Great Roundtable in Washington

Ashby Monk

I’ve been at Institutional Investor’s Americas Government Funds Roundtable in Washington DC the past two days. And, once again, I have to give credit to Stephen Glover and the II team for putting on a seriously valuable event. There was a great turnout with some impressive and senior folks. Good work.

As usual, the proceedings of these quarterly events are run with strict rules protecting the anonymity of all speakers — which is good because it ensures an open exchange of ideas and information.

Nonetheless, Mr. Glover assures me that recalling some insights gleaned or lessons learned on the blog in no way flouts my ethical obligation to the other attendees. So here goes:

Sponsors: There are now existing or planned SWFs in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Trinidad & Tobego, and Venezuela. That’s remarkable.

Physical Assets: Many investors in the room were moving aggressively into real assets with actual cash flows. (It seems they wanted something they can touch and point at for their stakeholders…understandable.)

Anon Quote du Conference: ‘Investing in 30 year Treasuries today provides our fund with certainty…certainty that we’ll miss our return targets.’

Geography: Many investors believe they can generate additional returns by leveraging their asymmetries of information and investing in local markets…all the while worrying that investing in local markets can lead to politicization and damage returns.

Cooperation: A large majority of institutional investors are looking to work together to achieve their long-term objectives. We know this already, but it’s interesting to have this confirmation.

CAPM / MPT / POT: …spent most of the conference under a bus…groaning.

Greece: …will almost surely default.

Thank you, Washington!

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This website is a project of Professor Gordon L. Clark and Dr. Ashby Monk of the School of Geography and the Environment at the University of Oxford. Their research on sovereign wealth funds is funded by the Leverhulme Trust and The Rotman International Centre for Pension Management.

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