Responsible Investing Panel
Interest in socially responsible investing (SRI) is increasing rapidly. SRI strategies apply various environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria in selecting companies for inclusion in a portfolio. As the SRI investing landscape continues to evolve and expand, many long-held beliefs about responsible investing strategies are falling by the wayside. Institutional and retail investors alike have embraced an evolving paradigm of responsible investing — one in which old perceptions are giving way to new realities.
Despite growing acceptance of SRI as a more “mainstream” investment approach, some myths and misperceptions about responsible investing persist. With this panel, we seek to provide an informed, balanced perspective on implementing and evaluating SRI strategies.
Questions and discussion points for panelists:
• Goals/motivations for incorporating ESG views
• How are these views implemented?
• What has changed in the past 5 years?
• What level of expertise do investors require from their consultants and managers?
• How can you incorporate these ideas without turning your investment process upside down?
• Do ESG concepts limit your ability to earn alpha?
• Specialized solutions or becoming more mainstream?
• How often do these topics appear in institutional RFPs?
• How are ESG considerations incorporated into a fundamental investment process?
• What are the risks, costs, and opportunities of ESG factors?
• What ESG metrics are incorporated?
• Nuances of how these views can be implemented - more than just social screens
• United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment
• What is it?
• Who are the signatories?
• Why have they signed?
• How is it impacting the investment world?
Wendy Walker, CFA, Cambridge Associates
Wendy Walker, CFA, is a senior investment director at Cambridge Associates, working with nonprofit institutional investors on asset allocation strategy, manager selection, and investment program evaluation; she also serves as a member of the firm’s Mission Related Investing Group. Prior to joining C|A, Wendy worked on the investment teams at Imprint Capital Advisors, focusing on socially responsible and environmental-themed investment managers, and at Parnassus Investments, conducting industry and company-specific research. Prior to earning her MBA at Berkeley-Haas, Wendy held roles as a securities analyst at Argus Research, where she co-managed four model portfolios and published equity research on media and business service companies, and in fiduciary and tax accounting at McLaughlin & Stern. Wendy is a former vice chair of the Sustainable Investing Committee of the New York Society of Security Analysts and serves on the advisory board of the Haas Socially Responsible Investment Fund.
Amy O’Brien, Head of Responsible Investing, TIAA-CREF Asset Management
Amy Muska O’Brien is managing director and head of TIAA-CREF’s Responsible Investment team. She provides overall strategic leadership to Asset Management on the implementation of TIAA-CREF’s responsible investment commitments and environmental, social and governance (ESG) approaches, including ESG-focused funds, ESG integration frameworks across asset classes, and the firm’s community and impact investing portfolios.
Ms. O’Brien joined the firm as a Director in 2005 and has worked on a wide range of ESG and community investing initiatives across TIAACREF. Ms. O’Brien has 19 years of professional experience in the field of socially responsible investing. Prior to joining TIAA-CREF in 2005, Ms. O’Brien served as Director of Corporate Social Responsibility at the Pension Boards - United Church of Christ, where she developed and implemented socially responsible investment strategies. Previously, she was Research Manager at the Council on Economic Priorities, the nonprofit research firm that pioneered the field of corporate social and environmental responsibility ratings for investors and consumers.
Ms. O’Brien earned a B.S. in Biology from Boston College and an M.S. in Environmental Management and Policy from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. From 2006-2011 she served on the Board of Directors of the Social Investment Forum (SIF), a national nonprofit membership association dedicated to advancing investment practices that consider environmental, social and corporate governance criteria. In 2008, Ms. O’Brien joined the board of directors of The Investor Responsibility Research Center Institute for Corporate Responsibility (IRRCi), whose mission is to act as a catalyst for thought leaders, and to sponsor research on corporate governance and corporate responsibility. In 2011 she was appointed to the Steering Committee of the Global Initiative for Sustainability Ratings. In 2014 she was named to the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) Initiative’s Reporting and Assessment Steering Committee.
Alyssa Rieder, CFA, CIPM, Director of Investments, Dignity Health
Alyssa Rieder joined Dignity Health in 2011 as Director of Investments. Alyssa is responsible for management and oversight of Dignity Health’s $9 billion investment portfolio, working closely with Dignity Health’s Investment Advisor, Strategic Investment Group.
Prior to joining Dignity Health, Alyssa spent three years at the Office of the Treasurer of the Regents of the University of California system, helping manage the retirement and endowment assets for the U.C. Campuses, Medical Centers, and Laboratories. At U.C., she took the lead on managing Emerging Market and Global Equity Investments.
Before joining U.C., Alyssa worked for ten years at Franklin Templeton Investments where she was the lead Portfolio Manager on a mutual fund as well as a Research Analyst and Sector Team Leader in Financial Services research. Prior to attending graduate school, Alyssa worked in management consulting and was the CFO of a bay area social service agency.
Alyssa holds an M.B.A. from Stanford Graduate School of Business and a B.A. from Stanford University. She is a member of the CFA Society of San Francisco, the CFA Institute, and the CIPM Association.
Nick Koukopoulos, Managing Director, Sonen Capital
Nick Koukopoulos serves as the firm's director of research, portfolio manager for the firm's public market strategies and member of the investment committee.
Prior to Sonen, Nick was a portfolio manager at Springcreek Advisors LLC, where he managed investment strategy, portfolio design, and manager research and monitoring for this family investment office. At Springcreek, Nick managed complex multi-asset portfolios heavily allocated to illiquid alternative strategies, and coordinated an investment committee, external institutional consultants, and an internal investment team to manage the firm's investments. Previously, Nick researched, managed and allocated multi-asset portfolios for individuals and non-profits. Earlier in his career, Nick worked at a venture capital firm, where he co-built and spun-off a strategic consulting business that advised technology firms on marketing their products and services to the federal government.
Nick began his career at the Center for Strategic & International Studies in Washington, DC where he performed research on various themes ranging from global economic trends to international security policy.
He holds a B.A. from Union College and earned his M.Sc. from the University of London. Nick co-chairs the investment committee for the endowment of The Guardsmen, a San Francisco non-profit organization. Nick is fluent in Greek.
Evan Tylenda, Standards Development, Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB)
Evan Tylenda joined the SASB in 2014 as a Research Analyst on the Standards Development team. Evan conducts research on industry-specific sustainability issues, while identifying their financial impacts.
Evan authored a 3-part series published by NASDAQ on sustainability and its value to shareholders. His articles, Planet vs. Profit: Doing Well by Doing Good, Putting Sustainability to Work, and Can Shareholders Save the Earth? address for shareholders the misperception that corporate sustainability is irreconcilable with economic values.
In addition, Evan’s TEDx presentation, Reinventing the Way We Invest, encouraged companies and investors to embrace the benefits of corporate sustainability and socially responsible investing.
As a B.B.A. graduate of the Seidman College of Business at Grand Valley State University, Evan dual-majored in Finance and Accounting. He completed three internships as a student, including a year-long internship with Huntington Bank where he worked as a financial analyst for a newly developing sustainable ETF. He also completed an internship in private equity at a technology & clean energy fund. Briefly working with a wealth management company, he promoted sustainable investing before taking his current position with SASB. Evan has volunteered at several organizations supporting sustainability initiatives in Grand Rapids, Michigan before moving to the Bay area.
Evan is a CFA level III candidate, completing Level I and II in June of 2013 and 2014, respectively. He is a member of the CFA Society of San Francisco.
4:00 - 4:30 pm: Registration and Networking
4:30 - 6:00 pm: Panel Discussion
Members: Free - sponsored by TIAA-CREF
Non-members: $15.00 - subsidized by TIAA-CREF
4:00pm until 6:00pm
560 Mission Street
This event qualifies for 1 hour of continuing education credit for CFA Charterholders.
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