The CFA Society New York (CFANY) hosted the 1st Annual Institutional Investment Consulting Roundtable on Thursday—the first installment of CFANY’s acclaimed Asset Owner Series event programming in 2017. The Asset Owner Series continues to build on last year’s success and popularity, bringing together high quality speakers and creating an invaluable opportunity for peer to peer networking. The evening featured esteemed senior institutional investment consultants and OCIOs who represent firms whose collective asset under advisement totals over $16.5 trillion.

Since it’s founding by CFANY volunteer leader Thomas Brigandi, in conjunction with his team of roughly 130 CFANY volunteer investment professionals, the Asset Owner Series has featured CIOs, Deputy CIOs and senior asset owner execuatives who cumulatively and directly manage or advise on over $25 trillion. Institutional investment consultants provide investment advice to both public and private companies, as well as to foundations and endowments looking for help with their own money management, or the money in their employees’ retirement funds. The evening was kicked off by Kelly Holmes, Vice President, Consultant Relations, whose firm TIAA Global Asset Management sponsors CFANY’s Asset Owners Series.

Richard M. Charlton, Chairman Emeritus, NEPC, LLC, delivered the keynote, presenting a comprehensive overview on the trends in the business of institutional investment consultants. The keynote was followed by a panel discussion featuring John Robinson, Senior Managing Consultant, PFM Asset Management; Mark Brubaker, CFA, Managing Director, Wilshire OCIO Solutions Group; Pete Keliuotis, Senior Managing Director, Cliffwater LLC; and Roger Fenningdorf, Head of Global Manager Research, Founder & Partner, Rocaton. The panel was moderated by Steve Case, CFA, Partner, Mercer Investment Consulting. One of the topics broached concerned the continued interest in alternative assets, where consultants can create value by providing asset owners with holistic advice on more complex asset types and strategies. Thanks largely to the expertise brought on by consultant groups, there has been a notable increase in direct investment in real assets at the expense of investing in Fund of Funds.

The evening’s closing keynote speaker, Michael Ryan, CFA, Managing Director and Head of Research of Hamilton Lane, provided the audience with useful information on the state of the private credit markets, as well as the increase in interest for direct lending and how it serves to impact capital flows. Despite all the private equity that has been invested in private companies over the last few years, flows continue to head in that direction. This access to capital has helped companies grow their equity base—while remaining private longer by not having to tap into the public markets through an IPO.

The event was spearheaded by CFANY volunteer leader Thomas Brigandi, who founded the Asset Owner Series for CFANY; in conjunction with Deepika Sharma, CFA, Patrick Holert, CFA, CAIA, Robert Discolo, CFA, CAIA, Chris Cutler, CFA, Jae Yoon, CFA, and Rongbiao Fu, CFA.