Opening Comments

Deepika Sharma, CFA, is a Portfolio Manager and Managing Director of Investments at Astor Investment Management LLC, a nearly $2bn quantitative global macro asset manager, which was previously a subsidiary of Knight Capital Group. As a member of the Investment Committee, she assists with the management of Astor’s multi-asset and global macro strategies and reports directly to the Chief Investment Officer. She previously worked on the Fixed Income Proprietary Trading Desk at Nomura, as well as in macro-strategy at Roubini Global Economics. Ms. Sharma began her career as an Analyst on the Structured Credit desk at Lehman Brothers. Ms. Sharma is an active volunteer at the New York Society of Security Analysts (NYSSA) and was recognized with the NYSSA Young Investment Professional Award 2015, Volunteer of the Year Award 2016 and the Asset Owner Series Award 2016. Ms. Sharma holds a Masters in International Finance at Columbia University, is a CFA charterholder and holds FINRA Series 3 and 65 licenses.

Moderator

Heather Davis is a senior managing director and the Chief Investment Officer of TIAA Global Real Assets for the TIAA organization. Ms. Davis is responsible for strategy, investment originations, portfolio management and board reporting for the organization’s investments in real assets and alternatives sectors including real estate, agriculture, timber, infrastructure and energy, private equity and private debt.

Most recently she was Chief Investment Officer of Private Markets Investments for TIAA. Prior to this position, she served as Head of Global Private Markets Investments and Head of Global Private Markets Portfolio Management where she oversaw the $40 billion global private markets portfolio which included private placements, private equity, distressed investments, commercial mortgages, natural resources and infrastructure investments. While at TIAA, she has been an investor in many sectors within the private asset classes. Ms. Davis joined the organization in 1995 and has 31 years of investment industry experience.

Prior to joining TIAA, Ms. Davis worked for Prudential Financial in a variety of roles including commercial mortgage origination, mortgage underwriting, portfolio management, and credit underwriting. In 2009, Ms. Davis created TIAA’s Fruits of Employment initiative, which employs people with autism and other disabilities on TIAA farms. The Fruits of Employment program has won numerous awards for its groundbreaking work in autism employment in the farming sector. In 2014, Ms. Davis received the Athena International award for Corporate Leadership. Ms. Davis serves on the boards of Westchester Global Investment Management, Radar Propriedades Agricolas, S.A., Churchill Asset Management, the John M. Belk Endowment and the Carolinas Chapter of Autism Speaks.

Ms. Davis holds a B.A. in economics from Cornell University and an M.B.A. in finance from Cornell University, Johnson School of Management. She serves on the Dean’s Advisory Council of the Cornell College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Panelists

Eric Kirsch joined Aflac in November 2011 as first senior vice president; global chief investment officer and was promoted to executive vice president in July 2012. In his role, he is responsible for overseeing the company’s investment efforts including Aflac’s investment portfolio and its investment team. Prior to joining Aflac, he served as managing director and global head of insurance asset management at Goldman Sachs Asset Management. Prior to that, he spent 27 combined years at Deutsche Asset Management (DeAM) and Bankers Trust Company, most recently serving as managing director and global head of insurance asset management. Prior to this, he served as managing director and head of North America Fixed Income. He also previously served as vice president and stable value portfolio manager at Bankers Trust Company. Eric received a bachelor of business administration from Baruch College in 1984, and a master of business administration degree from Pace University in 1988. He earned his CFA designation in 1990. Eric also serves as a trustee of the Jersey Shore University Medical Center Foundation and serves on the board for the Baruch College Fund.

Organizers

Sovereign Wealth & National Pensions Funds Bios

Deepika Sharma, CFA, is a Portfolio Manager and Managing Director of Investments at Astor Investment Management LLC, a nearly $2bn quantitative global macro asset manager, which was previously a subsidiary of Knight Capital Group. As a member of the Investment Committee, she assists with the management of Astor’s multi-asset and global macro strategies and reports directly to the Chief Investment Officer. She previously worked on the Fixed Income Proprietary Trading Desk at Nomura, as well as in macro-strategy at Roubini Global Economics. Ms. Sharma began her career as an Analyst on the Structured Credit desk at Lehman Brothers. Ms. Sharma is an active volunteer at the New York Society of Security Analysts (NYSSA) and was recognized with the NYSSA Young Investment Professional Award 2015, Volunteer of the Year Award 2016 and the Asset Owner Series Award 2016. Ms. Sharma holds a Masters in International Finance at Columbia University, is a CFA charterholder and holds FINRA Series 3 and 65 licenses.

Thomas Brigandi is an associate analyst in the Global Project and Infrastructure Finance Group at Moody's, where he covers public power, power generation projects, toll-roads, airports, ports, project finance and public-private partnerships, across the Americas. Brigandi also serves on Moody's public pension task force. In the past, Brigandi worked at the US$150 billion NYC Pension Fund, where he focused on the energy and natural resources sectors and reported directly to the chief investment officer. Brigandi, the New York Society of Security Analysts (NYSSA) 2015 Volunteer of the Year and 2013 Young Investment Professional Award recipient, has organized over 30 NYSSA conferences that were attended by over 5,000 investment professionals, in addition to over 200 speakers who collectively and directly oversee north of US$5 trillion. Additionally, while serving as the Vice President and Director of Global Volunteers of the American Foundation for African Children's Education, Brigandi was the lead organizer of the NASDAQ Closing Bell Ceremony on September 23, 2011, hosted for the President of Sierra Leone, Dr. Ernest Koroma. Brigandi has cultivated personal relationships with thousands of asset owner, buy-side & sell-side investment professionals globally and maintains over 7,000 connections ‎on LinkedIn.

Patrick Holert, CFA, CAIA, is vice president and research principal for BBVA Securities, where he oversees research compliance in the US, and research operations in the US, Latin America, and Europe. In the past, Holert lived in Asia for many years and has served as an equities analyst for Nomura Securities in Thailand and Korea, an investment manager for a frontier private equity fund covering the Mekong region, and a consultant on projects in the Middle East, India, and across Southeast Asia. He specialized in finance at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and has a BA in economics and mathematics from Claremont McKenna College. Holert is serving as Chairman Emeritus of the Global Investing Committee at NYSSA, and is on the Board of Directors at NYSSA.

Evelyn Yeow is a lead investment analyst covering China at John Hsu Capital Group, where she works directly with the Chief Investment Officer on China equity investing for the firm’s Dedicated China, Global, and International strategies.  Prior to her current position, she was a junior analyst with the firm where she was responsible for research, fund accounting, performance measurement and evaluation, and portfolio analytics.  She serves as the outreach coordinator of the Global Investing Committee at NYSSA.  She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mathematics from Baruch College, City University of New York.  She completed all three levels of the CFA Program in June 2015.

Robert Discolo, CFA, CAIA, CPA, is Executive Vice President, Investments, at Permal Group, a role that encompasses the asset management team and investment processes, working alongside the Chief Investment Officers, as well as proprietary research capabilities. He is also a member of the Group’s Global Investment Committee. Mr. Discolo joined in 2015, having previously spent 14 years working at PineBridge, where he was Managing Director and Head of Hedge Fund Solutions Group, ultimately responsible for managing proprietary and client assets in hedge funds and other alternative asset classes. Prior to joining PineBridge, Mr. Discolo spent seven years at Bank Julius Baer where he was head of the Public/Private Funds Group, and before that was at Merrill Lynch in Partnership Financing, having started at Drexel Burnham Lambert in their Fund Services Group. He has authored and co-authored several papers on alternative investing and is a frequent speaker at alternative investment conferences. Mr. Discolo is a CFA® Charterholder and holds an M.B.A. from Pace University, Lubin School of Business, New York, and a B.S. from St John’s University, Jamaica, New York.

Chris Cutler, CFA, is founder of Manager Analysis Services, a hedge fund consultant for institutions, funds-of-funds and high-net-worth individuals.  Since launching in 2003, MAS has reviewed more than 1,500 hedge fund managers representing every strategy in the asset class.  In addition to hedge funds, Cutler has analyzed traditional equity, fixed income and private equity managers as well as individual private equity and venture capital investments. Prior to founding MAS, he worked for Deutsche Bank from 1994 to 2003, cofounding a specialized fixed income derivatives product, marketing over-the-counter interest rate derivatives and developing structured financial products.  From 1988 to 1994, he worked as an emerging markets economist and bank regulator for the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Cutler earned his MBA in finance from the New York University Stern School of Business and BA in economics from the University of Chicago, where he was a member of Beta Gamma Sigma.  As chair of the New York Society of Securities Analysts’ Alternative Investment Committee from 2005 to 2007, he created the Alternative Analysts’ Forums.

Jae Yoon, Chief Investment Officer of New York Life Investment Management, joined NYLIM as a managing director in 2005. He most recently served as the CIO of the Strategic Asset Allocation and Solutions group. Previously, he was responsible for risk management efforts at boutique affiliate MacKay Shields. Prior to joining NYLIM, Mr. Yoon was head of Quantitative Research, Analytics, and Risk Management at Western Asset Management. Previous roles include serving as head of Risk and Performance for the EMEA-Pacific regions of Merrill Lynch Investment Managers and regional head of Risk Management Control for Fixed Income and Equity Derivative Trading at J.P. Morgan Securities in Asia. Mr. Yoon earned his master’s degree in Operations Research and bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Cornell University. Mr. Yoon is a CFA® charterholder and holds FINRA Series 3 and 7 registrations.

Closing Remarks

Maria Shtrapenina, CFA, is Director, Portfolio Management at TAG Associates LLC, a leading multi-client family office and portfolio management services firm with more than $8 billion of assets under management. Maria is responsible for analyzing and recommending publicly-traded equity and fixed-income strategies and is a member of TAG's Investment Committee. Prior to joining TAG, Maria spent over eight years at Asset Alliance Corporation, most recently as Director, Research and Investments, focusing on manager research and due diligence across various strategies and asset classes. Prior to Asset Alliance, Maria was at Deutsche Bank where she performed risk management and monitoring functions for Deutsche Bank's managed account platform. Prior to Deutsche Bank, she was an auditor at the Financial Services division of KPMG LLP. Maria received her B.A in Accounting and Management from Hartwick College. She was awarded her CFA charter in 2006 and holds FINRA Series 7, 63, and 65 licenses.

  
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