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Research Note August 2018
Time for a Reset? Rethinking Contributions Policy

It is well known that corporate plan sponsors have until mid-September to make deductible contributions under the more favorable 35% corporate tax rate. This is an attractive proposition and one that many corporations are looking to leverage, if they haven’t already. But, with the boost in funded status from these voluntary contributions, perhaps less obvious…
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VantagePoint July 2018
VantagePoint: Third Quarter 2018

Climbing the wall of worries is getting tougher. There is room for markets to progress, but caution is required at this stage in the cycle. Markets must overcome four main forces: monetary policy tightening, US dollar strength, a China growth slowdown, and trade friction.
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Research Report July 2018
Social Equity Investing: Righting Institutional Wrongs

There is perhaps no better time for social equity investing. Many institutional investors have long sought to promote social equity through grant making and other philanthropic endeavors. With the field of impact investing maturing, these institutions are now increasingly seeking investment solutions to accomplish the same goal. In this paper we review the current state of social equity in the United States, highlight eight core social equity issue areas, and discuss the lessons we’ve learned in constructing portfolios with these investments. While investors need to be mindful of risks, we believe that investments can be made to promote a social equity impact agenda across the portfolio.
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Research Report May 2018
Policy Benchmarking: Best Practices for Private Investments

For investors with private allocations, how one incorporates them into the policy benchmark will materially impact the portfolio’s relative performance, making the choice key to informed decision making. We review the various methodologies used and make a series of recommendations on best practices to follow. In considering the performance of private investments within the total portfolio, we anchor to a set of principles: keep it simple, don’t treat private investments differently, and make performance evaluation as meaningful as possible.
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Research Report May 2018
Portfolio Benchmarking: Best Practices for Private Investments

When assessing performance at the aggregate private portfolio and sub-component level, investors should take the long view. In this publication, we review how long funds take to settle into their ultimate quartile ranking and highlight our framework for benchmarking a portfolio of private investments.
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Research Report May 2018
Trade Finance: An Expanding Opportunity for Institutional Investors

While trade finance is among the oldest forms of institutionalized credit, it has only recently become an accessible market for most institutional investors. Providing high liquidity, good return premiums over cash, and a predictable risk profile, it can play a valuable role in portfolio strategy. However, as a fairly new option for most investors, its…
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CA Perspectives May 2018
Venture Capital and Impact Investing: Blurring Boundaries Mean New Opportunities

Impact investing – allocations that aim for social and/or environmental change or to solve a problem in the world – has historically stood apart from “traditional,” financial-return driven investing. But increasingly in several asset classes, including venture capital, an exciting convergence of variables is blurring the boundaries, perhaps turning this old distinction on its head.…
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VantagePoint April 2018
VantagePoint: Second Quarter 2018

Advice in Brief The global economy and capital markets are constantly evolving. From the industrial revolution in the 1700s, to information technology in the last 45 years, waves of innovation have had profound implications for society, the global economy, and investors. At the same time, debt cycles, demographics, and productivity trends all have a slow-moving,…
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Research Note April 2018
Thoughts on the “Retail Apocalypse”

Retail is changing and some companies face challenges, but this theme has probably been overhyped, and implications for investors are limited. The retailing industry is experiencing significant change and traditional business models have been disrupted. The growth of e-commerce has dovetailed with ongoing store closures by some high profile retailers, leading to press reports about…
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Pension Series April 2018
Liability-Hedging Handbook: A Guide to Best Practices for US Pension Plans

For many pension plans, investment strategy is often structured with a liability-hedging portfolio and a growth portfolio, with the weight and composition of each determined by a strategic asset allocation or a de-risking glidepath. Within this overall structure, the construction and calibration of the liability-hedging portfolio is integral to effective pension asset management. This report…
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