual strategy by decomposing these exposures to the factor level.  Our instructors will provide an overview of factors, why they’re important and how asset owners can use factors to make optimal investment decisions. 
 
Active vs. Passive – Room for Both?  
Given the bull market that continues to push equity markets higher, many active managers have found it challenging to keep up leading asset owners to move assets to passive exposures. But, as valuations creep higher globally and uncertainty about the path ahead heightens, index investors may be in for a bumpy ride.  In addition, many asset owners have high required rates of return but capital market assumptions are low so there’s a lower probability that market beta will provide the tailwind plan sponsors need to achieve their performance goals.  With this as background, our instructors will discuss the merits of active and passive investing, whether now is the time to re-allocate to active management and provide a framework for combining active and passive to achieve the best outcome at a reasonable level of fees. 

Seizing Fixed Income Opportunities  
With low expected returns and the possibility for increasing interest rates, plan sponsors need to find ways to make their fixed income allocations work harder without introducing unintended risk to their overall portfolio.  Even with tight spreads, the horizon seems to be more favorable for asset owners as dispersion across sectors increases.  This session will discuss how to be more flexible and opportunistic including considering niche sectors and absolute return FI. 

Constructing a Multi Asset Alternatives Portfolio  
With rich equity valuations, low interest rates, tight credit spreads and much uncertainty about the path ahead, investors are increasingly turning to alternatives to enhance returns, mitigate risk and provide diversification.  We’ll explore an asset allocation framework which asset owners should consider when allocating capital to non-traditional areas like hedge funds, private equity, real assets and liquid alternatives. 

Alternative Risk Premia: Is this Hedge Funds 3.0? 
Asset owners have sought ways to achieve hedge fund-like exposure but with better transparency, liquidity and lower fees.  Allocating to alternative risk premia is one path to consider.  We’ll discuss what alternative risk premia is, what it isn’t and how best to access this space.