CAIA Info Series co-hosted with CAIA SoCal Session 2 - Private Credit Strategies to Enhance Pension
March 2, 2021
Note: All times listed are in local time
CAIA Info Series co-hosted with SoCal:
Session 2 - Private Credit Strategies to Enhance Pension Returns
Join CAIA SoCal for their second session in a series on pensions: Private Credit Strategies to Enhance Pension Returns on Tuesday, March 2nd. This event features moderator, Zack Ellison of Applied Real Intelligence LLC, and panelists Blair Smith of Promethean AB Strategies, LLC, Cheryl Alston of Dallas Employees' Retirement Fund, Jasmine Richards of Cambridge Associates, and Guy Pinkman, also of Applied Real Intelligence LLC.
Date & Time:
Tuesday, March 2, 2021
9:00 AM - 10:00 AM PT
Details sent upon registration
Organization: Employees' Retirement Fund of the City of DALLAS
Cheryl D. Alston is the Executive Director and Chief Investment Officer of the Employees’ Retirement Fund of the City of Dallas, Texas (“ERF”), a $3.3+ billion pension plan for the City’s civilian employees. Cheryl began her term in October 2004 and provides leadership for the Fund’s staff in implementing the programs necessary to achieve the mission, goals and objectives established by the Board of Trustees.
Cheryl serves on the Board of CHRISTUS Health, an international faith based health care system and is chair of the Finance and Strategy committee. She also serves on the board of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas City, Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas, and Mercy Health.
In 2011, Cheryl was appointed by President Barack Obama to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) Advisory Committee and served two terms. The PBGC protects the retirement incomes of more than 44 million American workers in 27,500 private-sector defined benefit plans and has $80+ billion in assets. She also serves on several non-profit boards and foundations including the Dallas Women’s Foundation, Texas Wall Street Women and VolunteerNow.
Organization: A.R.I. Venture Capital
Zack Ellison, CFA, CAIA, is the Managing General Partner and Chief Investment Officer of Applied Real Intelligence (“A.R.I.”). A.R.I. is a Los Angeles-based venture debt investment manager focused on providing financing solutions to innovative, high-growth, VC-backed companies in recession-resistant sectors and underserved regions in North America. Mr. Ellison leads A.R.I.’s investment activities, including sourcing, due diligence, structuring, execution, and portfolio management.
Previously, Mr. Ellison was Director, U.S. Fixed Income at Sun Life Financial, where he was responsible for corporate credit investing. Prior to Sun Life Financial, he was a corporate bond and credit default swap trader at Deutsche Bank. During the Global Financial Crisis, he was a banker focused on leveraged loans within the media and telecom sectors at Scotiabank.
Mr. Ellison holds an MBA from The University of Chicago Booth School of Business and an MS in Risk Management from New York University’s Stern School of Business. He has earned the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA) designations and currently serves as a Board Member of CFA Society Los Angeles and the Southern California Chapter of the CAIA Association.
Organization: A.R.I. Venture Capital
Guy Pinkman is on the advisory board for A.R.I. Venture Capital. He is also a Trustee for the City of Lincoln Police and Fire Pension Plan Investment Board in Lincoln, Nebraska. In addition, he is a Captain with the Lincoln Fire and Rescue Department. He is Presidential appointee to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC). A firefighter for more than 28 years, Captain Pinkman has held a Paramedic license for the last 25 years. When the City of Lincoln initially established Paramedic service, he was the first Paramedic selected and licensed. For the past ten years, he has served as a Battalion Chief. In 1999, Captain Pinkman attended the United StatesFireAcademy and was the president of his class. Captain Pinkman has been recognized by the Lincoln Fire and Rescue Department for over 20 Phoenix awards, numerous citations of valor, and paramedic of the year. As a recognized speaker and trainer, Captain Pinkman has appeared at numerous colleges and universities throughout the country to teach classes and conference seminars covering topics such as management and leadership skills to various medical classes. A graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Captain Pinkman holds a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in Advertising and Public Relations, and is working toward his MBA. He has completed studies in finance from around the world including China’s monetary system, and has attended several conferences and conventions dealing with the public pension system.
Organization: Cambridge Associates
Jasmine N. Richards, CFA joined Cambridge Associates in 2018 as Head of Diverse Manager Research to lead the firm’s ongoing initiative to identify and research institutional-quality investment managers in all public and private asset classes that have diverse owners or leaders, including women and people of color. A highly experienced investment research executive, Ms. Richards has over fifteen years of both buy and sell side experience. Prior to joining Cambridge Associates, Ms. Richards worked at FIS Group as an International Equity Manager and Research Analyst responsible for identifying and managing investment strategies, with an emphasis on diverse-owned asset managers. Additionally, Ms. Richards has previously worked in several manager research, sales and client management roles at several other firms. After beginning her career at Bear Stearns in the Private Client Services division, Ms. Richards transferred her financial experience to the Institutional Trading Desk at Oppenheimer & Co. While at Oppenheimer she was subsequently promoted to the sole Research Associate for the Institutional Investor ranked Chief Market Technician. As a Research Associate, she prepared weekly research notes focusing on the technical analysis of over 550 equities, options and commodities for a client base of over 2,500 institutional investors. While at State Street Global Advisors, she also served as a portfolio manager in their Global Equity Beta Solutions team and Investment Solutions Group.
Ms. Richards holds an MBA from University of Chicago Booth School of Business where she concentrated in Finance, Accounting and Strategic Management. While at University of Chicago, Ms. Richards also studied Emerging Markets at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. She also attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the New York Institute of Technology for her undergraduate education. She is a member of the CFA Institute and the CFA Society of Boston.
Organization: Promethean AB Strategies LLC
Blair C. Smith is the Founder and CEO of Promethean AB Strategies LLC, a strategic consultancy focused on helping diverse Asset Managers and investors achieve their goals. He has 15+ years experience in the capital markets arena, leading the creation of strategies, plans and budgets that span industries, marketplace, and customers.
Blair is the former Chief Investment Officer for the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone Development Corporation. His responsibilities included providing leadership in structuring, negotiating and closing of loans and investments, and oversight of credit policies. In addition, Blair identified market opportunities and developed new finance strategies in furtherance of UMEZ’s mission.
Prior to founding Promethean AB Strategies, Blair was responsible for co-managing a $5.2 billion Emerging Manager investment portfolio, within the State of New York Common Retirement Fund. The program has both traditional and alternative asset class strategies including: real estate, private equity, public equity, hedge funds and opportunistic. He actively evaluated and conducted research for new investment vehicles/platforms that can strategically implement the long-term goals of the portfolio and provide risk adjusted returns.
Blair also collaborated with consultants, advisors, investment teams and legal counsel in preparing and evaluating RFP/RFI’s for manager searches. He participated in selecting and interviewing managers/advisors and in negotiating limited partnership agreements. He was responsible for establishing and maintaining up-to-date policies and procedures and developing asset allocation strategies for the program to ensure consistency and efficiency in the operations.
In addition, Blair served for over 10 years as a client relationship manager with the Connecticut and New York City Wealth Management teams at top tier banks.
Blair received his B.S. in Journalism from Morgan State University where he was a 2 year ROTC scholar and his M.B.A. in Finance from Columbia University. He is a member of the Real Estate Executive Council and is a 2019 Council of Urban Professionals (CUP) Finance Catalyst recipient. Blair was featured in Pension and Investments magazine discussing ESG. Over the last 10 years, he has been an adjunct lecturer with the School of Continuing Studies at Baruch College, and NYU and recently an adjunct professor at Columbia University Graduate School of Business. He has lectured in Principles of Finance, Global Marketing, Impact Investing in Real Estate and Executive Leadership. He is on the Board of the Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health, the Baltimore Afro-American Newspapers and Afro Charities.
Blair lives with his wife and two children in Scarsdale, NY.