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Bloomberg: Stocks See Late-Day Rebound After Unnerving Twists: Markets Wrap

NEPC’s Phill Nelson was quoted in a recent Bloomberg article to discuss what to expect from the 9/21/22 Fed meeting’s announcement on interest rates. View the article on Bloomberg’s site here.

 


The Wall Street Journal: Almost Half of Stock Pickers Beat the Market in Early 2022 Selloff

NEPC’s Tim McCusker was quoted in a recent Wall Street Journal article to discuss how active managers have benefitted from monetary tightening in early 2022. View the article on The Wall Street Journal’s site here.

 


A graphic with text reading NEPC Hires, followed by headshots, names, and titles for the four employees mentioned in the press release.

NEPC Continues Expansion of Corporate Consulting Teams, Adding Leadership

BOSTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)– NEPC, a leading research-driven investment consultant with $1.5 trillion in assets under advisement, has expanded its Corporate Consulting practice group by acquiring a team from Goldman Sachs Asset Management (GSAM). The additions include three new Principals – Alison Lonstein, Matt Maleri, and Joe Nankof – and a new Senior Consultant, Emma O’Brien, all of whom will support clients across NEPC’s business.

Prior to joining NEPC, Lonstein, Maleri, O’Brien, and Nankof served as Consultants and Lead Portfolio Managers at GSAM. The team formed while at Rocaton Investment Advisors, which was acquired by GSAM in 2019.

“Bringing this team on board is a direct reflection that the best consultants in the industry continue to choose NEPC as a place to grow,” said Craig Svendsen, Partner and Corporate Practice Director at NEPC. “This team’s experience and skillset strengthens our position as an industry-leading strategic partner capable of helping our clients weather volatile markets.”

Today’s news is part of a broader trend of former executives from Aon, Mercer, and Meketa recently joining NEPC’s leadership team.

Lonstein and O’Brien will join NEPC’s Defined Contribution practice group, while Maleri and Nankof will join NEPC’s Corporate Defined Benefit practice group. The new team members will also help support NEPC’s healthcare and insurance clients.

“We’ve had the utmost respect for NEPC’s leadership for years and are excited about joining at such a critical time for clients,” said Nankof. “As we began considering our next step, we wanted to find an independent firm with a close-knit, client-first culture. NEPC provides that culture and is an excellent fit on many different levels.”

For more information about NEPC’s leadership team, click here.

ABOUT NEPC, LLC

NEPC, LLC, is one of the country’s leading investment consulting firms, servicing 403 retainer clients with $1.5 trillion in assets1 with $301.2 billion in alternative assets2. Combining a proprietary research team dedicated to the long-term challenges facing investors with our unique client-centric model, NEPC builds forward-looking investment portfolios for institutional investors and ultra-high-net worth individuals. To learn more about NEPC, visit nepc.com.

 

1 As of 4/1/2022

2 As of 12/31/2021, NEPC provides some form of advice to all clients counted but does not advise all clients on all asset classes.

Contact:

Laura Nascimento

[email protected]


A graphic with a headshot and text, NEPC Hires Kellie Kane, Partner, Chief Operating Officer

NEPC Appoints Former Meketa Executive To COO Role

BOSTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)– NEPC, a leading research-driven investment consultant with $1.4 trillion in assets under advisement, today announced that Kellie Kane will join the firm as Partner and Chief Operating Officer (COO), effective May 2, 2022. Kane will be responsible for overseeing the execution and implementation of NEPC’s forward-looking operational strategy, including the firm’s performance reporting, technology, and discretionary operations teams. She will be an active member of the firm’s Executive Team, and will report directly to Managing Partner Mike Manning.

“I am happy to announce that Kellie Kane has joined our team as Partner and Chief Operating Officer,” said Manning. “Her skillset and industry experience make her uniquely suited to this role. I know she will play a large part in helping us achieve our strategic operational goals.”

Prior to joining NEPC, Kane spent 24 years at Meketa Investment Group where she most recently served as Partner and Chief Operating Officer. In this previous role, Kane oversaw a large staff across teams like IT, systems development, data, performance reporting, investment analytics, administrative, and transfer operations.

“Joining NEPC means I’m joining a firm with an incredible reputation, earned through its employee-led culture and client-focused philosophy,” said Kane. “I know I’ll be connecting and collaborating with dynamic leaders here – leaders who are just as passionate about improving the financial lives of their clients as I am.”

For more information on NEPC’s Leadership Team, click here.

ABOUT NEPC, LLC

NEPC is an independent investment consultant and private wealth advisor, serving over 400 retainer clients and $1.4 trillion in total assets. Combining a proprietary research team dedicated to the long-term challenges facing investors with our unique client-centric model, NEPC builds forward-looking investment portfolios for institutional investors and ultra-high-net worth individuals. To learn more about NEPC, visit nepc.com.

Contact:

Laura Nascimento

[email protected]


A woman in a wheelchair works on a laptop, while across the table, a Black woman shows her a chart.

NEPC 2021 Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Progress Report: Radical Transparency is Key to DEI Progress

BOSTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)– NEPC, a leading research-driven investment consultant with $1.4 trillion in assets under advisement, today published its second annual Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Progress Report, the first annually-produced report of its kind for the investment consulting industry.

The report tracks annual progress against the firm’s data-driven Diverse Manager Policy goals and reaffirms NEPC’s belief that investment consultants play a significant role in the financial industry’s quest to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion in all its forms.

“Our goal is to be a change agent for the democratization of access to capital. To do that, NEPC is committed to being radically transparent at all levels – from the way we hire talent to the way we engage with diverse investment managers,” said Sam Austin, Partner & Governance Board Member; Manager of NEPC’s Western U.S. Public Funds Team, and Chair of NEPC’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Board.

“Our 2021 report lives up to that commitment. Consultants might be wary of sharing all their data in this way, but in this instance, progress is far more important than public perception.”

NEPC’s 2021 DEI Progress Report provides a clear view into the firm’s DEI initiatives across its entire ecosystem. Listed below are highlights from this year’s report:

Increasing Diversity in NEPC’s Talent Pipeline

  • 58% of new hires come from diverse backgrounds
  • 37% of all 2021 new hires are gender diverse, up 6% from 2020
  • 30% of NEPC partners are from diverse backgrounds
  • NEPC launched a new MBA Rotational Program to recruit diverse candidates to participate in a summer intern experience at the firm. Half of all 2021 interns have accepted offers to join NEPC on a permanent basis.

Increasing Diversity in NEPC’s Recommended Strategies

  • In 2021, NEPC launched its Explorer Program, a platform to identify and engage with diverse-owned and -led investment management firms that are not currently 1- or 2-rated by NEPC.
  • The firm increased its vetting of diverse managers by almost 30% in 2021, largely due to initiatives like the Explorer Program.
  • NEPC completed a total of 315 meetings with diverse firms over the past two years, significantly surpassing the goal of 132 meetings outlined in NEPC’s Diverse Manager Policy
  • 59% of all NEPC clients currently use diverse managers in their portfolios, and 188 client strategies are fully managed by diverse firms. This equates to $40.7 billion in client assets allocated to diverse firms.

“The industry is aware of the importance of increasing diversity at all levels, but we’ve come to realize that it’s a goal that can only be achieved through bold action by investment consultants,” said Mike Manning, Managing Partner and President of NEPC. “As gatekeepers for trillions of dollars of assets, consultants have the power to ensure that governments, institutions, families and individuals are preserving and growing their capital across asset classes and market cycles in ways that create enduring, equitable, and inclusive change for the investment industry and our world.”

For more information about NEPC’s sustainable solutions like its Impact Investing Committee and Diverse Manager Committee, click here. To download the full results of NEPC’s 2021 DEI Progress Report, click here.

 

ABOUT NEPC, LLC

NEPC is an independent investment consultant and private wealth advisor, serving over 400 retainer clients and $1.4 trillion in total assets. Combining a proprietary research team dedicated to the long-term challenges facing investors with our unique client-centric model, NEPC builds forward-looking investment portfolios for institutional investors and ultra-high-net worth individuals. To learn more about NEPC, visit nepc.com.

 

Contact:

Laura Nascimento

[email protected]


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NEPC Elects a New Partner and Announces the Promotion of Principals for 2022

BOSTON—December 9, 2021 — NEPC, LLC, one of the industry’s largest independent, research-driven investment consulting firms, today announced the election of one new Partner and the promotion of six new Principals, effective January 1, 2022.

“These individuals have all demonstrated exceptional leadership and contributed to the overall success of NEPC. We fully anticipate that they will continue to make a substantial impact for our clients, the firm, and our industry, and these promotions reflect our confidence in their prospective contributions,” said Michael Manning, Managing Partner of NEPC.

The firm will now have 45 Partners and 27 Principals1.

The newly elected Partner is Will Forde, and new Principals include Richard Chari, Chris Hill, Chris Miers, Tim O’Connell, Deirdre Robert, and Dan Runnals.

Partners

  • Will Forde, CFA, CAIA joined NEPC in 2011 as a Search Analyst on NEPC’s Research team, ultimately transitioning into Consulting on the firm’s Public Fund team. Will continued to take on more responsibility and rose through the ranks to Senior Consultant, consistently receiving high marks from his clients on his solution-focused approach to investment portfolios and his strong relationship-building skills. He has played a leadership role on NEPC’s Diverse Manager Committee and has deep investment knowledge of all asset classes. He is also an active member of NEPC’s Asset Allocation Committee, its Client Conference Committee, and has played a leadership role in many of the firm’s internal DEI efforts.

Principals

  • Richard Chari joined NEPC as an analyst in 2008 and has worked his way through the ranks to an accomplished, highly valued Senior Consultant on the Corporate Defined Benefit (DB) Team. His extensive knowledge of LDI and pension risk transfer (PRT) are essential skills that are leveraged across the DB Team and by other teams at the firm.

 

  • Chris Hill, CFA, CAIA joined NEPC in 2013 as a Senior Consultant in Alternatives and then after a short stint at Entrust, returned to NEPC in 2017 to join the firm’s Private Markets Team. Chris has a breadth of knowledge and expertise that he shares across NEPC. Whether it be his work as a private market consultant, his research on private credit, or his more technical portfolio construction skills, he is constantly sought out by Partners and Consultants looking to tap into this knowledge.

 

  • Chris Miers J.D., CRE, FRICS joined NEPC in 2019 as a Senior Consultant on the Real Assets Team. Chris spearheads investment manager research in Europe and Asia in addition to his general non-core and real estate debt underwriting efforts. He also helps lead NEPC’s research in topical areas such as data centers, life sciences, and single-family housing strategies.

 

  • Tim O’Connell, CFA joined NEPC in 2012 as a hedge fund analyst. Today he manages a 14-person investment research team. The ~1,650 investment strategies covered by his team represent about 60% of NEPC client assets. Tim played a major leadership role in creating NEPC’s investment manager evaluation framework and in implementing it over the past two years.

 

  • Deirdre Robert, CFA, CAIA joined NEPC 13 years ago as a Performance Analyst on the Defined Contribution (DC) Team after spending two summers interning in Research. As a Senior Consultant on NEPC’s DC Team today, she is known for her deep knowledge of DC topics, her ability to handle complex clients, and her strength in new business. She is a member of NEPC’s Women’s Leadership Forum, is a Diverse Manager Committee Ambassador, and a Client Conference Committee member.

 

  • Dan Runnals CFA, CAIA joined NEPC in 2011 as a Performance Analyst and made his way into the consulting ranks of the firm’s Taft-Hartley Team. Now a Senior Consultant, he has built strong relationships with NEPC’s clients and is extremely knowledgeable across all asset classes, asset allocation methodologies, and investment products.

 

ABOUT NEPC, LLC

NEPC is an independent investment consultant and private wealth advisor, serving over 400 retainer clients and $1.4 trillion2 in total assets. Combining a proprietary research team dedicated to the long-term challenges facing investors with our unique client-centric model, NEPC builds forward-looking investment portfolios for institutional investors and ultra-high-net-worth individuals. To learn more about NEPC, visit NEPC.com.

 

1 Data as of 1/01/2022

2 Data as of 10/1/2021


Empty Classroom

NEPC Survey: Endowments Soar But Universities Fear Enrollment Declines

BOSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- NEPC, LLC, one of the largest independent, research-driven investment consulting firms, today announced the results of its 2021 Higher Education Survey, which highlights both present concerns and longer-term outlooks for some of the nation’s largest higher ed endowments.

COVID-related concerns are receding, with only 8% indicating concerns about pandemic-related expenses. There is an overall tenor of optimism among higher ed endowments. Only 19% signaled significant concern about inflation and 50% have plans for significant capital expenditures.

Enrollment declines (cited by 62%) are now the top worry for universities in spite of healthy enrollment levels for most universities. 63% reported either no change or an increase in enrollment compared to pre-pandemic levels. Just 10% of respondents reported an enrollment decline of more than 10%. Vaccines continue to be hotly debated, with 53% of respondents requiring students to be vaccinated before returning to campus.

“This time last year, endowments were reeling from the most severe liquidity crisis higher education had faced since the global financial crisis,” said Sam Pollack, Partner and senior member of NEPC’s Endowments and Foundations team. “Today, the numbers tell a very different story. Large university endowments achieved tremendous returns at fiscal year end, in large part due to their strong private market allocations. The challenge for investment teams in 2022 will be maintaining discipline with their spending rates, while making strategic investments in areas that were put on hold at the peak of the liquidity crisis.”

Endowments are also focused on sustainable investing and diversity. 37% cited ESG and impact investing as a priority, and 28% plan to increase engagement with diverse-led and diverse-owned managers. Institutions are more cautious about making Net Zero commitments: 72% do not have Net Zero strategies in place or plans to create one. Tracking diversity efforts also remains a work in progress: 64% do not currently track engagement with diverse managers.

For the full results of NEPC’s 2021 Higher Education Survey, please submit this form.

 

ABOUT NEPC, LLC

NEPC is an independent investment consultant and private wealth advisor, serving over 400 retainer clients and $1.4 trillion in total assets. Combining a proprietary research team dedicated to the long-term challenges facing investors with our unique client-centric model, NEPC builds forward-looking investment portfolios for institutional investors and ultra-high-net-worth individuals. To learn more about NEPC, visit nepc.com.

Media Contact:

Laura Nascimento

[email protected]


NEPC Hires Former Aon Executive to Lead Innovation of Defined Contribution Solutions

BOSTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–NEPC, LLC, one of the largest independent, research-driven investment consulting firms, today announced that former Aon executive Bill Ryan joined the firm as Partner and Head of Defined Contribution (DC) Solutions, effective November 1.

In the newly created role, Ryan helps lead the way NEPC serves DC plan sponsors, ensuring the firm’s solutions address challenges like governance model support, operational risk management, and using participant level data to enhance plan design.

“While their teams and resources have decreased, plan sponsors today face increasingly complicated challenges,” said Craig Svendsen, NEPC Partner and Corporate Practice Director. “Bill will help us more efficiently deliver the strategic, innovative solutions our clients need. As plans evolve, we’ll always stay a step ahead to prepare our clients for what’s next.”

Prior to joining NEPC, Ryan was Head of North America DC Multi-Asset Solutions at Aon where he advised 21 of Pensions & Investments’ (P&I) top 100 DC plan sponsors and was entrusted with more than $800 billion in retirement savings for 60 million participants. He also led the firm’s Custom DC Solutions Team, which was responsible for over $500 billion of bespoke solutions.

“Joining NEPC allows me to build on its foundation of over 200 DC clients to create and deliver tailored, innovative solutions that address their unique needs,” said Ryan. “I’ll be focusing on helping clients effectively use plan data to evaluate investment efficiencies and expanding NEPC’s retirement income solutions expertise. Sponsors deserve the independence, innovation, and commitment that NEPC delivers.”

Ryan is an Executive Committee member and Chair of the Investment Policy and Design Committee for the DC Institutional Investment Association. He has received several P&I Eddy Awards as plan sponsor, was named a 2020 Power Broker in Employee Benefits as an investment consultant by Risk & Insurance Magazine, and was a 2013 finalist for PLANSPONSOR’s Plan Sponsor of the Year.

Learn more about NEPC’s Defined Contribution Team here.

ABOUT NEPC, LLC

NEPC is an independent investment consultant and private wealth advisor, serving over 400 retainer clients and $1.4 trillion in total assets. Combining a proprietary research team dedicated to the long-term challenges facing investors with our unique client-centric model, NEPC builds forward-looking investment portfolios for institutional investors and ultra-high-net-worth individuals. To learn more about NEPC, visit nepc.com.


Reports and documents on top of a newspaper.

NEPC Survey: Past Decade Saw Pensions Increase LDI Allocations, Funded Status Improve Dramatically

BOSTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–NEPC, LLC, one of the industry’s largest independent, research-driven investment consulting firms, today announced the key trends from its benchmark Defined Benefit Plan Trends Survey, which examines historical trends and health of corporate and healthcare pensions. 2021 marks the 10th anniversary of this survey.

The results, to be released in January 2022, highlight three significant trends over the past decade:

  • Pension funded status has improved dramatically. In the inaugural 2011 survey, only 13% of plans had a funded status above 100%. In 2021, that number rose to 31%
  • Plan sponsors have increased their LDI allocations. Only 9% of pensions had an LDI allocation above 51% in 2011. In 2021, 42% of pensions had an LDI allocation above 51%.
  • Shifting asset allocations coupled with the strong market environment materially reduced expected return on assets (EROA). In 2011, 100% of respondents had an EROA assumption above 7%. By 2021, only 29% of respondents reported an EROA expectation above 7%.

In terms of results, 2021 was a record year for glide path triggers as 61% of respondents hit a glide path trigger – compared to 18% in 2019, 34% in 2017, and 16% in 2016. This increase was driven by higher Pension Discount Rates (PDR) in Q1 and strong equity returns – 89% of respondents said their trigger was caused by market movements.

With regards to other topics, ESG adoption continued to grow (albeit slowly) but interest appears to have waned. Respondents in this year’s survey who have not adopted ESG say they are less likely to consider ESG in the future.

56% of the 2021 respondents expect PDR to increase in the next year, driven by concerns around inflation and the current low rate environment. Despite this outlook, 56% expect strong equity returns over the next year while 75% indicate a less than 50% probability of a market correction in the next six months.

2021 saw an uptick in plan termination considerations compared to 2019. 20% of sponsors with a closed or frozen plan indicated they were planning a plan termination, compared to 17% in 2019. Additionally, more plan sponsors (33%) considered a termination in 2021 but eventually rejected, compared to 23% in 2019.

“If funded status continues to increase and discount rates rise, we may see more plan sponsors revisit the merits of annuitization,” said Brad Smith, Partner at NEPC and member of the firm’s Corporate Defined Benefit Team. “Half of plan sponsors in NEPC’s 2021 survey looking to terminate don’t plan to for the next two to seven years, so it’s crucial to have an immunization strategy that can protect current funded status gains. As an independent, research-driven team, we’re able to take a long-term view to preserve and grow pensions for financially-secure retirements.”

The full 2021 survey results will be unveiled during an NEPC webinar in January 2022.

For more information on NEPC’s Corporate Defined Benefit Team, click here.

About the Survey

49% of respondents have an asset size greater than $1 billion. 58% of respondents are corporate plans while 27% are healthcare plans. 15% identified as ‘other.’

ABOUT NEPC, LLC

NEPC is an independent investment consultant and private wealth advisor, serving over 400 retainer clients and $1.4 trillion in total assets. Combining a proprietary research team dedicated to the long-term challenges facing investors with our unique client-centric model, NEPC builds forward-looking investment portfolios for institutional investors and ultra-high-net-worth individuals. To learn more about NEPC, visit nepc.com.


NEPC Unveils Program to Identify, Support Diverse-Owned and -Led Managers

BOSTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–NEPC, a leading research-driven investment consultant with $1.3 trillion in AUA today unveiled The Explorer Program, a platform to identify, meaningfully explore and engage with diverse-owned and -led investment management firms who are not currently 1- or 2-rated by NEPC. Once in the program, the NEPC Research team will consider these diverse managers for inclusion in client portfolios and for future inclusion on the firm’s Focused Placement List (FPL), which is comprised of top-ranking 1-rated managers.

“We are intentional about our engagement with diverse managers,” said Will Forde, Principal and Senior Consultant at NEPC and member of the firm’s Diverse Manager Committee. “Several studies have shown that diverse investment managers often earn better results for their clients than the market more broadly. That’s partly why The Explorer Program is so necessary, it will increase the number of NEPC’s rated diverse strategies by approximately 30%, allowing our clients to choose from a stronger set of options.”

The Explorer Program was unveiled at NEPC’s annual Equitable Manager Participation Workshop, an event that seeks to further expand NEPC’s network of diverse managers through meaningful discussions and engagements.

As part of this program, each researcher on the Marketable Securities team will source at least one Explorer strategy within their asset class area of coverage. Like FPL strategies, Explorer strategies will be fully vetted and approved by NEPC’s Due Diligence Committee and/or Alternative Asset Committee. The vetting of Explorer strategies is consistent with the firm’s standard framework for investment strategy due diligence.

Explorer strategies will have comparable characteristics to FPL firms and strategies but may differ in some ways, including lower assets under management, shorter track records, limited back office resources, higher fees and a unique investment approach. The NEPC Research team will conduct annual reviews of the program to identify those diverse strategies ready to migrate to the firm’s Focused Placement List.

The idea for The Explorer Program was directly inspired by the specific goals set forth in NEPC’s Diverse Manager Policy 2.0, which outlines the firm’s short-term and long-term goals for increasing NEPC’s engagement with diverse managers. Two key goals of this policy were to increase the number of meetings with diverse firms by 10% in 2020 and for diverse managers to represent 10% of managers on the firm’s Focused Placement List by the end of 2021.

NEPC’s first annual Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Progress Report, the first comprehensive DEI report of its kind from an investment consultant, illustrates how NEPC is achieving those publicly-stated goals on expanding engagements with diverse-owned and diverse-led investment managers.

“NEPC’s ongoing commitment to identifying and supporting diverse-owned and -led investment managers reflects our view that diversity, equity and inclusion will drive long-term success in our business as well as the investment industry, more broadly,” said Chenae Edwards, Partner at NEPC and co-chair of the firm’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Network. “Institutional investors have taken important steps to increase their engagement with diverse managers in the last year. However, there is more progress to be made and The Explorer Program is designed to fuel that progress. As a firm, NEPC will continue pushing for radical transparency and accountability around diversity, equity and inclusion throughout the entire investment industry.”

The new Explorer Program is a product of thoughtful collaboration between NEPC’s Research team and the firm’s Diverse Managers Committee, which consists of senior consultants and senior research professionals specializing in public markets and alternative investment strategies.

To learn more about NEPC’s DEI programs, click here or read this report.