Investment Management Conference 2004
Yale SOM students held the first-ever Investment Management Conference at the New Haven Lawn Club on October 8, 2004. The event, presented by the Investment Management Student Interest Group and sponsored by Institutional Investor.com and the Yale School of Management Alumni Association, featured twenty-six panelists and speakers representing approximately $1.7 trillion dollars in assets under management who participated in the day’s four panel discussions: hedge funds, fund of funds, mutual funds, and a panel that combined several public and private constituents (foundations, endowments, industry consultants, and institutional investors) in true SOM fashion.
Putnam Coes ('94) kicked-off the hedge fund panel with a review of hedge fund strategies and reasons why huge amounts of capital continue to flow to the sector. He also moderated a lively discussion on investment strategies and regulation with panelists Brian Pinsker ('99), formerly with Viking Global and Moore Capital, Scott Bessent (Yale College '84), Bessent Capital founder and former Soros alum, Stephen Salzman (Yale College '87), Priderock Management founder and Rainwater alum, Ted Silver ('01) of Amaranth Advisors, and Zhiwu Chen, Professor of Finance and Partner at Zebra Capital Management.
The fund of funds panel, moderated by Professor Owen Lamont, tackled the question of whether a bubble exists in the hedge fund of funds field. Panelists Arthur Mizne ('95) of Synthesis Asset Management, Heidi Pearlson ('96) of Adamas Partners, Roger Fenningdorf ('94) of Rocaton Investment Advisors, and Jose Gonzalez-Heres ('94) of Morgan Stanley Alternative Investment Partners, applauded those funds that have decided to close to new investors.
The first afternoon panel, mutual funds, was moderated by Professor Roger Ibbotson and featured portfolio managers from four of the largest mutual funds including Peggy Adams ('89) of MFS, Michael Donnelly (Yale College '87) of American Century, Ranji Nagaswami ('86) of AllianceBernstein, Biff Folberth (Yale College '66) of Capital Group/American Funds, and industry consultant and Citigroup independent director Susan Kerley ('78). The panel tackled a wide range of issues from beating benchmarks to the role of marketing. The second afternoon panel was moderated by Dean Takahashi (Yale College '80, '83), Senior Director of Investments at Yale. It consisted of several chief investment officers including Jane Mendillo (Yale College '80, '84) of Wellesley College, Albert Hsu of The Atlantic Philanthropies, and Joseph McNay (Yale College '56) of Essex Investment Management as well as industry consultants Susan Moon ('93) of Cambridge Associates and Christopher Douvos (Yale College '94, '01) of The Investment Fund for Foundations. The panel discussed the outlook for rates of returns for endowments and also included Henry Johnson who spoke about his firm’s interactions with individual clients and their pursuit of alternative assets.
One of the highlights of the event was the keynote address by John A. Levin (Yale ‘60), founder of John A. Levin & Co. Levin, a hedge fund industry veteran since the 1970s, offered his opinion about what today’s hedge funds are doing right and wrong. While his optimism for the industry was guarded, he did feel that firms that either create sustaining business models or those that stick to their investing philosophy will be able to survive increased regulation and reduced market returns.
The first annual Investment Management Conference was a huge success and built on the tremendous accomplishments made by members of the Class of 2005. Attendees enjoyed a day filled with interesting, relevant discussions with numerous industry experts and the chance to network. According to an audience survey, more than 97 percent of attendees said they would recommend this event to a colleague.
Members of the Class of 2006 are already hard at work planning next year’s second annual conference.